Project Runway Season 12, Finale Part 1

Tonight is the final episode of Project Runway and I am just now getting up my Finale, Part 1 Recap! The remaining five designers are sent home with two guaranteed spots and three left to compete for one (or more) remaining spots. They are going to create 10 looks for spring and 1 must be made from “unconventional materials” with the stern warning that this means no fabric or fabric-like material.

I really enjoy watching Tim complete the home visits and I am eager to find out who will really compete at Fashion Week (since we know they all show, and then some).

Philadelphia with Dom

Dom has one of the “guaranteed spots” and has shown the most interesting voice in the competition to date in my opinion.

Tim meets her at the restaurant where she hostesses and comments that the mac looks sinful. We find out that Dom grew up with a single mom and watching mom get dressed-up to go out was a major fashion influence.

She’s designing a collection inspired by the movie, Blade Runner (AWESOME MOVIE). She says her collection will reflect this retro-futurism. She’s created some prints and is having the fabrics made. She has proofs but no final bolts and only a handful of designs completed. Tim suggests having all her fabrics made on knits and expresses concern about the amount of work she has left to complete.

LA with Bradon

Tim’s excited…and he knows what a crocus is. Okay, I can’t remember why I noted that but it amuses me so I am leaving it.

Bradon says he is going for springtime as a clash of nature and ice and sex and animal instinct. Better than just florals, florals, florals, I think.

The only sour note is his unconventional design, made of clothesline and painters plastic. Tim says it is heavy and “primary” and doesn’t match his light, icy collection.

We meet the fiance to whom Bradon proposed on camera. He was an opera student while Bradon was a dance student and I half expect them to break into a song and dance number.

San Matteo, CA with Alexandria

Alexandria is designing a “Neo Nomadic Punk” collection of mostly separates and has lots of options–over 30 pieces already.

Tim says, “This collection is you”–which could be a positive or a negative depending on your view of Alexandria’s aesthetic. She has lots of construction details.

Then we get a priceless visit with camp couture. Alexandria’s small students have made funny dolls of the contestants and Tim. Tim is actually getting choked up and even this cynic is touched.

Union City, NJ with Helen

Helen’s theme is clairvoyance. Taking the “sight” part literally, Helen snapped a picture of her boyfriend’s eye and turned it into a print. Helen seems to be banking on the primary pop of red in her collection. She is using a shower mat for unconventional material. Tim doesn’t dislike the collection, per se, but he warns her she needs something special to show the judges to grab that final spot in fashion week.

Raleigh, NC with Justin

Justin shares that he was an architect but leaned towards fashion. For his collection, he is inspired by sound waves and how he perceived them before and after his cochlear inplant. This is exactly the sort of conceptual framework that could elevate his collection–if he does not go too literal.

He shows Tim the 3D printing machine he is using for some of the accessories and it is fascinating. One accessory will take 108 hours to print! Interesting…but a bit gimmicky.

His unconventional material is test tubes–and I bet the judges have never seen anything like that before!


Back at the Refinery Hotel…

We have a brief interlude with a representative for Tide who says the designers will need to make “Washable Fashions” in easy to care for fabrics…but not until that final spot is determined. Not sure why that was shoehorned in here!

Tim comes to check on the three designers who are showing to try to secure a place in the final three. He reveals that he is patched up because fell down the subway stairs. I’m wondering if maybe the producers just inserted a mind control device to make Tim more manageable?

It is a scramble to get three looks on the models for the judges. So, Dom helps Helen and Justin gets help from Bradon…and Alexandria gets no help from anyone but still manages to get pants on her model.

It has been highlighted several times that Alexandria doesn’t really seem to have a “friend” in the competition and I wonder why that is. I guess she isn’t as extroverted but at least she doesn’t fake warmth she doesn’t feel. And she does seem to genuinely care about her camp couture kids.

Welll…let’s hit the Runway!

Alexandria von Bromssen

Her mini collection is, well, kinda plain. Don’t get me wrong, there are some high end materials and thoughtful details. I could easily see this collection in a boutique and her customer is crystal clear…but is this a runway show?

The second look sports the “unfinished back” Alexandria used several times on the challenges. I get that deconstructed is her thing but sometimes her raw edges get a bit tiresome. Also, the asymmetrical pant closures just look askew to me.

Heidi, who has championed her from the beginning, likes weird pant detail and the old fishook closures. She says it isfashion forward and cool. She loves the slouchy pants and wants it all.

Zac likes the luxe and says the detailing is professional and modern, including the hand in the pocket but says she needs a magic runway moment. Later, Zac adds that it is like she followed a checklist of what is cool and worries that everything Alexandria has to offer has been said before by earlier designers.

Nina knew it was Alexandria’s line immediately–which is good in the sense that Alexandria has a clear perspective but is worrisome because the first rule of Project Runway is “Don’t bore Nina!” Nina goes on to say, “these clothes look like anything.” There’s no “wow” and and she isn’t sure the clothes are show-worthy.

Helen Catillo

Helen also went too simple for the runway and her clothing is awkward in contrast with Alexandria’s more effortless style. When you go for architectural lines, everything has to be impeccable–and Helen’s collection is not.

Her print dress looks like a straight jacket–and the judges agree.

Nina likes minimal but feminine clothing and appreciates that Helen’s taste is modern but says the print dress looks tortured. She also dislikes the plastic belt on the red dress. Overall, she is surprised Helen’s collection is not more meticulous with the time and the high stakes.

Zac agrees that Helen “gets” the modern women but also adds that Helen’s concepts didn’t come to fruition.

Heidi compliments Helen on having been one of the more interesting designers in the competition but believes these designs just look sad.

They ask Helen to connect her clothing to her concept and Helen, confidence clearly shot at this point, mumbles something about clairvoyance and capes…mysterious capes?

Zac responds that it feels contrived. Nina comments on the braid chokers–it looks like Helen’s models are being hanged. Zac, perhaps sensing that the critique has taken a turn for the brutal, commends Helen for trying for big ideas.

Justin LeBlanc

Justin finally justifies Tim’s faith in him. It is not a perfect collection–there are some finishing details that could be better. Overall, though, the collection is interesting, innovative, varied yet coherent, and has plenty of that runway wow.

His first look is a silk pant suit with interesting window in back. The shape with the hair is giving me a little of a French Harlequin vice for some reason. This look represents the purity of Justin’s more complete deafness.

Justin’s second look represents the chaos he experienced when he first got his cochlear implant. He made the wise decision to add a paint treatment to the skirt. I like the use of the 3D printing in the belt, as well. I feel like he could have gone bigger with this look but still an impressive interpretation.

As the unconventional look walks, Heidi says “wow” out loud. It sure is noisy, though that fits with Justin’s theme. The 3D necklace is a bit of distraction but this dress works on so many levels — the material is transformed into a fringed gown, the noise works conceptually, and it is an all around impressive entry.

The judges like that the collection tells a story and Heidi is so happy Tim Gunn used his save. She says, “I had no idea it was you,” which is a back-handed compliment if there ever was one. She says it is fashion forward and the unconventional look is a hit but the hair has to go. Zac is concerned that the middle piece has too many elements but personally I think that is part of the concept. Nina finds it poetic and is not disturbed by the hair.

Justin is the clear and obvious winner so, instead of trying to milk that for tension, they announce him immediately.

So, now Alexandria and Helen are left standing on the runway. Clearly that means one of them is also in. Heidi has managed to insist on Alexandria remaining in the finals so only Helen is released back into the wilds of the fashion word, (literally) tweeting out her anger and bitterness to the world.

As Alexandria walks backstage, she says, “I’m in.” Dom, thinking of Helen, blurts out “Oh, no! I mean…yay…but…” I don’t think Dom meant to be hurtful but…ouch.

So, who will take home the prize tonight?

Last episode of Project Runway Season 12 is tonight on Lifetime, 9/8c!

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One comment

  1. Linda Rand says:

    So looking forward to the finale of Project Runway. I am keeping my fingers crossed for Dom!!