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The Designers Strut All Their Stuff At Fashion Week In Project Runway's Season 15 Finale

Another season wraps, but how satisfying is the victor's 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

I can't say the judges' decision to crown Erin the winner surprised me -- or that I agreed with it, but we'll get into that a bit later -- but the Season 15 finale did have a number of surprises in it, starting with the lack of a "design a last-minute eleventh look" "surprise" element. I guess they figured with most of the final four going back to Mood to revamp their lines after getting shredded last week, it was superfluous.

I have to give producers credit, because it wasn't until my second time watching the collections walk that I realized this finale staple had been removed (sorry) for Season 15. As for Erin's victory: eh. As you said last week, we all saw this coming from about the first third of the season, and she won't be the most undeserving winner in the show's history. In terms of her final collection: she helped herself by actually styling her looks; other than Rik and his girls' weird sunglasses...

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...none of the designers really seemed like they did. Erin's purses were corny...

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...but each model did look to me like Erin had given some thought to the head-to-toe impression they were going to make. Still, I thought her own runway look was cuter than any of the ones that walked in her show.

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Because it wasn't quite so affected, which everything in her collection pretty much was, starting with that adolescent uptalky intro she did. Everything's so pointed -- the totebags, the glasses, the normcore silhouettes that aren't flattering. I will agree with Nina Garcia that Erin's stuff does look expensive, and I really liked a few of the prints she used, but at the same time I have to wonder if the prints weren't doing the bulk of the work for her. That metal floral fabric is fantastic, but then the dress is...a triangle, basically.

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I don't know. I don't hate the win, but I don't love that it rewards the designer's personal "cool-girl"-ness, and we've seen most of the silhouettes before.

Oh, is that what we're calling trapezoids now?

Fine: it looked like she'd tried to hem a trombone. With stickers on it.

If we're talking hideous silhouettes, though, we're talking Laurence. There was no way we could have expected her to cut that shapeless romper from last week's preview...

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...when her first win of the season was for a shapeless flight suit, but man, was her collection boring, drab, and depressing. Stay true to your aesthetic and your vision, I guess, but sell your shit in a store at the end of the mall by the vitamin store so I never have any reason to see it again.

That was one of the surprises I referred to earlier -- that she shat the bed (almost literally, palette-wise) instead of taking Erin ten rounds or even winning. I guess I knew after the home visits that it wasn't happening for Laurence, but that the whole thing was so consistently unflattering, boring, or already available at Ann Taylor Loft's outlet store was unexpected, and not in a good way. You know how almost every female bird is an unassuming brownish-grey? This was the NYFW equivalent of that.

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At the other end of the spectrum: Rik. You liked his denim concept after the preview last week: did you agree with Zac that it needed more Dolly flavour to work?

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I was happy for Rik that he made such a comeback; I didn't get some of it (the pleather booty shorts with the moto vest, for one)...

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...but I liked the styling, and I was a little surprised they eliminated him first when he has to have finished ahead of Laurence scores-wise. Maybe it's a model-warrior respect thing on Heidi's part?

But I get why it didn't win. It's a bit junior. When every look is something I'm too "ma-tour" to wear anymore, it's hard to keep caring. Did you like his updated line at all?

I thought it was okay. I liked the pleather looks better than that black and white newspaper-ish print that kept recurring, though I did admire that he used it for the swimsuit he threw in the mix; we know from past episodes that those are hard to make, and it broke things up with a little fun (and a LOT of model leg -- rarely a bad call).

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But you're right, it's very young for me even to imagine wearing myself; it all kind of looked like Katy Perry backup dancers. Which is fine? But not in this context.

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Hey, Björk backup-dancer looks won the thing.

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What do we know. (hee.)

...Well, I guess that leaves us with the collection I thought should have won: Roberi's. I loved the contrasts, I loved how forward but also wearable everything was, I loooooved that mutton-sleeve dress and the green coat, and you could mix or match a lot of the pieces. Even the random red shoes worked for me. It was kind of '80s but not dated, and most importantly, it represented the culmination of a growth in his design thought process over the course of the season. It seemed like a next step; Erin's felt like more of the same.

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You know I've been stanning for Roberi all season, so I agree with everything you just said: the collection showed his growth and versatility and was fresh, surprising, and wearable. If we agree with Tim that the fundamentals of style are how you play with silhouette, proportion, and fit -- and I think we do -- then each one of Roberi's looks was an expression of that mission statement. He really was robbed, Sarah!

Well, how did you feel about the season overall? I agree with you that the show itself does not do a great job defining its terms, but I was more engaged with it than I've been in several years this time around, for whatever reason.

I was too, actually. There was enough good design and a minimum of stupid personal drama to keep me interested, and any finale that ends with a shrug rather than outrage is, I suppose, a KIND of success.

Your fellow Gretchen truther over here will take it.

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