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It's Week Twelve of Project Runway and the final challenge, the one which will determine who gets into the two part finale. Unlike the show, we refuse to say it determines, "Who goes to Fashion Week," since at this point, almost every Project Runway fan who has ever been near a computer knows that the remaining non-finalist designers will get to show decoy collections in the tents. While these collections never make it to television, and the show never mentions them, the industry sees them and the press covers them. This year nine of the designers got to show collections. That means that in the last three years, more than two thirds of all the contestants on the show have gotten that privilege. We'd spend all our time in Vegas if the odds were that good.
Things kick off this week with Heidi sending the remaining five designers off with Tim on a ferry to Governors Island. It's a former military base near Manhattan, which is now a park filled with art installations. The designers are given golf carts and cameras and told to explore the island looking for possible inspirations for the challenge, which is to create a mini-collection of three looks which will show their range as a designer. We immediately wonder how Anya will show range—possibly through hem length.
Anya finds collection inspiration in, "The negative and positive spaces created by the island's giant sculptures." Joshua finds it in a cannon near a chapel—he wants to show, "Fragility meets strength and power." If that's his goal, he should just show a clip of him yelling at Becky. Viktor is inspired by the island's view of the Manhattan skyline, Laura is taken with all the circular shapes she sees on the island, and Kimberly gets her inspiration from a giant sculpture called "New Beginning"—which is appropriate, since this week, once again, Kimberly trashes completed garments and start making new ones with almost no time left.
After the designers return to the workroom, Tim pulls out his button bag of doom, but thankfully this time the twist is a good one. The designers get to each choose one of the last five aufed designers to come back and be their assistants. Kimberly draws first and much to our surprise, and the surprise of everyone in America, the first assistant chosen is Becky. Then Viktor picks Olivier, Laura picks Anthony Ryan, Anya picks Bert and Joshua ends up with Bryce. While each of the teams gets along, there is still a lot of tension in the workroom, thanks to Joshua's bitter grousing that last week he lost $20,000 to a "Beauty queen." Sorry Joshua, guess the judges prefer the talent of a beauty queen to a drama one.
This week, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia are joined by special guest judge, actress Zoe Saldana. Instead of being seated during her introduction, like most guest judges, Zoe is given a dramatic surprise entrance from behind the screen. Thus, we're expecting it to be someone who isn't best known for being blue. It turns out Zoe is also the cofounder of MFDB.com—My Fashion Database, sort of an IMDB site for fashion, which doesn't load very well (we think we just trashed our chances of ever being added to it.) Zoe is an okay judge, and the producers include a lot of her comments.
This week there isn't a top three nor a bottom three designers, just a remaining five. Heidi informs us that, "Three or four," of the designers will go to Fashion Week. We've learned over the years that every time Heidi says this before the finals, it means that four designers will continue forward. Once again this is the case.
To no one's surprise, the first designer to be put through is Anya, with a three piece collection of simple, architecturally draped, solid color designs—which all look alike. There is a gown, a cocktail dress and a pants outfit—and yes, they're all sleeveless. The next designer to go forward is Viktor. He shows a mini collection of gray and black separates and a LBD. Michael Kors gushes over the clothes' commerciality, possibly because Michael's own work is so commercial. By the way, as Michael points out, in fashion, "commercial" is not usually used as a compliment. In this case, we're continuing that trend. Joshua is the next designer to be put through, much to the detriment of televisions across the country (that consequently had bricks thrown at them). His final collection includes one cute white cocktail dress, one disastrous silver gown and one cheerleader-esque outfit, which makes its model look fat. The final designer to learn they are in the finale is Kimberly, with an ill fitting orange coat, a silver mini dress reminiscent of the top she made for Nina and a sexy silver and orange skirt and top.
The only designer not put through is Laura, whom Tim had warned a few episodes back that Nina didn't care for her aesthetic. Once again Nina's will prevails. Laura's circle lattice gown has potential, but her circle blazer and skirt outfit doesn't flatter her model and her final piece looks like baggy lingerie. Heidi bids "auf Wiedersehen" to a very disappointed Laura, who starts crying long before being aufed. On Laura's behalf, we'd like to say that many people thought that her Fashion Week decoy collection was not only one of the best this Fashion Week, but might have been the winning one. And so Laura joins Kara Janx and April Johnston in the small group of Project Runway contestants whose decoy collections trumped most of their season's actual finale collections.
And now for the Top Ten Moments of Project Runway Greatness...
10. In deciding what his collection's inspiration would be, Josh is drawn to a small cannon, saying, "I have a brother in the military and was drawn to the 'art-il-er-ary.'" Don't ask, don't mispronounce.
9. Anya describes being in the final five as, "The ultimate moment in a designer's life." We suspect Coco Chanel would disagree.
8. During the ferry trip, Joshua says he is finally congratulating himself. Finally? Joshua congratulated himself so many times this season, we're not even sure this is the first time he's done it on water.
7. Heidi explains that she has more passion for Laura due to her crying on the runway. Good thing Laura doesn't make it to the finale, or in future seasons we'd never have a dry runway.
6. Bryce tells Joshua, "You don't need to add every idea you've got." Joshua responds by sewing a kitchen sink to a lapel.
5. Anya gets Goosebumps. These are visible because she doesn't know how to make sleeves.
4. When Josh learns he's in, he says, "I'm starting to write my book, my history. Years after I'm gone, someone will be able to look back and research this moment for me." George Washington said the same thing after crossing the Delaware.
3. In describing his role as Viktor's assistant, Olivier complains, "I think slave is really the correct word." Yes Olivier, You are the Kunta Kinte of fashion. Good thing Kimberly didn't have to put up with you.
2. Joshua insists, "I firmly believe that Viktor and I have something that will take both of us to the Lincoln Center." Yes, subway cards.
1. Laura says, "This is the last challenge before everybody goes to do their collections.” Guess the editors missed that slip!
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