Our incredibly unscientific odds-making methods include weighing the snippets of finished outfits and works-in-progress that we saw in last week’s episode; combing through the photo galleries of Laura, Michael, Jeffrey, and Uli’s respective runway shows; and using our finely honed psychic abilities to read Michael Kors’s mind. (Oh, he’s not going to send us any dresses, but he does like your hair like that. So good job, you).
So what odds are we giving?
Uli Herzner: 2-1. Her dresses are always immaculately made, but there are times when Uli’s flowing, splashy prints veer a tiny bit too far in the Chico’s direction — you know, loud, billowy, perfect for commercials in which sneering women lean against a tree and stare out at the ocean. Indeed, the judges were similarly impatient with pattern after beachy pattern, each rendered in a similar halter style. So, our joy at seeing Uli turn to solid fabrics, especially in some pieces we’d actually like to wear, is really what vaults her to the head of the pack. Uli’s experiment was both smart and cohesive: That surprising metallic-silver material, which lent itself to two dresses and some well-draped tops, also appears along the necklines of her more familiar flowing pieces.
Jeffrey Sebelia: 5-1. Photos prove he made it to the Bryant Park tent, but the question is, was it just as a decoy? In this season of delicious rule-breaking scandals, it would be tremendous stupidity to think you can duck Tim Gunn’s eagle eye; we’re going to give Jeffrey more credit than that and assume his intriguing collection wasn’t disqualified, because underneath our crotchety tar-hearted demeanors, we are actually big softies. (Also, we had some bonus Diet Cokes today and the world just looks rosier.) And the fact is, he’s talented. Jeffrey poured an interesting mix of punk and romanticism into his clothes, and with a few exceptions — including a vaguely pornographic slit in one gown — everything tied together well without being boring or one-note. Let’s just hope it wasn’t all for naught.
Laura Bennett: 10-1. While we freely admit to wanting to be Laura Bennett when we grow up (the fantastic cocktail dresses! the huge apartment! the vintage Louis Vuitton suitcases!), we were somewhat disappointed in her line. Although Tim Gunn and the judges have been consistently concerned about Laura’s designs appearing too old, we sort of wish she’d gone balls to the wall with her own cleavage-and-jodhpurs aesthetic, because her attempt to go younger seems to have led to a slightly awkward-looking collection, like the Project Runway equivalent of Oscar de la Renta designing a line of juniors clothing. Also: seriously, formal sequined shorts? That’s not the Laura Bennett we know.
Michael Knight: 25-1. If you’d asked us six weeks ago, we would have told you to put money on Michael Knight taking this whole thing home. His thoughtful, well-put-together pieces were consistently some of the best in show. But then he hit a plateau. And now, this: his final collection, which managed to be both underwhelming (what happened to the kid who made white seersucker cargo pants?) and overwhelming (how many different fabrics can he use in one show?). Instead of playing to his considerable strengths and producing a line of sharply tailored, classy, creative sportswear, when it came time to bring out the big guns, he went for “sexy,” which we’ve already seen him fail to produce successfully. And unfortunately, he struck out again. His hemlines were too high, his fabrics and colors were too loud, and, frankly, the whole thing was a little bit tacky. Even worse, it felt tacky in a derivative way: like baby Baby Phat.
— The Fug Girls