Project Runway Show: Strong Collections, Weak Spectacle

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Photo: Getty Images

Even with all the cutbacks and trimming down this week, it was hard to find a sorrier spectacle than this morning's Project Runway show. Heidi Klum started off once again expressing how sad she was that the designers couldn't come out to get their moment of recognition. And instead of having several decoy designers mixed in, only the three finalists showed collections, since, with the show not airing, there were no spoilers to prevent.

The parade of clothes included two rocker-type collections heavy on black and knitwear, and one collection of the kind of jewel-tone, girlie, draped-silk charmeuse dresses young starlets wear to Target store openings. The final rocker-wear designer showed shades of Alexander Wang with lots of black mixed with intricate knits; the designer also seemed on point with the season, presenting a lot of textured tight pants and leggings.

John Varvatos, sitting in the front row with Mark Bouwer, was pleased. "I watch the show. I'm a fan," he said. "I thought it was very intriguing to take away the personality factor. Here you're judging the clothes for what they are. You're not judging on whether you thought that guy was a drama queen or this girl did that." He liked the mysterious third designer. "I thought the knitwear in the last group was incredible. The amount of intricate work in that — that's cut-and-sewing, that was all done by hand. That was all hand-knit."

Season-four winner Christian Siriano thought the collections were strong, particularly both rocker-wear collections. But he couldn't stop thinking about the poor, unknown finalists. "Oh, it's horrible," he said. "It's the worst thing in the world. Because this is the end and it isn't as fun and exciting. I mean, who even knows if their families are here! And that's tough, because we got to have our friends and families." Siriano thought that maybe the lack of fanfare had led to a show that, like Marc Jacobs, was more about the industry. "This is real," he conceded. "You don't normally get to have all your friends and family, and you don't normally get to walk out before your show and say something." Still, he couldn't help dwelling on one thing. "You just don't get your bow. Which is tragic."

Watch a slideshow of the first contestant's collection.
Watch a slideshow of the second contestant's collection.
Watch a slideshow of the third contestant's collection.