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Ryan on the Runway: PR 20 finale

I’ll give Waldorf the first word: “I am starting this with the fact that I am still bitter that Rami is not in the finale and Brittany is. Obviously, Rami is a better man and more of an adult than I am.”

The episode started with the three judges talking with the three finalists:

Bishme: Brandon said he knew how much this meant to Bishme. He asked Bishme to "drag out the confidence" in himself. He was meant to be here.

Laurence: Nina said, "You are always so exact and measured." She pointed out the denim dress and said it had a softness and freedom, she encouraged Laurence to embrace that.

Brittany: Elaine said she had "carved out a lane" for herself. All three designers were excited to see what she would bring them.

They were given $10,000 and eight days to make eight looks. They went to Christian's atelier where they were matched up with eliminated designers who would work as their assistants. Waldorf said this: “Why are they promoting Cristians’ Altelier? Is it a motivator or self promotion? I just know that we never see 50 copies of Elle Magazine laying around.”

Ha! Back to the assistants. Their choices were Prajjé, Fabio, and Kara Saun. Bishme had first choice and he choice Prajjé. Brittany chose Fabio and Laurence chose Kara Saun. All three are matches made in heaven.

Statler was sad that there were no hometown visits. “All Stars or not, it's a fun part of the finale. Although, the crunch of the 8 in 8 challenge was awesome. I wish it had been a two week finale or at least a two hour finale. The whole thing felt SO rushed and I found myself wanting to know more about the sketching, buying, creating process. I also thought it was weird that they gave them help but only for two days. But something is better than nothing.”

They went fabric shopping. Brittany said they were given three and a half hours to shop - - why would the producers put a leash on that? Why not give the designers eight days and $10,000 and set them loose to do what they want? Maybe they'd want to spend $1,000 on fabric from Paris. Why the hell not.

Statler said last week that she was looking forward to Christian doing the home visits - - but we forgot that on All Stars they stay in the workroom. That was a disappointment but a hill o' beans compared to other disappointments we've undured. And I'm not just talking about Project Runway. Ya hear.

Christian did a check in. He liked that Brittany was doing something more wearable than the other two designers, who he descirbed as "couture du jour," but he asked her to make at least one piece that was highly sophisticated. He didn't have much to say to Bishme, he just encouraged him. He liked the direction in which Laurence was going. She wasn't doing any sketches and he advised her that using a sketchbook would be a valuable method for organizing her thoughts.

The model casting started with my girl Mimi! CRAZY FOR HER. She was wearing an electic blue pantsuit with no blouse, showing lots of boob. She gave a come hither, "check out this beeyotch" glance to the camera on her way out. Maybe my favorite moment of the season. Could we make that into a GIF? All three designers wanted her so Christian drew a name at random and the winner was Brittany. My thought was, "She better make something fierce for Miss Mimi."

The Help arrived and it was a lovefest. Maybe it's just because Prajjé was eliminated more recently but I was excited to see Kara Saun and Fabio again. Work work work, another walk through with Christian seeing pieces on the models. His counsel was more measured and restrained, in the Tim Gunn manner. A welcome change!

The six designers went to the night lounge where there was (of course) drinking. Bishme shared that he was feeling sure about how things were coming together in his collection.

They had a visit from Marc Karimzadeh, Editorial and Communications Director of the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America). I rewound the clip four times and can confrim that when he introduced himself he said "Marc Karimzadeh-deh" - - he added an extra Deh on his name. That was cute and so was he!

He spoke with the designers one and one, looking at the garments they had produced over the course of the season. Karimzadeh seemed more at ease. He said something really articulate to Laurence about her use of leather - - a customer could go to her because she loves leather but the customer has areas of her life where she doesn't want to wear leather. Laurence would need to make pieces for her, and the customer would still go to her as her chosen designer.

Bishme, poor guy, had a major crisis. He was deeply unsure of himself and this pulled his grief out to the surface. Prajjé talked with him, talked him off the ledge, and brought him back into the workroom.

On the flip side! Brittany made a black and white gown with the skirt separated in panels. She gave it to Mimi, who did a full squat and then a fierce karate kick at the camera. Could we make that into a GIF?

Waldorf noticed that Brittany was getting a lot of airtime. “That made me nervous. I will say, her collection was better than I wanted it to be, but not enough to call her the winner.”

The three designers ended the day out on a pier overlooking the city. They had a group hug with Brittany in the middle - - Bishme called it an Oreo sandwich. Which it was. Statler said this about the apparent friendship between the three designers: “I loved that all three final designers were supportive of one another and seemed to be decent human beings. I like the drama being about the challenge and the personal challenge of the show and not about interpersonal bullsh-t.”

Then we were at the finale show! The models arrived and were getting their hair and makeup done. Can I have a brief sidebar? We had a fashion show at the Tiffany store the other day, a collaboration between Givenchy and Tiffany, a show during Fashion Week. The shtick was that the Givenchy garment and Tiffany jewels were being sold as a set - - you had to buy them together, it was a whole look. The show was at noon and I met four hair and makeup people at 8am to take them upstairs. They were there not for the models but for my BOSS! And two of her colleagues. The initial plan was to take them to the 8th floor, where the models were, but that was too nutty. My boss decided they were going to take over the 10th floor, the VIP lounge. Because why not.

That brief glimpse I had of the 8th floor when it was in full tilt boogie fashion show prep mode, that was a thrill. It was what I call a Dorothy Gale Moment: "Toto, I've a feeling I'm not in healthcare anymore."

OK back to Project Runway! The audience showed up for the show and Christian introduced the judges. Brandon Maxwell was unable to be there, what the hell? Miss the finale? Girlfriend had better be in the hospital or at his mee maw's funeral is all I have to say. Waldorf said this: “No Brandon Maxwell? I hope what ever kept him away is resolved in a positive manner. The interpersonal synchronization between he and Nina is amazing to watch and he always has a pointed opinion.”

They brought in two guest judges: Billy Porter, dressed to the hilt, major voluminous colorful situation, an enormous topknot and long skinny braids. A whole lotta look but he was wearing it, it was not wearing him. And Zac Posen, looking very fine. He's growing up. He no longer looks boyish, now he looks mannish.

And Nina and Elaine, of course.

Brittany came first. She said, "You might remember me from season 18." The season 18 designers waved at her from the other side of the room and she waved back, saying, "Furmilair faces." Yes, fur-miliar, not fa-miliar. Sends a shiva up my spiyun. Why do the designers have to make a dopey introductory speech. That makes it all seem so high school. The clothes should speak for themselves.

Brittany's show was so strong, cohesive, every look totally wearable and ready to sell. Billy Porter described it as "from gym to night." I was skeptical about Brittany at the start of the season but she really knows what she's doing, she's a talent.

Mimi had the final look in that gown with the skirt in panels, and of course she had to do the karate kick which drove the audience wild. That made her seem so fresh, edgy, and contemporary, but then when she walked off the runway she looked so refined and composed, like an Avedon photo come to life, like the second coming of Dovima. Color Me Crazy but for me Mimi is the breakout star of this season. Can't get enough of her. I'm now following her on Instagram.

Bishme was next. The red and white giant gingham look was my favorite by far. Waldorf was not a fan: “It did not seem cohesive to the rest of the collection. It just made me think the model should grab a picnic basket, fill it up at Oleosen’s Mercantile, and head down to the creek.”

The two all-white pieces fell flat for me and the two red, white, and black pieces seemed little pedestrian. The two final looks were amazing. That final gown was extreme and I loved that the model was NOT wearing a baseball cap.

Laurence, oh dear Lord I can't stand it! So sophisticated, effortless, beautifuly crafted, disctinctive, divine. The whole show was cohesive but also full of variety. The nail polish red final look was spectacular. Zac described her collection as "ambitious." Hell to the yes! Off topic, how is it possible, but her son is just as gorgeous as she is.

On to the judging!

Brittany made the smart point that her collection was 8 looks but 21 pieces, things that could be mixed and matched. Wouldn't it be nice to see a switch happen on the runway, to have models trade jackets?

Elaine described Bishme's collection as "well edited." Nina described his stuff as Fashion with a capital F.

The designers, as usual, each chose one look to represent their collection. Brittany and Bishme each chose their final look but Laurence chose the tall, slim white jacket look. It was more understated and refined than her finale look and it says a lot about her and her view of herself that she saw the finale look as an important exclamation point for the show but not really what she sees as what she does.

A brief moment about me watching the show: I always DVR it since I go to bed at 9:30pm and Mama ain't stayin' up that late unless it's an opera at the Met. I got to this point in the show and fast forwarded the commercials, of course. I saw that the timing bar was at 1:23 out of 1:35, so clearly this was the last segment. I was nervous! Who would be the winner??? Get a grip.

Here's what Zac said about Brittany: "Repetition is reputation." Stitch that on a pillow! Billy Porter saw Bishme's final Anxiety Gown as the standout piece of the whole show. I'm going to quote what Zac said about Laurence: "A mastery of technique. Inventive construction. In leather! No joke. She's a sexy tailor. With edge."

Oh Lord I am such a mess. I got teary when Nina opened the winner announcement by saying what an honor it had been to be "in this judging chair for TWENTY SEASONS." Emphasis mine but also hers. Love you to pieces, Nina Divina.

I was surprised they chose Bishme as the winner. I would have placed him third out of three! I would have given the win to Laurence with Brittany in the middle. I could have seen Laurence or Brittany as the winner. But not Bishme. Waldorf had the same ranking: “When the winner was announced, I realized why I am not in the judges chair, even though I am here to be judgey.”

Bishme is a total sweetheart with lots of talent but hm, I'm a little perplexed.

I gave the first word to Waldorf so it’s only fitting I give the final word to Statler: “The winner made me think more closely about the 'goal' of the show. They want a designer, not a tailor. If construction had held a higher importance, I think Laurence would have been the winner. But when I think about the season as a whole, Bishme pushed more boundaries, got out of his comfort zone more, and ultimately, I think, had a wider vision and outlook. But what the hell do I know.

“In the end, this girl identifies with Brittany and would be her friend if she lived in my neighborhood. So I loved her and her aesthetic. I know Waldorf is still bitter about Rami not getting the spot and maybe he can take comfort in her overall loss. In the end, the ALL STAR season was just that. I can't wait for season 21!”

In closing, Viva la Nina, Nina Divina!!

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