In a last night's stunning decision, "Project Runway" judges (including guest Faith Hill) dubbed Seth Aaron Henderson, 37, of Vancouver, Wash., "in" and aufed monster competitors Emilio Sosa (the judges’ fave the whole season) and perfectionist Mila Hermanovski.
It is really a bit of a shocker, though in February, when they put on the "Project Runway" finale show at Bryant Park that included seven other competitors who served as designer decoys, we wrote, “The showmanship award should go to Seth Aaron Henderson...”
And that’s exactly why he won it.
When Heidi Klum broke the news and announced he was the winner of all that good stuff (a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine, a chance to sell his wares on bluefly.com, a $50,000 technology suite from HP and $100, 000 from L’Oreal Paris to start a fashion biz), she said, “You do know how to put on a show.”
In essence, Seth’s dramatic styling (“Very editorial,” said Nina Garcia) including dark eyes and strong red lips, well-crafted clothes with a 40’s point of view, showed, said Michael Kors, “More guts in a way. Seth was more fearless.”
True, Mila’s mostly black and white collection was cool. “You killed that girl in the cage doing the Frug,” said Kors referring to her undoing of the '60s cliché with great, revamped rocker hair and makeup. But it was all directionally same-old, same-old Mila, though we think she can be commercially successful and we’d wear her stuff in a heartbeat.
Perhaps it was Emilio’s ego that foiled him. During his home visit, Tim Gunn virtually begged him to amp up his collection, but Emilio was a bit arrogant and refused. In fact, it was its safeness and saleability that took him down. Don’t get us wrong, this was a very good collection, and as Kors said, Emilio could, “Roll that rack into any fab store right now.” And his finale gown of gold was knock-your-socks-off. But that said, the clothes were more classic than innovative and honestly, seemed as though he stole a page from the Bill Blass playbook. (Not a bad thing.)
He was not a gracious loser (Mila is). He weeps and quotes aufed contestant Anthony Williams, saying, “You don’t have to have the crown to be the king. Emilio Sosa will be a world brand.” It’s very possible. He is quite talented.
Which brings us back to Seth, who when he first walked into the space at Bryant Park, laid down on the runway and did the equivalent of a snow angel -- lots of enthusiasm -- even his wacky hair was standing up higher than usual. And when he wins it, well, his kids and wife join him on the runway and they are beaming – it’s all sweet stuff.
While we called Seth’s strong runway impact back in February, we also projected that Jay Nicolas Sario would be a finalist, perhaps because he almost was and his collection was super. And we wonder if Jay had made the finale, would Seth have won it? We’ll ponder that until next season.