"Project Runway" season 10's top eight designers showed their collections at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Friday morning at Lincoln Center.
"It's our anniversary season," an excited Nina Garcia told Newsday. "We've gone back and thrown in some challenges we've done in the past . . . it's sentimental, but fun also."
Actress and singer Jennifer Hudson played the role of guest judge in a green pantsuit and gold belt beside host Heidi Klum, who showed off her figure in a backless gold sequin gown. Designer and judge Michael Kors was sleek in all black and his signature aviator shades.
The first to show was Gunnar Deatheredge, who said he was inspired by aboriginal tribes. His collection featured lots of texture, with woven fabrics and leather, a color palate of browns, burnt oranges and golds, and, of course, African-inspired prints. The styling was done literally, with touches of tribal face paint and rugged up-dos.
Elena Slivnyak was next, with a modern collection that fiercely contrasted the one before it. Slivnyak is known on the show for her hatred for all things cute and girlie. Her look was futuristic with an edge-- models wore cold blue and yellow lipstick with shift dresses, structured jackets and tights that matched their skirts. In an interesting turn of events, the ice queen took a sweet moment to thank her mom on stage.
Ven Budhu, who made a plus-sized client cry in a recent episode after not even remotely trying to hide his disdain at having to dress a "regular woman", was much more comfortable with his Fashion Week models. He used his signature roselike texture detailing on his gowns, showing an array of red, black and off-white eveningwear that also included embellished pants. Someone's dying for a client at the Oscars.
Sonjia Williams took the biggest risks, with her first model coming out in a black cutout bodysuit, completely sheer lace pants and a large headwrap. Her other looks included dramatically wrapped maxi-skirts that would look great in a magazine shoot but wouldn't be very functional for real life, cropped blazers in unconventional shapes and textured leather.
Massapequa's Christopher Palu said his collection was about "deconstruction and reconstruction", and he used the shredding technique that has gotten him far already this season. He also pieced together lots of leather to add layering to his looks.
"The inspiration for my collection is the photographer Vera Mercer," said designer Melissa Fleis. "It focuses on a new exploration of death to life that I think is very fitting for spring."
Fleis continued her way of using high collars to add drama to her pieces, mixing flattering but simple dresses with more standout pieces that used texture and cutout details. Retro hairstyles and red lips added a classic touch to the modern styles.
Fabio Costa called his collection "cosmic tribalism", with a mix of off-whites, light blues and pinks on draped, flowing fabrics. Blunt silver collar necklaces added contrast to the soft styles.
Dmitry Sholokhov ended the show with a collection inspired by architecture, with strong lines and structured shapes for a balance between tough and glamorous.
Fans need not worry, the 10th season of "Project Runway" won't be the last, according to Klum.
"It's not the end of it," she said. "No rumors-- we will keep going."