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Ryan on the Runway: PRAS 7, finale

The final four were brought to the Baccarat hotel, which Richard described as “very swanky.” They had to make six looks for their collections and had $3000 to spend. They went to the grand salon next door and did their model casting. I miss the good old days when the designers had hair-pulls over the models.

Biddell decided the theme of his collection had to have something to do with the way he felt through the PRAS process: paranoid, entitled, wiggy. Somehow this led to conspiracy theories, and his favorite conspiracy theory, that the Queen of England is a reptile. I did a rewind on that. Wait a minute - - how did I not know about this? I Googled it, and the first source I found was Marie Claire. Anne Fulenwider is the editor of the US magazine. Do you see the connection?

Irina was inspired by cubism and wanted to make a 3-D sculptural collection. Michelle’s reference was the 70s and the Neil Young album *Harvest Moon.* Her collection would have 70s silhouettes and be called “Harvest Mood.” Dmitry wanted to pull in the sketches he made when he was a kid and wanted to make an ambitious collection using faces looking at each other and sleeves that look like hair.

OK! Sounded like four very different and wacky finale collections. The designers spent the rest of that first work day (of four) making things, talking trash, and flailing about.

The next day they met their helpers. Who predicted that they’d be previous PR designers? I did, twenty points for me. Michelle was given Sean Patrick Kelly, winner of season 13 - - Dmitry was given Erin Robertson, winner of season 15 - - naturally Biddell was paired with another foreigner (“ferner,” as we say in our house), Christina Exie, winner of season 4 of PR Australia - - and Irina was paired with the divine Mondo Guerra, winner of PRAS season 1.

Anne got things off to a strong start by asking Michelle if she could put on the coat she had made. Have I ever seen a mentor do that before? I don’t think so. She advised Irina to do one of her red dresses with pants instead, to gain some variety. Irina said, “That’s a good idea” and Anne said, “Thanks!” and laughed. Anne cracks me up. I want to run into her on the street, and unlike the time I ran into Joanna Coles on the street, I WILL talk with her.

At one point Mondo and Irina were in the sewing room - - excuse me, the BROTHER Sewing Room - - and he picked up on the fact that she was freaking. He asked her about it and she had a major meltdown, always hard to see from someone who’s so tough and confident. We found out later that she was upset about her mother’s fight with breast cancer.

Blah blah blah, drama in the workroom. And then the finale show! The guest judge was English actor Andrea Riseborough. I’m sure Alyssa had to practice how to pronounce her name. Correctly.


Well made but underwhelming. The red and black cocktail dress was the strongest look. The rest, not so wow.


Very high style and unusual, bordering on costume. The gown with the pailettes was out of this world.


So glad she ditched her own afro wig. Love her dress. First dress was so sweet. The next too dresses were too similar. The orange pants outfit was fantastic. The green coat was super super super. The whole collection was daring and cohesive and something else.


The opening jacket was gorgeous. I hated the yellow dress with the flamenco ruffle. The spangled outfit was divine. The black lace dress was unsettling, but in a good way.

Here’s how I would have ranked them:

  1. Michelle

  2. Dmitry

  3. Biddell

  4. Irina

I had it right, except the bottom who were flipped. I was so pleased for Michelle, she’s such a talent.

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