Project Runway Recap: The Tyranny Of High Expectations

Previously: The designers had their final challenge, and the field was narrowed to Joshua McKinley, Kimberly Goldson, Anya Ayoung-Chee and Viktor Luna.

It’s “Part One” of the finale, and we open with Heidi Klum explaining to the designers that they have five weeks and a budget of $9,000 to create a 10-look collection at home that they’ll bring back to NYC. I’m really interested to see what everyone comes up with, and I even like everybody who’s left! Well, except for Josh.

A few weeks later, Tim Gunn makes a pilgrimage to each designer’s hometown. He visits Kimberly first in White Plains, Maryland, where she seems relaxed and confident in her adorably decorated house. She shows him a few pieces from her collection and explains that she was inspired by her childhood in Brooklyn, and wants to create a sophisticated collection based on Brooklyn street style. She wants to be the first African American winner of Project Runway.

In order to visit Anya, Tim has to go all the way to Trinidad! Whoa! She has several adorable brothers, who are obviously very proud of her. She tells Tim that she was inspired by the beach at home for her collection, but can’t show him anything beyond the fabrics she chose. Oh dear. Tim is clearly concerned, and advises her to start creating shapes ASAP. My roommate comments that Project Runway is the rare show where the favorite often doesn’t win, because the pressures and expectations of the finale are so different.

Viktor, who lives in Queens, went to Guadalajara for the anniversary of his brother’s death. He took pictures while in Mexico and used them to create prints. His collection is by far the most interesting and complete so far. Tim tells him that all but one of his pieces has a “wow” factor, including an amazing white leather pearl-studded jacket. We also get to meet Viktor’s adorable boyfriend.

Joshua, also in Queens, brings his sister to meet Tim for lunch. Once Tim takes a look at his collection, he freaks. There’s too much color, too many weird prints and very strange materials. Tim says of a print Josh is using, “It’s one of the homeliest textiles I’ve ever seen in my entire life.” You get the idea. By the end of his consultation Josh has thrown out a bunch of work. Probably Definitely for the best!

At the end of the five weeks, the finalists reconvene in the penthouse of the Hudson Hotel, where they have a congratulatory champagne toast with Tim. The following day he explains they need to choose three of their looks to show to the judges as a mini-collection. Tim consults with the designers about which pieces to choose. Kimberly is still in a pretty good place. Viktor’s leather jacket puts the fear of God into everyone. Josh has done some editing. And Anya — oh, Anya. She choked. She went right to her comfort zone and everything looks like stuff we’ve seen before. She knows she’s in trouble and tears up about the high expectations she has for herself and that everyone else has for her. She makes a lot of last-minute adjustments, which Josh and Viktor take note of snottily.

On runway day, all the designers are rushing to finish their garments. Well, all the designers except for Viktor, who is so relaxed that he gets his makeup done with his models.

Watching the runway show, the most cohesive collections seem to be Kimberly and Viktor’s. Josh and Anya’s clothes seem more uneven. The judges love some of Kimberly’s clothes, but think the models were over-styled and accessorized, and Heidi hates the voluminous pink skirt on one of them. Anya’s models are also over-styled, and some of her construction is sloppy. Joshua played around with different fabrics and silhouettes, with mixed results. Personally, I think all the neoprene and plastic looks unbelievably cheap. Nina Garcia calls him “a really good designer” though, so what do I know. Viktor’s collection is the most complete (and Heidi loves the jacket) but the judges think some pieces might be a tad busy.

The designers’ best looks:

After deliberating, the judges call everyone back out. The first person in is Joshua. Boo! Next is Viktor. It’s down to Kimberly and Anya, my two faves. Kimberly is in, which makes me think that Anya is going home, but then the judges reveal a twist — Anya is in too! Wait, this whole episode was for nothing? In the waiting room everyone hugs, but Josh (OF COURSE) has sour grapes about Anya not being eliminated. Deal with it!

Next week: everyone is going to Fashion Week, and it’s the finale for real! Team Anya, Kimberly or Viktor!

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