Project Runway Recap: “$100,000—Drinks Are on This Brutha!”

We scream, you scream, we all scream for the season-five finale.

It's the season finale! All Photographs courtesy of Bravo.

We reach the grand finale—this is it, kids! And with Project Runway’s unclear future on its new home, Lifetime, it really could be the end of Project Runway as we know it. That said, this season has been somewhat dull, and we’re not sad to see it go: When the highlights include Stella’s hammering montages, you know it’s been a bit of a rough ride.

We are, however, excited to see it all come together for the exciting conclusion. The three finalists—Leanne, Korto, and Kenley (this seems like the time to say, “Girl power!”)—are all very different designers, and it’ll be interesting to see what they bring to Bryant Park.

Too precious for words.

But first we have to go through the regulatory rules of Fashion Week. First, models are chosen (Leanne likes them to look “alienish”). Then Tim Gunn comes through for his final check-in. He and Kenley argue over her choices—is it just us or does her voice get more shrill and whiny with each episode?—and she, as usual, brushes off his comments and concerns. No one messes with our Tim Gunn, Kenley. Even the normally unruffled Tim gives an annoyed eye roll as he walks away, which we find very restrained. Personally, we would’ve smacked her.

He moves on to Korto—still smarting from last week’s bashing from the judges—who’s struggling over what to do about her collection. And then he heads to Leanne, whose gorgeous aqua-and-white collection is drop-dead gorgeous even hanging on the rack.

The episode’s proceeding at an ant’s pace. We move on to the L’Oréal makeup consultation. We’re getting antsy. Enough with the sponsor filler!
Back in the studio, things heat up as Leanne and Kenley trade off-camera barbs. Kenley thinks Leanne’s collection is “boring.” Leanne describes Kenley’s as “really Holly Hobby” (cue wide-eyed “eeek” look). We would’ve loved some fireworks in the studio, but everyone is on his or her best behavior. Someone bring Stella back to rile things up a bit!

Well, we don’t get Stella, but we do get model Tia’s poopy puppy, Sophie. There is a pseudo-dramatic moment when the dog poos on the floor and nothing happens. If that’s the most excitement the producers can deliver, it’s going to be a long half hour until the final decision.

Tim comes by for a group hug and a final gather-’round. He gushes about how proud he is of them (for about the 80th time) and then says, very Zenlike, “Whatever the outcome is, the outcome is.” Kumbayah, Tim.

And finally it’s the day of the show. The designers head to the Bryant Park tents at about 4 AM, partly because they have to be ready for a 9 AM show and partly because they probably didn’t want anyone peeping the potential winners in advance. Which reminds us: We all know that Suede, Joe, and Jerell had to stage runway shows as well to avoid potential spoilers. Where are they? How did they manage to keep them out of the way for all the backstage coverage? Do you think they got stuck in a corner somewhere to whine and sniffle away?

All that staring won’t make the dress look any prettier, hon.

Heidi comes out on the runway. Turns out Jennifer Lopez had a foot injury and was suddenly unable to be the guest judge. (We find it all incredibly suspect, especially as JLo now infamously ran a triathlon the very next day, immediately pissing off Project Runway fans everywhere.) No matter, they’ve secured a replacement. It’s Tim! Our adorable Tim promises to be impartial and put his relationships with the designers “on a metaphorical shelf.”

Cue what might be the best moment of the season: Kenley, looking stunned as Tim—who she’s treated with disdain and rudeness all season—takes his judge’s chair. She says what we’re all thinking: “Uh, maybe I should’ve improved my attitude.” Uh. You think?

Let’s start the show!

Kenley goes first, kicking things off with a hideous asymmetrical hot-pink skirt. We’re not jazzed with her puffed-sleeve silk dress, either. Or that feather-neck black sheath. The high-necked green blouse and skirt is pretty nice, but overall, we say eh.
Now it’s Korto! We do love her saturated colors and desertlike taupes. We don’t love the high-waisted pants and that gold sparkly trim that she put on everything. Still, that final asymmetrical halter is pretty great.

Does anyone else think it’s weird how they’ll add in a clap track even when it’s clear that the audience isn’t clapping?

Finally, Leanimal! Could she not have brushed her hair? But no matter: The collection is absolutely dreamy. The volume, the colors, the petallike fabric—we though we’d get tired of it, but everything is just different enough. And, oh! That wedding dress. We swooned last week, and we swoon again. The crowd bursts into screams. We burst into screams at home. Gorgeous.

Michael Cors: I’m going to have sooo much fun telling Kenley she lost!

The producers do their best to make us think that Leanne might not win. They seek out the most random past contestants and make it seem like everyone’s rooting for Kenley and Korto. But really, we’re just not that easily fooled.

Back on the set, the judges offer their thoughts. Kenley gets called out for being very Balenciaga. Tim says, as nicely as possible, “She needs to take a fashion-history course.”

Korto is criticized for being overwrought. Looks like no one was feeling that excessive gold trim.

There’s some concern that Leanne will now be known, in Michael Kors’s words, as “the Queen of Petals.” I don’t think anyone believes it for a second, but just in case, we paused our TV and loudly swore never to watch Project Runway again if Leanne is not declared the winner.

Nice try, producers. They tried their best to throw us off, but we’d be surprised if anyone was surprised when Leanne wins. Yay, Leanimal! There is cheering. There is screaming. We hop up and down on the couch. Leanne is adorably thrilled and leaves us with: “$100,000—drinks are on this brutha!” And Kenley said she wasn’t hip-hop.

So what’s next? Project Runway may be in limbo, but there’s plenty of catty fashion shows to hold our attention. Starting with CW’s Stylista, debuting next Wednesday, October 22, at 9 PM. (And starring DC’s Johanna Cox!) The fashion reality train continues, and we can’t wait!

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