Project Runway Finale Recap: The Winner Is...

project runway season 10 final 4Spoiler Alert: If you have yet to watch the Project Runway Season 10 finale, please do not proceed. For everyone else, let’s dish what just went down, shall we?

Ever since the Gretchentastrophe of Project Runway‘s eighth season, a certain sense of dread has surrounded the edicts set down by the show’s judges.

With their taste level in serious question, it can sometimes be hard to quell the concern that Nina Garcia and Michael Kors will steamroll Heidi Klum into rewarding some silly emperor for slipping off his robe — and those of his models — before they come down the catwalk.

PHOTOS | Project Runway: 17 Best Designs of Season 10

That feeling certainly was alive and well when, last week, the Season 10 Top 4 showed off three looks from their Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week collections, and Fabio received copious praise for concocting what appeared to this commoner’s eye to be a saggy pastiche of pastel tie-dyed sports bras and housedresses, topped off with plasti-craft accessories from the early ’80s. Yeah, the guy has an unbelievably sweet personality, and his looks were different, but using the severed neck and head of a mangy emu as a macabre scarf would be different, too. (Cue Nina cooing, “that sounds very editorial!”)

The first hour of Part 2 of the Season 1o finale, however, felt less like a setup for a Fabio victory and more like a way to convince us that young and exuberant Christopher had earned the top slot by the sheer force of his exhaustive work ethic. With puffy pink lids and bags under his eyes that were deeper than La Kors’ reserves of sarcasm, Christopher was quite literally the face of everything the Project Runway brand tends to value: Youth, ingenuity, the willingness to die on camera in an effort to “make it work.”

Once the judges got involved, however, it appeared as though the tide was turning back toward the very sweet guy whose color palette was inspired by Jordan Almonds (as MK noted) and whose silhouettes turned every woman into a shapeless sack. Whereas I saw a Dmitry-vs.-Christopher showdown, the judges were all about Fabio-vs.-Dmitry. Why the face?

Before we get to the results, here’s my quick take on the Top 4’s final 10-piece collections:

Christopher: The season-long front-runner definitely turned up the volume from last week’s muted, barely dressed debacle. That final gown, with its gradiations from mauve down to purple-black, was ribbony perfection, while his blue tench coat was a structured triumph. And while I loathed the opening leather skirt with a full left thigh on display (why did the judges go bananas for it?), the accompanying maroon “distressed fabric strips” blouse was as flawless as it was delicate. On the negative side, that “mom’s back x-ray” print looked a wee bit too phallic down the front of some models’ skirts. Yikes!

Melissa: No doubt the blood-orange leather dress with the exaggerated scrunchy collar was the biggest show-stopper of the final episode, but as a whole, her black-and-white garments lacked a sense of innovation and surprise. Sure, the white leather jacket with cray-cray collar was a winner that most women would kill to have, but that look was negated by other garments — the sad mesh shorts, the weird leather bathing suit, and the basic (but chic) obsidian dress. Nevertheless, while the judges panned the white, floor-length gown that left her model struggling to take even the most teensy of baby steps — what a slow and painful stroll that was! – I had to agree with guest judge Jennifer Hudson that, at least standing still, the look was hot.

Dmitry: Holy cohesiveness, Batman! Last week’s patterned jacket with leather fringed sleeves (paired with hip genie pants) was joined by its even more glamourous cousin, a gorgeous fitted cocktail dress with a sheer paneled center and fringe-bottomed skirt. I also adored the metallic draped dress, the feathery bottomed gown with fitted sequined bodice (a wee bit remniscent of Dmitry’s ballroom past, without going tacky) and that black cocktail dress with a fan-paneled bodice that made its way to the final runway judgment. There wasn’t really a weak link in the entire chain, and aside from those wonky eyebrows on his models, everything was finished with the precision of an ’80s-era Soviet gymnastics routine. To quote J.Hud, “It’s rich, honey, it is. It’s everything.” To my eyes, Dmitry dominated the season from the candy-store challenge all the way through the finale, and his final collection was no exception. Bravo!

Fabio: The last-minute striped shorts and skirt were pretty enough, but ultimately nothing you couldn’t get at Ann Taylor, no? And while that white organza top added a little more sophistication to the collection, I can’t sit here and pretend that I really understood what had the judges so in rapture. Very few of Fabio’s garments seemed to find beauty in the female form — unless beauty is defined by making everyone look like they’re smuggling a few dozen potatoes in their garments. When Heidi (whom I consider the Project Runway voice of reason) said she “loved, loved, loved it” and Michael started to translate it to something that could work with a wet-haired gal at the beach, I began a deep and unadulterated panic that lasted until the final results.

And speaking of results…

Eliminated first: Christopher
Eliminated second: Melissa
[At this point, Christopher declared he'd be really upset if Fabio didn't win. Again, what am I missing?]
Runner-up: Fabio
Winner: Dmitry

I don’t know about all of you, but I’m popping open the champagne. As Dmitry noted when Tim Gunn showed up with an impromtu toast in the workroom the night before the runway show: “Aww, alcohol.”

And with that, I turn it over to you. Were you happy with Dmitry’s win? What did you think of his final collection? And if you didn’t think his was best, who would you have named the Season 10 winner? What about Heidi’s va-va-va-¡whoa! runway day dress? Express yourself thoughtfully in the comments section!

And if you want an immediate heads-up on when my Q&A with Dmitry will post on TVLine, sign up to follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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91 Comments
  1. Michelle B says:

    I honestly thought it would be between Dmitry and Christopher. Melissa had a few garments that were good, but all I kept seeing was the same blue dress she did for the marie claire challenge. Fabio’s clothes were mostly horrible; he had a couple of things here and there but it looked like he was trying too hard to be tribal… With Christopher, I loved it all. The judges were like “play your strength, do romantic” but if he would have done it again, he would have gotten criticized for doing the same things. I will never get Nina Garcia, honestly. Nevertheless, I thought Dmitry’s win was very deserving, considering only the collection made. If we would’ve examined the whole season, I don’ t know how to pick from Dmitry and Christopher. But I’m really angry that they decided to give Christopher a 4th place and decide that Fabio was 2nd place! I really thought it would be Gretchen all over again. Oh well, just make sure to bring Christopher to All Stars. Dmitry was one of my favorites from the start, so i’m thrilled that he won! Who could resist that accent with his remarks? He doesn’t realize how funny he is. So congrats Dmitry!!

  2. Miss O'Ginny says:

    Just saw the first episode of the new season of PR Australia and they told the designers that there will be no immunity and that anyone who wins 3 or more challenges would automatically be sent into the finale…..anyone think this would work Stateside?

    • Sookie says:

      They would have to do only single challenges because it would be unfair when one member of a team does not pull their weight or is over run by the other designer and it keeps them out of the finale. Unless what you are saying is that the designers who are able to make it to the finals without 3 wins would compete with that 1 designer who had a bad design yet won 3 other challenges. That might have meant that Ven would have been in the finale. I can’t remember if he had 3 wins. I know he had at least 2.

  3. Ana says:

    YES!! Yes!!! He was the best all the way. And as Michael Kors said, He was also a gentleman.

  4. Pepper says:

    So glad Dimitri won! I too just kept thinking, please God, let them get it right this year! He totally deserved to win this. And he was a gentleman all the way. And totally didn’t get all the gaga from the judges over Fabio’s showing. Pretty yes, but worthy of winning? (Heck, even having them in a fashion show at all?) Not at all. I did like Melissa’s looks. She’s good and I like her style. And Christopher? What a petulant, whiny having-a-nervous-breakdown child he became in the end. The pressure obviously broke him.

  5. DeeKayTee says:

    I adored Fabio’s collection! Dmitry’s was great too but, in my opinio Fabio’s was much more innovative and fresh but if one doesn’t “get it” I could see where you may be left a little confused as to why everyone else is swooning over it. I could definitely see Fabio having a place in future MBFW showcases. Dmitry as well, but they are just two totally different fashion categories and it all depends upon the viewers preference.

  6. KarenD says:

    I never cared for Dmitry’s personality, but I agree that his collection deserved the win. There were individual outfits I didn’t like, but the collection as a whole exhibited a cohesion & polish I didn’t see in the others.

    What I really want to see from Fabio is a menswear collection based on the stuff *he* wears–kilts and skirts, with appropriate shirts, vests, boots, etc. That would actually be interesting.

  7. Claire says:

    I loved Fabio’s collection the best. During the season, I really loved many of Christopher’s designs and expected he was most likely to win the whole shebang. But he’s young and while innovative on a garment by garment basis, he missed the mark on producing a cohesive collection–the judges were right about that–despite several of his garments sharing his print from the xray. Melissa’s strong point is definitely her work with leather, but still I think she stole a place in the final four which should have belonged to Sanjia. I was most impressed with Fabio’s final collection as being the most fashion forward, most unusual and prettiest, even though “pretty” seems to be a dirty word for a lot of today’s fashion cynics. I suspect it will prove that he was ahead of his time with the collection, which is why it’s proving so controversial. But I liked Dmitry’s collection almost as much and, as I feel he has been much more consistent over the run of the show that late-bloomer Fabio, I have no problem with his win. One thing I liked was that among the finalists there seemed to be nobody with a grating or pompous personality. They all seemed to be genuinely nice people.

  8. FBI Surveillance Van says:

    It’s not that hard to understand, people. Fabio is trying something new. If you think it’s ugly, that’s fine, but it’s a matter of context; how do you react to something totally new, with no real reference point? To me, Dimitri’s collection had a tried, true and boring refernece point. It looked like a runway show in Second Life. A garish, eastern european wet dream. I think Fabio deserved to win based solely on making a new, weird look inviting (again, even if you think ugly).

    • D says:

      Agreed. I consider myself to be open-minded but last week I didn’t like the glimpses that we got of Fabio’s stuff. By this week, I was strongly pulling for Fabio to win, as much as I liked Dmitry during the season. Fabio really took direction well and upped the appearance of his garments. The still photos online look absolutely beautiful, and I can barely even wear pastels! It was all very cohesive and just plain interesting. Even if I mightn’t wear most of his stuff, he gets props from me for his creative vision. Hope he goes far. Also, he was the only one besides Elena that Tom and Lorenzo praised.

    • I could understand and support this perspective if Fabio had the skill to back up his “concept”. I hated the concept but the cut and drape were so shoddily done that even if I’d loved the concept I still wouldn’t have wanted a single thing that walked down his runway. Being conceptual doesn’t mean you get to have sloppy construction. I almost felt like he hid his lack of sewing ability behind his “idea”

  9. Sookie says:

    Well I know I am not a fahion experts. I have no idea what the term “fashion forward” is supposed to mean. I truly did not see how Fabios collection was anything that hasn’t been seen before. Long flowing tunic tops with hatler tops and or leggings. Actually seemed pretty 80’s to me. And the “coat” that Heidi was drooling over looked like one of my nylon robes. Maybe it looked more ‘expensive” in person. Obvioulsy Fabio made an impression so I hope he becomes very successful.

  10. Damon says:

    so happy that dimitri won. joanna coles choosing him made me confident that he would win but still got nervous during the panel. and now that i’ve seen the whole season, gunnar turned out to be a much better person than that whiny brat christopher.

  11. JTurner says:

    I have a couple of those tied-dyed sports bras from Target. Seriously. That was all I could think of.

  12. teatime says:

    Fabio’s collection looked like what I wear around the house on a Sunday. Then if I need to run an errand where I will have to go thru a drive-thru, I dress up first because I am not really wearing something for public consumption.
    Fabio’s collection stood out because it was not predominantly black. But that does not really make it a “breath of fresh air.” The other collections all had several much better pieces than anything in his collection.

  13. Tim says:

    Well-deserved win. Dmitry’s stuff has always looked more sophisticated and stunning than the others, to me anyway.

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