Arts and Entertainment

Project Runway struts to a close

By Denebola
Published: March 2008

By Sam Donovan and Diana Burmistrovich

New York Fashion Week, which occurs every year at Bryant Park, showed off the works of many famous designers like Vera Wang and Calvin Klein. Because the Project Runway finale coincided with New York Fashion Week, the finalists were able to display their 12-piece collections with those of other famous fashion designers.
Challenges during the fourth season ranged from designing outfits for WWE superstars to using materials from the Hershey factory.
Surprisingly, the judges tended to focus on whether or not the clothes were “marketable enough for the public. The final episode focused on designers Rami Kashou and Chris March who presented their selected three-piece collections to judges Nina Garica, Michael Kors, and Heidi Klum. Designer March was eliminated before the last runway presentation partially due to his use of human hair in his collection.
For New York’s fashion scene,  which is typically known for its feminine, frilly, and youthful style, March’s heavy and dark collection was not as well received as those of fellow finalists Christian Siriano and Jillian Lewis.
The finalists who made it to New York Fashion Week’€Christian Siriano, Jillian Lewis, and Rami Kashou’€all created collections inspired by Romanticism, a common theme for Spring 2008 in New York but an uncommon coincidence for Project Runway.
Project Runway finalists fit in perfectly with New York –based designers like Jill Stuart and Rodarte who also included elements of Romanticism in their most recent collections.
Siriano, this year’s fan favorite and champion, included the most Romantic-inspired elements in his clothes.  His collection included feminine ruffles, which embellished the female form with tight, thick belts, and voluminous coats and dresses.
One look in particular’€a two-toned, brown ruffle dress accented with a thick, pleather belt’€was both praised and questioned by the judges and other finalists for being beautifully dramatic yet an unrealistic fit for most female bodies. The collection was comparable to high-end, New York designer Zac Posen, who also experimented with voluminous sleeves and fitted waists.
Similar to Siriano’s collection were Lewis’ military-inspired, Romantic-tinged designs. Lewis experimented with original, Victorian construction techniques and details.
Kashou drew inspiration from Joan of Arc. Kashou interpreted Joan of Arc as a regal figure, and constructed his designs from heavy, luxurious fabrics.
Although this season of Project Runway was criticized early on for being bland and unoriginal, the final collections proved those early predictions wrong.  For the first time the clothes resembled legitimate collections by professional New York designers rather than inexperienced designers.
This season ended with a fierce champion and a runway show that was more daring and exciting than ever before.

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