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Project Runway Winnows Down Its Latest Fashion Week Finalists

After Tim's home visits, the designers return to New York with their collections...but which of them will actually show them to the Fashion Week crowds? Your editors report and discuss!

Our Players

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

The Talk

Before we get into the first half of the usual finale fooferaw, I have a question that has nothing to do with the looks: Tim fell down? I have concerns!

And it's the second time in the last couple of years, no? Didn't he take a spill on some subway steps a few seasons back? This wouldn't be of note if it were me -- I have inner-ear problems and fall down or bang into stuff on a daily basis -- but it's rather alarming in civilians, especially if he had to have stitches in his forehead.

Tim is obviously very spry for a gentleman of his years, but between this and the ongoing Weinstein scandals, it kind of feels like maybe the universe is telling us Project Runway should wrap it up. (Yes, they could go on without Tim. But they shouldn't and I really hope they wouldn't.) More evidence for my suggestion that the show gracefully end: what we've seen of these Fashion Week collections. I'm shocked to report that Margarita is the only designer who made an impression on me with both her preview looks...but you'll note I'm not saying that I like them, either. I'm also not saying I don't! This was a weird one!

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The primary impression I got from Margarita's looks was that Heidi Klum needs to stop dog-whistling about how Margarita shouldn't go "TOO Miami" in her collection. Between that and the Stereotypical Latin Guitar that accompanied a chyron that JUST SAID we're in San Juan, I'm UN-impressed with the show's non-Hispanic privilege, and no, that Nina Garcia is a judge doesn't make it okay. As for the looks themselves, I admire Margarita's commitment, and the Versace feel some of the pieces have, but I hated the shorts in her second look -- we would have called this a shoplifting garment, back in the day -- and again, her pieces don't seem that difficult or designed, to me. I'm fine with her showing, but compared to how badly I wanted to reach through the screen and grab every single thing Ayana sent out? No contest.

I admit I let myself be manipulated by the footage of Margarita walking Tim around the beautiful, brightly painted neighbourhood that inspired her and I'm already choking up at what it looks like she'll be going through during Fashion Week as Hurricane Maria bears down. I appreciated that she made her collection bold and personal, and as soon as those pants walked I knew she was in for the finals because Heidi would totally wear them. As for Ayana's...more for you? I thought the slouchy joggers she sent out first for the preview were hot and well made and pushed the definition of what modest fashion can be, but the other was matronly, and I feel the flouncier spinach casserole-print dresses we've seen can go back to The Virgin Suicides without stopping in any retail stores.

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Oh, no argument that the Sevigny-in-Big Love frocks are too much Utah, so I guess we'll see how that goes for her. The pearl-grey jacket with the satin grey top under it, though? So into it. And I didn't really doubt she'd make it through; she's got something different to say to fashion design. I didn't really doubt Brandon, i.e. The Heir Strap-parent, would make it either, and that fabric is not for me, but the idea behind manipulating it is really cool and bold. But he was pushing his luck putting Liris in that shower cap of a top.

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ha! It's true, that Jiffy Pop situation deserved to burn, but I wish I'd paid closer attention through the season to keep track of whether anyone's ever gone home on a look Liris modeled, because I bet the answer is no. If Brandon picked that look on the basis of her ability to sell it, he's smarter than he looks. What about his "brother" Kentaro? I thought back at the Warrior Woman challenge that he might be getting sick of this, and the fact that his white '80s Au Coton ripoff was one of his preview looks feels like confirmation (though the deceptive ease of its peachy partner was striking).

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I think you might be right, just based on my sense that he was punking Tim with the story about burying a dead cat and then listening to the ground -- not to mention that Kentaro's inspiration story changed between the home visit and the runway. I kind of feel him that cohesion is a concept the judges and show are perhaps overinvested in, and that the inspirations are always either bullshittily abstract or bullshittily basic, so if he couldn't get it up for that hustle, I don't judge him. I would posit, though, that he genuinely doesn't care about winning and only wants to stay long enough to keep making clothes with his new friends. If true, it's as charming as the origami/pleated dress, IMO, but he's not going to win that way. That said, I'm glad he escaped the auf, because he was spot-on about Kenya's looks: there was nothing new there. I like her, but I wouldn't have worn anything she had in the workroom. It was ALL matronly.

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It really was, and I hate to say it because she seems like a nice, cool person and her family was so sweet! But she should not have gotten to this point. Her first preview look was pure Zbornak, and the fact that she sent her form-fitting black siren dress out under that gently camouflaging shawl-digan tells you everything she may not even know about her client: she's got a benefit at the hospital on Saturday, and she doesn't want to show her arms.

My notes about the black dress read, "The drunk MIL in Sixteen Candles," and I can't imagine that's what she was going for -- but it's so often where she ends up. Where do you think the season ends up? Do you agree that Brandon already has the win stashed under one of his 723 layers, or does Ayana catch him on the backstretch?

I don't think it's out of the question that Ayana wins; she has things to say in her work for which this show has never really been a platform before. I also wouldn't be shocked if there was an upset in Margarita's favour, given...the timing. The judges might be more primed on that particular day to support a collection that's so celebratory of Puerto Rico. Brandon has seemed like he's coasting to a win for the past entire season, but I am certain he's not going to show us anything at Fashion Week that he hasn't already sent out before.

["buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy night" joke]

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