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Project Runway Presents Its (Sweet) Season 16 Collections

Which designer stomps to victory? Your editors discuss!

Our Players

Hello, I'm East Coast Editor Sarah D. Bunting.
Hello, I'm West Coast Editor Tara Ariano.

The Talk

A week ago, I would not have predicted this outcome -- in fact, I would have picked Kentaro as the first dismissed, if asked. An hour ago, when he shrugged that because it was obvious that either Brandon or Ayana had it in the bag he'd just do as he pleased, I was like, "Hmmm." And then his show brought me to tears, and I'm still not quite sure how -- if it was the music, or all the emotion that's always flying around in the finale, or that fantastical tulle cocoon coat on the final look? I have general objections to the show's inconsistent judging when it comes to only assessing that week's/show's looks and not admitting that they're taking prior work into consideration...but I can't fault this result.

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This is not necessarily the winner I would have picked if I had been in Jessica Alba's seat -- we'll get to mine -- but I can't be mad about it either. To me, his collection was a stunning marriage of intellectual ideas and pure feeling, and scoring it to that yearning piano track was somehow bold and understated at once. The best thing about it was that throwing away any thought of winning let Kentaro be fully himself. (And after all that: it definitely was cohesive anyway.)

I agree that Kentaro letting go was the key to his win. I didn't like every look, but I could see the "story" he kept referring to even if I didn't catch every word (read: thought a couple words were outright hideous, like the plunging red top/pink pleather pants combo).

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But certainly I didn't envy Alba et al. this decision; there was another collection, and one of its looks in particular, I assumed had the win locked up, and I would have been fine with that. And I thought Alba was very good; she pointed out things I missed, like Ayana's flawless tailoring, and was...not Debra Messing! Which sometimes is all it takes, hee.

I think you mean the one I would have liked to win and that made me cry -- Margarita's?

N...o!

Oh! Well then, proceed!

I liked Margarita's a lot, and I liked that she pushed the Too Miami (tm) parts even harder after her critique. That she sent anything out when she was distracted by hurricane anxiety for friends and family back home is better than I'd have managed, never mind that boldly excellent first look, which was this Golden Girls fantasia in all the best ways. I also adored the scrunch-sleeved coat/shorts combination. But in the end, it was just good; it didn't do anything new, and while it stayed on the right side of dated, it barely did so. I liked it; I liked all the others better.

You know I love a colourful print; I wouldn't go so far as to call myself practically a Miami girl, as Heidi did, since pulling off a short short is not within my powers, but Margarita's collection was so different from all the others -- to borrow one of Tim's favourite words, so exuberant -- that I would have been thrilled to see her win. I also can't remember another designer who ever got a mid-show standing O, as Margarita did when Jazzmen ripped off that skirt for the swimsuit reveal. Should have been her finale, probably.

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That's a great point! Although I wonder how much of that O was for the look/the midwifing of the moment, and how much was for Jazzmine and her normal-lady-sized gorgeous tuchis (hopefully) changing runway shows forever. ...No, YOU started crying again when Liris broke down talking about representing for all us double-digit bosses. Liris 2020.

SARAH WHY DID YOU BRING THAT UP BECAUSE YOU'RE RIGHT, I TOTALLY DID, LIRIS IS MY QUEEN FOREVER. You're right, the swimsuit reveal represented more than just the look; on a regular skinny model, it would have been kind of a yawn. Not as much of a yawn as Brandon's collection was for me after watching him all season, though. Huh, dangly pointless straps. Didn't see that coming.

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I like Brandon's stuff better than you do, historically, but what was surprising was that the judges finally hit the wall with him here. I disagreed with them on the lack of variety -- the small variations among the looks and the shade and shape of the same fabric were, I thought, the point -- but I didn't particularly love any one look, and I have to wonder if his presuming he had the win in the (button) bag wasn't his undoing. If Brandon had felt less safe, he might have pushed himself more. AND NOT LED TO LIRIS'S ONLY LOSS OF THE SEASON how dare you sir.

I think he's good at what he does, it's just none of it for me, and it's so samey. His collection, for me, was too cohesive: I would have liked to have seen more of a progression from beginning to end rather than what felt like a parade of Holly Hobbie turned shoplifter. So by process of elimination, your runner-up would have been Ayana? I would have been okay with that too.

My God, that final look Ayana sent out. Stuhhhh-ning.

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That gown literally made me gasp, it was so amazing. That's a Vogue cover. It was a beautiful capper, but also a bit of a shock after the rest of the collection was only intermittently interesting American sportswear.

The '70s-prairie silhouettes were enhanced by the metallic fabrics she often went with, but they were still '70s-prairie silhouettes too often for my taste. Nina Garcia's note that she would have liked more color was interesting, in that I didn't realize that was missing for me until Nina remarked on it; I wonder how it might have landed with some saturated blues and purples, say. But I would have been just fine with a win for Ayana, and I suspect the judges really struggled with not rewarding that bridal look, and Ayana's chic take on modest fashion in general. Fun for viewers to have it be so close at the end, though, for once!

You know what? I agree. I had felt that the season started to sag a bit after the high drama of Claire's cheating scandal, but to see it all come down to four strong collections made it a fun ending and harder to predict than many recent seasons have been. I have a feeling both Ayana and Margarita will be back for All Stars, too.

I would also not be mad at a Fashion Brothers spinoff starring Kentaro and Brandon. Or anything starring Liris, who may have saved this fuckshow we're calling "2017" for me, and I am not joking.

This truly has been a star turn for Liris and I hope she has representation to help her capitalize on it. I would watch her in anything.

Even a pro-raisins PSA? Asking for a friend.

A raisin endorsement from Liris may be the only thing that could make me reconsider my stance.

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