New York Fashion Week Spring '09: Project Runway. The Stylish (?) Six.

So Friday (the last day) of New York Fashion Week Spring ’09 brought a total zoo to the tents in the form of Project Runway‘s finale collections. As this and past season’s contestants like Stella, Blayne, Santoro, Laura Bennett, Jay McCarrol, Kevin Christiana, Malan Breton, Jillian, Rami, Jack Mackenroth, Carmen and Daniel Vosovic filed in to observe along with 900 other guests, we pondered who might be showing to Heidi, Michael, Nina, and serving as judge for the first time ever, Tim Gunn. Including the decoys, six designers presented ten looks each. With Blayne and Terri saying auf wiedersehen after last week’s avant-garde astrological challenge, Jerrell, Suede, Joe, Kenley, Korto and Leanne all presented (and in that order). We feel pretty secure saying that the first three were the ringers and the last three were the real deal. The difference in quality was obvious. See some looks for yourself and opine in the comments section below!

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If we had to name this aesthetic, we’d call it Sparkly Pirate Hooker Grunge Chic. Jerrell’s looks had some potential and a ton of creativity, but their colors and shapes didn’t relate. His signature military-inspired vintage style was represented in long cuffed jackets, but ultimately, the proportions got out of whack, with too-long lace overlays and Heidi’s pet peeve of misplaced boobs. The downfalls of the collection were cohesion and fit.


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We deign Suede’s collection the Cotton-Candy Pretty Pretty Princess line. As you can see, one of his models literally wore a tiara. In cringe-inducing shades of pink and blue, Suede ruffled, fringed, and sequined his way into taste oblivion. We’re sure Nina would have ripped him a new one if he were really in the top three, but we’re definitely doubting he makes it that far.

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Joe’s ‘Americana’ collection got a little too literal with its use of leather, patchwork denim, and cascading stars. With multiple tight and short bustiers, it read a little more Coyote Ugly than cowgirl. The final look, which came out of nowhere, appeared to be Stella’s wedding gown. We might call this collection, Clothes Jessica Simpson Might Wear During Her Country Singing Career.


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Kenley designed her own dream wardrobe, chock full of Asian inspired, high necked, 40s-styled and 80s-colored power cocktail dresses. She mixed colors and prints with panache and stayed on the right side of the taste line. Good but not groundbreaking– top three but not a winner, we predict.

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Korto is going to make the finale a fight! Perfect fits and excellent execution defined her collection– Asian Minimalist Chic. Even with only one printed garment, the collection didn’t get boring, and each piece was more awe-inspiring. We thought Korto might take it, but then we saw Leanne’s looks…


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Sculpted, architectural, and unmistakably Leanne. Even though, like Korto, she used no print and a limited range of color in sand and seafoam, the spectacled designer created interest with pleats, ruffles, and gauzy wraps. We think issues might arise with the uniform hemlines and proportions of so many of the dresses, but Leanne’s work had the one attribute the others lacked… Though Kenley and Korto had great fit, creativity, taste and interest, Leanne had the key to all previous PR winners: innovation. And that’s why we’re predicting her victory!

Who do you see taking home the gold? Do they compare to previous PR winners? Could Korto take on Christian or Chloe, or could Leanne go toe-to-toe with Jeffrey and Jay? When is the all-star season of PR, ’cause THAT would be worth watching! Until the next challenge, comment away on the final designs!

– Hayley Wells


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