Goodbye and good riddance. Project Runway came to its shameful conclusion last night, ending what has been one of the most dismal seasons of the show thus far. Unlikeable contestants, too many group challenges, a shorter length of time for the designers to put together their fashion week collections, motherfucking stilts—the laundry list of complaints lodged against this season goes on and on. On the positive side, Heidi has been looking really healthy, and they made a big step up in the finale guest judge department, upgrading from Jessica Simpson to L'Wren Scott. Otherwise this season, particularly its conclusion, has been probably the most detrimental to the show's reputation thus far. Here, judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia explain their thinking on each of the final four going into the decision-making.
Project Runway has always been able to keep its chin just a hair above the fray because it is one of the only reality TV shows that showcases people who have a legitimate skill. They're certainly not immune to drama and the manipulations of the genre, but at its root the show teaches its contestants and audience alike a lot about the construction of clothing.
So when you give the grand prize to the one person who has by far the least amount of experience, and who has demonstrated a limitation in technical ability over and over, it begs the question of what exactly this competition has come to be about.
We're as surprised as you are, dear. At the end I thought for sure Viktor was going to take it. I knew that Josh—with his horrible neon green circuit boy shorts—was not going to make it, as with Kimberly's ho-hum final collection. And who wins both Miss Universe and Project Runway within a span of three years? She's collecting dubious honors like stamps.
This decision would be cause for outrage, but this season has made it remarkably difficult to feel passionate about the results. Unlike the Gretchen/Mondo explosion—in which there was a very difficult decision to be made between two clearly proficient and talented designers—this is barely a ripple in the water. If the show intends to soldier forth instead of putting itself to bed (and it seems there is an excellent opportunity to with Project Runway All Stars, which could act as a handy bookend), it would do well to raise their standards for design talent and ease up on all the tricky horsing around. And, go back to the longer, more reasonable length of three months (or so) that designers in the Bravo days had to work on their final collections. Giving them a chance to also show what they're capable without near-impossible time constraints is just giving the audience what they want. We've seen the desperate slapped-together looks, and they've made it through that gauntlet already. We want, above all, to see beautiful collections.
Again, Portland designers, I implore you. Think twice when a show like this comes a knockin'.