It's been a week since the Season 14 Finale of Project Runway, and I haven't thought about much else. The designers all had such different aesthetics and were so talented, but in the end the winner was clear for me.
For one last time, let's recap!
Edmond had one of the bigger "make it work" moments of the designers. The judges told him to make his girl cooler and sexier, and given where he started before his preview for the judges, that meant he had a lot of work to do in two days.
Edmond added some simple, sexy dresses per the judges request. They reminded me of what we were used to seeing him make throughout the whole season, and they were very chic and successful.
Some of my favorite looks of Edmond's were his silky, draped dresses. They were different than what we've seen from him before (somewhat reminiscent of Sean Kelly's dresses from last season's finale) and it was nice to see a softer side of him.
Unfortunately, Edmond kept some of his black and white curly-cue ruffle pieces, and while they aren't bad looks in and of themselves, they felt really out of place among the sleek, sexy dresses.
...and then there was that random blue piece he threw in for no reason whatsoever.
I agreed with the judges: Edmond is talented and has grown a lot as a designer, but his collection wasn't cohesive at all and he needed to narrow his focus on who he is as a designer and what kind of girl he's designing for.
Candice's collection was costume, costume, costume, and the judges wanted her to tone down her collection in a major way. While it was a shame for her to lose some of her hats, her wood sculptural pieces, and her magnificent cage hoop, it was probably for the best in the end.
One of my favorite looks was the cherry blossom dress, which Candice created at the last minute because she loved the fabric and wanted to include a piece featuring it. The judges told her to eliminate the Asian influence, but I wish she had included more of this print. It was a huge strong point.
Candice did have quite a few successful looks. She went back to her roots with her leather corset styles, and because she left out all the bells and whistles, they ended up looking modern and chic.
Some of the pieces I didn't enjoy as much were her separates, and they could have been better with different styling. The red pants or the sheer skirt could have been paired with the red corset top from her preview and would have had more impact. The navy pants could have (and should have) been swapped out for her cherry blossom pants.
And then there was this unfortunate situation. Candice took the stunning 24-hr challenge dress from her collection preview, got rid of everything that made it unique and pretty, and turned it into a deconstructed sack. So disappointing.
I think Candice just didn't have enough time to make her collection what it should have been. She went overboard with the costume pieces and didn't recover well from the judge's critique.
Kelly's collection ended up turning out a lot better than I expected. I still have mixed feelings on her textiles and her 70s inspiration, but under the lights of the runway, her collection had a lot of impact.
Some of my favorite pieces included this geometric sequined fabric. In the workroom it just looked white, but the runway lighting gave it a gunmetal grey pop, and paired with the burgundy leather it really stood out in a way I never expected.
Kelly's dresses were another strong point for me. Her fabric choices were unexpected and a little weird, but they managed to look cool and sporty.
All that said, I reaaaaallllyyy disliked Kelly's more overtly 70s looks. The fabrics that were successful in small doses looked cheap when we were given more of them, and none of the pant/jumpsuit looks flattered her models. I can't see anyone wearing them in real life, and I think she took the Studio 54 inspiration a little too far.
Overall I think Kelly worked better under a guiding hand. When she was given direction for a challenge, she was able to take it and run with it to create some brilliant pieces, but left to her own devices I think she lost her way a bit. However, I could see a lot of street-wear labels wanting her on their team, and I think she'll be successful in the industry. She deserves a lot of credit for how far she's come!
Ashley Nell Tipton
I said I wanted Ashley to take the whole competition after WEEK ONE, and I couldn't be prouder of her collection. I'm not plus sized, but I would definitely wear nearly all of her looks. Her collection was the most cohesive and had the most definitive vision. She also played with separates more than any of the other designers, and I'm whole-heartedly obsessed.
It was smart of Ashley to put the blue bandeau underneath the top in this piece. In comparison to her preview with the judges, it looks like a whole different look! It's now fresh and youthful.
This was one of my favorite dresses in the whole collection. Any woman of any size would and could wear this. The color is stunning and the fringe-y lace is so feminine and beautiful.
Ashley fixed the construction issues in the bustier of this look, and the skirt, while simple, had a lot of movement and great runway impact.
A babydoll dress can be hit or miss, but in this fabric I thought it was really successful. It's a great length to wear as a dress, with leggings and boots, or as a tunic top with jeans. It was one of her most marketable looks.
The judges weren't too thrilled with this romper (particularly with the high waist proportion) but I really liked it. It might work a little better on a slimmer body type, but I think it's a cute concept that could be sold on ModCloth tomorrow. Popping it with the blue shoe was a perfect styling choice.
This look was definitely a risky one and went a little "1950s swimwear meets bridesmaid," but I thought it was kind of genius. If you took of the skirt, you'd have a great plus size swimwear look. If you lined the skirt, you could wear it to any formal event. Having pieces that you can mix and match is brilliant.
This was one of the more wearable looks in Ashley's collection, and while the shorts seem to have a bit of a fit problem, I love the look overall. I would wear every piece in a second.
This was another risky look, and it was most reminiscent of Ashley's pre-Runway work. It's definitely a unique twist on a classic button down, and I liked that she used the fringe lace to tie it in to previous looks in the collection.
I still am in awe that this was Ashley's 24hr challenge piece. It is a fantastic formal look, and I want to see it on Christina Hendricks asap.
While the finale look was not the most wearable, it tied in her gorgeous floral headpieces and was a lovely bookend to the collection.
From winning the first challenge to winning it all, Ashley has a lot to be proud of.
Get it, girl!!!
All photos from www.mylifetime.com
My prediction was correct! Tim used his Tim Gunn Save to keep Edmond in the competition, so all four of the top designers had the opportunity to show at New York Fashion Week.
The challenge: 7 weeks to create a 10 piece collection with $9,000. Not too hard, right?
Apparently, wrong. Most of the designers had some major struggles pulling their pieces together, which seems a little inexcusable by season 14 of the show. Have they never seen Project Runway before, and do they not understand what the judges might expect of them?!? Silly.
When the designers got back to New York, Tim threw an extra 24-hr challenge at them to create a new, additional piece for their collection. This new look and 2 of their other looks were to be shown as a mini-collection to the judges for their feedback.
Ashley Nell Tipton
It was a given that Ashley was going to create a plus-size collection, and I was thrilled that the show provided Ashley with plus-sized models to use (I thought they might have expected her to find her own, so it was a nice gesture.) Ashley's collection went back to her Mexican roots and was inspired by Mexico City in the 1950s. I was a little surprised that her pieces were pastel and floral given that this showed at fall fashion week, but it was still really beautiful. Her floral headpieces are some of the most gorgeous things I've seen in the show's history, and while the judges weren't as excited about them, I hope she uses them on all her models.
I definitely understood the judges' criticism on her first look. The top needs a more purposeful bra underlay or it needs to be fully lined; showing a basic nude bra is a no-go. The skirt (in which she hand-stitched the pattern...holy cow) had some puckering issues, but the design is cute. With a little refinement, it will be fine.
The second look was her 24-hr challenge look, and I'm LOVING IT. I would wear this in a second. She was smart to take Tim's advice and incorporate more jewel tones, and leaving it sheer makes it fashion-show ready. The fit was incredible, and I think it proves that Ashley's best work comes in a time crunch.
The third look had some major fit problems, but I see where she was going with it. If the top was more refined (and perhaps if the skirt was shortened?) it would be in good shape.
Candice's collection was inspired by the Met's "China: Through the Looking Glass" exhibit, which may have been her biggest problem. I have been creatively inspired by art exhibits before, too, but Asian-inspired collections are extremely common in the fashion world and the judges were not having it. She was compared to Alexander McQueen and Juo Pei and it was declared her collection was completely unoriginal. Ouch.
Candice's first look was there to show the judges that she incorporated color into her collection (THANK THE LORD, all-black collections are a snore,) but I'd agree with the judges that it wasn't the most successful. The jacket is beautiful and the corset has potential, but to match the lining of the jacket to the pants is a bit tacky and the styling was too literal.
The second look was Candice's 24-hr challenge look, and like Ashley, I think it was her best. The hat was made beforehand and the judges hated it (they said it was too costume and too McQueen,) but I thought the dress was great. The lines were beautiful, the applique detail on the side was perfect, and it was a good mix of tough and feminine. If she leaves the gloves and the hat at home she'd be fine.
The last look was probably Candice's best separates look. The pants were impeccably made and the kimono jacket in the lace was gorgeous. The judges took issue with the literal headpiece and I thought the corset top was a little redundant after showing the first look, but overall with a little editing it's salvageable.
Edmond was on the struggle bus the entire episode, which really surprised me. My theory is that he does his best work under the guidance of someone giving him direction, and when he was on his own he lost his way. He said his collection was supposed to be sexy and glamourous in a light, airy way, but that wasn't the product he cranked out. A lot of it was extremely stuffy, and the only thing tying his looks together was the color scheme and WAY too many ruffles. It's the Kini syndrome: he made beautiful, classic, sexy looks through the whole competition and went home and became fussy and frilly.
If that weren't unfortunate enough, he didn't even have all of his pieces made before getting back to New York. He has a lot of work to do and I don't know if he can pull it off.
The first look Edmond showed the judges was his 24-hr challenge look, and it was his best. He could have shortened the skirt a bit and (for my personal preference ) lost some of the sleeve ruffle, but it was still successful and keeping with Edmond's personal style.
The second look was decent in theory and had good movement, but it felt a little tacked together for my taste. The bottom looks like it wasn't thought through and he just had to put ruffles on it, so he tacked some organza ribbon on the bottom for no reason. It definitely didn't look like Edmond made it.
Edmond's last look was a total disaster. I mean, it's 2015, not 1915. It's STUFFY and looks uncomfortable and no one in their right mind would ever wear it. So disappointing.
Kelly was very confident in her collection, but I think she's in trouble. She was inspired by 1970s Studio 54, and chose to merge that style with modern street wear. That idea wasn't bad in and of itself, but 70s inspiration can go tacky-disco super fast, and when Kelly was left to her own devices without the guidance of Tim, Tacky Town is where she went.
Her first look was her 24-hr challenge look. She ended up using the same fabrics that she used throughout her collection, which I think defeated the purpose of the challenge. Her chance to add something new and push the envelope was missed, and I hate the results. This looks like a cheap tank dress you could pick up at Forever 21. No good.
Kelly's second look was probably the most successful of the three, but that's not saying very much. I enjoy the top, but she had some bottoms in the same wood-grain pattern and I think she would have been better served matching them together. The shiny, ill-fitting shorts with the brown fanny pack just didn't work together. I'm glad she incorporated the fanny packs in her collection, but this particular one was a poor styling choice.
Kelly's last look was my least favorite. It's fine to work in sequins, but this COLOR of sequins was so tasteless, and to put teal sequins with brown pleather and safety pin printed pants is a little ridiculous.
Overall, all the designers have a lot of work to do in a few days before fashion week. Ashley needs to fix her construction and refine all her pieces. Candice needs to completely re-style her collection and probably needs to add some pieces. Edmond needs to make an entire collection and sexify his aesthetic. Kelly needs help mixing and matching her pieces and could benefit with a more luxe fabric addition.
I have a feeling the season finale is going to be a train wreck. CANNOT WAIT!
All photos from www.mylifetime.com