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And the Winner

And the Winner


Christian. But you knew that already. Here's how it went down on the season finale of Project Runway

The best part of the show this week never made it onto the show. It's a clip you find on Bravo's site now with Tim Gunn and Christian competing in a model walk-off. Christian, whose hips are made of ball-bearings, wins handily, causing Heidi to tell Tim Gunn that he needs to loosen up his sashay a bit. This is like telling Tim Gunn that he has to shop at Wal-Mart for the rest of his life. The stick up his ass is part of his charm. But Heidi won't give it a rest and takes this opportunity to lunge at Tim Gunn and tickle him in a way that infuses fresh new jolts of sadism into the word merciless. Tim Gunn turns a deep red and giggles uncontrollably in the clutches of the Aryan Queen of Doom, who for her part doesn't stop until she has nearly asphyxiated him. It's staggeringly good. So of course it's not airing on actual TV.

They don't waste any time with the where-you-are-and-what's-happening in this episode. The first thing we see are bottom-of-the-screen words:


Shit is all serious now. Christian says, "I'm nervous. I'm scared." The next thing we see is Rami, on interview cam, talking about how he noticed Christian noticing his collection and becoming concerned. And he has no choice but to say this with an air of smug superiority, like, "Clearly I am the sophisticate and this child is a clown and now you at home can all see that I am the true number 1 man now. Triumphant!" Then he stares and stares as Tim Gunn comes in and tells Jillian that her muppety-striped-explosion-of-Raggedy-Ann-curls sweater doesn't look like it fits in the collection. Christian concedes that both Jillian and Rami are great designers and that it "messes with my head."

So now, after all this time, we get to see a touch of insecurity from Christian, even if it is just a way for the producers to make a last-ditch attempt at suspense now that everyone with a computer and reason to care has seen all five of the final designers' collections at Fashion Week. We're not going to see Sweet P's or Chris's here, by the way. The show has decided to pretend that they're not in New York, in the next room even, getting their shit together for the shows, even though we all know they were. Did they have to room together? Or did the show just toss them out onto the street and say, "Decoy collections fend for themselves! Banished!"

The three of them go to a model casting and all of them want the same girls. "Let's see the hair," says Jillian to one of them. The model unravels her clearly unwashed, unstyled hair. This, I've learned, is common. Model pal Elyse said so, telling me, "You can go straight from the plane to the shoot. You just splash some ice water on your face. Easy. But there's nothing you can do about your greasy-ass hair. That's the hairstylist's problem."


It's fittings day. They meet with Collier Strong for makeup consultations. And on the usual tip, the show tries to milk drama out of more than one model showing up at once. How, oh, how will Jillian handle the stress?

Rami would like to interrupt the show again to announce that Christian has a lot to learn about designing for real women and not just models. Oh really, Rami? Hey guess what? I've got a 65-year-old stroke-patient mom in a wheelchair who can only wear pull-up elastic-waist pants now. Can you whip up something chic for her that also meets her limited mobility challenges? No? Oh, darn.

Christian's current fitting model, the one wearing what appears to be a bondage outfit with a skirt, is complaining about the torture shoes he wants her to walk in. "It's not all about comfort, lady!" he snaps back. Then he bitches at her for sitting down in the skirt he just put on her. Then he tells them on their way out to be really skinny and don't eat before the show. A few minutes later he tells one of them not to bend her arms in the outfit. So there it is, women viewers. Fashion designers want you please to be shutting the fuck up so they can dress you like outrageous toy dolls. And although I fully approve of his unwearable collection because a good runway show doesn't always have much to do with what an actual human being might be able or even want to wear, I think the girls said it best when they mock-quoted Karl Lagerfeld that one time: "To look like a freak is to be alive with fashion! Also wash your face in champagne!"

Jillian realizes that her models are not a coherent visual group. Oops, too late. She's stuck with them.

Tim Gunn comes in for "one last gather-round." He gives them their show order: Jillian first, then Rami, then Christian. And then he gets as borderline emotional as Tim Gunn ever gets and tells them all how proud he is of them. Then there's a group hug. Does anyone ever get any satisfaction from a group hug?


The three of them are shown walking up to the tents. Chris and Sweet P just got yelled at by a production assistant, "GET OUT OF THE SHOT! OUT OF THE SHOT! NOW!" They're also being forced to carry not only all their own collections but the collections of the other three as well. Heidi is riding in a rickshaw attached to their backs. Rami says, on interview cam, "There's something about Fashion Week in New York City. It's sort of like standing directly in front of the heartbeat that pumps the bloodstream of the fashion industry." He continues, "And that bloodstream carries in it tiny particles of Red Bull and nicotine and cocaine, all of which make things superchic and glamorous for all the chambers and ventricles and aortas and other heart-related words associated with fashion and...uh...yes."


Hair. Makeup. Fittings. Late models making Christian's life hell.

And here come Bravo-level celebrities like Laura, Andrae, Kevin, Jack and his Top Chef boyfriend, Jay, Kayne, Victorya, Tyson Beckford, Nikki Taylor...


Now I've tried to reason through my irrational love of Victoria Beckham (who, by the way, is wearing Buddhist monk robes, repping for her new sponsor, Orange Julius). But there are no answers. I can't explain it to you or to myself. But I think there's something really hilarious and artificial and sweet and phony and excellent about her. And listen to that crowd go nuts for her. I mean, I know you can't actually listen because you're reading this instead of watching it. But you probably watched it too. And if you didn't -- and for some reason I get tons of emails from people who say they don't watch a second of the show but they read these recaps anyway, something I don't get, but thanks, folks -- then you should just know that people go ballistic when they hear someone say that Posh is in the room. They feel like I do. It's good to be validated.

OK, the collections...

I'm just not going to sit here and try to describe 36 separate outfits for you. If you're dying to see them you can find them all online. You can even see Sweet P's and Chris's. But I'll try to pretend I'm a judge scribbling what comes into my mind first as I see these ladies canter down the runway...

Jillian's Collection: = Top heavy collars. Miniskirts for winter with bare legs. Hats stolen from Balenciaga. Wacky sweaters for the horsey set. Holes in things. Electra-Woman. Dyna-Girl. Curtseying.

Rami's Collection = Weavy, woveny weaves of wovenness worn by Sigourney Weaver. Teals and rosy pinks inspired by Tracy Nelson on Square Pegs. Some diarrhea. The Jolly Green Tranny Giant. Ruffly lampshades.

Christian's Collection = Severe black. Also some severe black. Then some severe black. On top of severe black. Oh, look, there's more severe black. Then feathers. With some feathers piled on it after being smothered by a pillow made from a feathered sea monster. Can you tell I like this one the most? Why wouldn't I? He's the best thing about this whole damn show.

Time for judging:

Blah blah blah praise etc. None of the judges have anything negative to say, beyond Christian's collection being somewhat heavy-handed and Jillian's being somewhat incoherent in odd moments and Rami's color palette coming off as suspect. But does any of that matter when Posh tells Christian what a fan she is and how "major" she finds him? No, because that's all that matters. Then she tells him that he made her smile and that "I'm not easy to make smile." Because her face can't do that anymore.

And then Christian wins. And then he cries, which is weird. And also very sweet. I almost feel something right now. I mean, I don't. But almost. Posh lays it on even more while Christian's in a weak moment, telling him how much she adores him. Translation: "I'll be sending over some assistants to get some free clothes. I'm a size 0 on a fat day, 00 after my blood-recycling treatment and purge day at the spa. I smelled a lemon for breakfast this morning. That's what it takes."

Then they hand Christian the keys to his new Saturn. It's bigger than his apartment. Now all he needs to do is get a driver's license. Chris and Sweet P are forced to stay behind after everyone leaves and break down the sets by themselves.

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Dave White