Project Runway: Fierceness Rulz


Seriously, what would it take to hear the play-by-play banter between Michael Kors and Nina Garcia during each of the finalists' runway shows? On one side we have Kors, sitting there in dark glasses and turtelneck looking like the prophet of fashion death with Garcia practically in his lap whispering who-knows-how-catty comments into his ear. They want to raise money for charity - do like Carly Simon and sell off their secrets!

And had Christian NOT won, perhaps we wouldn't have noticed exactly HOW tiny he is...but once Heidi Klum, looking more like a beer-garden fraulein every episode, jumped onstage to congratulate this season's fabulous winner, it became startlingly clear that not only is he small, he's like a little post-punk fashion imp you can keep in your Louis Vuitton trunk and bring him out when you need some saucy style commentary.

And can we just talk about Posh for a minute? Am I the only one, besides Christian obviously, who loves her? I don't know why she gets such a hard time. She looked a-may-zing, and when she opens her mouth and out comes that British accent, I seriously swoon. Clearly, Jillian was not impressed (bitter), but perhaps it was an indication that Christian was indeed destined to win with her as the guest judge.

And nothing could've followed the episode's denouement better than Tim Gunn handing over the keys to a 3-door Saturn to Christian. 3-door? Really? We do realize that the man-child getting this car sleeps on a mattress in his closet? Yes this may all change with his newfound celebrity and prize money...but honestly, do we really foresee Christian paying for a parking space in NYC? I guess he could always sleep in it...

Clearly I was concentrating on the finer details of the season finale, as I completely expected Christian to win, and he delivered. Jillian and Rami's collections were both incredible - as the judges noted, Jillian's knits were completely unexpected and totally impressive, and Rami displayed much broader scope than ever before. And that last black dress? To die for (I know we saw it last week, but it just takes my breath away!)

But they also had noticeable shortcomings: Jillian was a little scatter-brained, and that gold/black Xanadu dress of hers fit the model like that thing you wear when your getting your teeth x-rayed - it made me physically uncomfortable. I couldn't put my finger on the issue with Rami's collection; perhaps Michael Kors was right in noting that the color pallette was off; but specifically it was also his gold dress that problematic for me, and it stuck out like a sort thumb when his model couldn't walk in it. But as he showed from Day 1, Christian knows how to put on a show. The energy of the room spiked noticeably when his first model came out, and despite an overabundance of black, the crowd stayed with him. (Interesting too that only his runway show featured an accompanying voice-over....hmmm....)

Overall, what struck me the most about the episode that I don't remember as clearly from other finales is the sense of nervousness on the finalists. Maybe they were just more open about it because they were on good terms with one another (no weird Jeffrey or Santiago vibes, just lots of group hugs). For someone in such good standing heading into the finale, Christian was the most nervous, and it was really touching. It was the first time that his age became a factor for me (then again, I always found him quite amusing, whereas I know many viewers found him utterly immature and insufferable...then again, he was voted Fan Favorite!) And thank GOD he won - otherwise he may have been the first 21 year old in medical history to have died from a heart attack while just standing around (and how cute was it when he did a final spray of the hair before his show?!) Jillian's whining about her models was just more of the same, but clearly an outlet for the anxiety she felt going in and her inability to emotionally and mentally commit to her work when compared to others. Rami handled himself with his usual grace, although how great was it when he finally admitted that Jillian "can be annoying". Yes!

Tim's final "gather round" with the group was quite touching too. As you may recall from the previous episode, Tim's visit to Christian's was noticeably missing any family or friends; and during his visit with Rami in L.A., Tim met only friends, no family (likewise with Chris). Now, I get logistics may make such family meetings impossible, but I suspect it also speaks to a disconnect many of the male designers have with their families. Chris said as much in that his brothers' reaction to him being on Project Runway was "oh, it's just another thing Chris is doing". In light of this lack of support, Tim's fatherly presence probably means more to these young (male) designers than the show can realistically portray.

The good news though is that all three finalists families DID attend the runway shows, and Jillian's father did NOT wear that unbelievable baseball hat (how does the father of a budding designer come to won such a thing?) It's always so fascinating to see someone's family for the first time; I mean, Christian couldn't look more different, sylistically, etc than his family, and yet he looks EXACTLY like his father!

It was fun to see all the rejects in the crowd, including Jack and Dale from Top Chef (are they still dating?) Wouldn't it be more fun, though, to have ALL the former guest judges there? They don't necessarily get to vote, but c'mon, how fun would it be to also see Sarah Jessica Parker sitting next to those female wrestlers next to the former fat ladies?  Think outside the box, Bravo!

I sincerely hope Christian does breakthrough on to success independent of his "PR" celebrity (something I don't think any of the other winners have really done) He is a great talent, and a fabulous personality. I felt like a proud uncle watching him win tonight; he's a good kid who has followed his heart - undoubtedly through some tough times - and has come out on top. We could all take a lesson in fierceness from him, don'tcha think? But aside from all that, it's not him I want to have a drink with (I mean, I do, but not in that way) Rami, I'm here for you...but I know you're busy so I'll just jet on down to L.A. and "pop in" to your studio...I think I can find it thanks to the last episode...and we can discuss your...uh...color pallette...sound good?

(One last thing -- if you can't get enough "Runway," take this ingenious trivia challenge....

Image courtesy Bravo