'But Was It Really the Worst Season Ever?': A Project Runway FAQ


Project Runway's sixth season could've been a preventative measure -- a way to steer the show's pinstriped waterskis away from a massive, Bunim-Murray-edited shark jump. Instead, this season not only jumped the shark but found time to turn the shark into pendants for the Macy's Accessory Wall, which also looked dead this season. Did anyone ever use that charmeuse albatross? After the jump, we inspect the seasons ups and downs (and the 85%-sure winner of tonight's finale) with a smattering of questions.

Was it really the worst season?

Having seen every Project Runway episode at least twice, I valiantly proclaim: Oh, Jesus, yes. It's not like the fifth season kicked out the jams either, but Runway's first go-around on Lifetime lacked in drama, memorable designs, reliable judges, and color. Literal color. Remember when they were instructed to make something blue? That was a cinematographer's S.O.S.


Are the final three the best candidates?

Irina, Althea, and Carol Hannah produced enough passable material to deserve at least Top 5 recognition -- but to end this Weinstein-pimpslapped drudgery on a fun finale, I'd have preferred Irina, Shirin, and Epperson. Shirin could've annoyed Epperson, Epperson could've given 300 confessionals about how Shirin is "one of those talkers," and Irina could've sat at the front table and started rumors about Shirin making out with a hot dog.

How was the judging?

Dry. Compared to the legendary bon mots of prior seasons (my personal favorite is Michael Kors's appraisal of Raymundo Balthazar's "Barbie" dress: "It looks like barefoot Appalachian L'il Abner Barbie"), this season's frequent substitute judges rarely compensated. Remember when Zoe Glassner announced, with the pride of knowing wit dancing in her eyes, "It looks like... a snoozefest!" Oh, Zoe. That's when the shark started ducking so Project Runway could just right trip over it.

But Tim. Tim we liked. Right?

Tim certainly understood that the lack of psychological warfare in the workroom required quick shit-churning. In between rounds of cawing "Make it work" like a Bravo gift-shop cuckoo clock, he managed to call Shirin's design for Christina Aguilera "Guinevere meets Vampyra" and Johnny's newspaper look "a craft project gone awry -- like the birds attacked the dress." Stellar.

So. Who's going to win?

Judging by the final designs, I am 85% sure (no exaggeration) the winner is Irina. You can view them here and see for yourself. Irina's sleek sweaters and penchant for volume may not electrify the industry, but it's enough to blow the beige-and-gray mentalities of Carol Hannah and Althea clear out of Bryant Park.

If Irina wins, would she be the worst winner in the show's history?

That would only seem apropos, right? Honestly, I don't know. Chloe of season two was admirable (even stunning) with construction, but she often settled for simple shapes and traditional prints. Jeffrey from season three was pretty sloppy. Jay McCarroll (season one), Christian (season four), and Leanne Marshall (season five) trump Irina, to be sure, but Irina would have fared well in any season. Let's not forget that Angela Keslar got sixth in season three, Sweet P earned fifth in season four, and Suede (SUEDE!) won fifth place in season five. And those people were boring, to boot. Irina would've toppled their unscrubbed proletariat hides every time.