It was a kinder, gentler Project Runway as the 13 remaining designers created dressy dresses celebrating Campbell’s (as in the soup) "Address Your Heart" program to be worn by real women who have been impacted by heart disease, to the Red Heart gala at Fashion Week.
Frocks needed to incorporate the color red, and if the designers chose, could include Campbell’s logoed fabric.
It should be noted that real women, in TV-talk, means not models, and these women came in all shapes and sizes. While most of the designers embraced the stories and souls of their models despite their figures, Jesus Estrada was happy about one thing only: his model was tiny. And trust us, she could have looked good in a dress, but not this one.
On another night Michael Kors would have been much, much meaner, but the fact that these were regular gals up on the runway, and heart patients to boot, made all the judges a bit softer. Kors said Jesus’ dress was a “checklist of everything that could turn tacky...put into one dress.” The short shiny number with Campbell’s fabric stitched up the side, featured dated rhinestone straps, prompting guest judge Georgina Chapman of Marchesa (stunning by the way) to say, “The eye doesn’t know where to go.” Nina Garcia pointed out, “Less is more. It’s very cliché.” And finally Kors summed it up, “He knows how to make clothes, but taste is something you just can’t learn.”
Auf Wiedersehen, Jesus. Though you seemed earnest, well, to steal a phrase from Tim Gunn, your 90’s Vegas vibe, “had us worried.” And sorry to be preachy, but beauty is more than size 2 deep.
This was evidenced by winner Amy Sarabi’s strapless chiffon gown with frayed seams and a thin Campbell's belt. Its layered hem moved like a dream on the runway. Her model, not a petite woman, looked beautiful. The judges said it was elegant without being old-fashioned. We expect we will see Amy at the finale. Her work has been consistently good and extremely well constructed.
An unexpected theme of the night? Sweetness. This show has always thrived on conflict, but tonight, the designers were truly touched by these women and really tried to make them happy. Jay Nicolas Sario broke down sobbing after his darling model told him about her life…and she comforted him like such a mom. And Anthony Williams got weepy talking to his model too.
Oh yes, and back to the finale, we are going next week, after just five weeks into the show. Likely, producers will not identify which designer did what, but we have a feeling we’ll be able to pick out Amy.
Amy Sarabi's winning dress
Jesus Estrada's losing dress