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Project Runway Canada- The Finale part 2

April 16, 2009

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The End of the End

The second part of the season finale to Project Runway Canada starts off exactly where we left off last week with Brian is in the workroom interrogating Jason’s creative input in the dress for Cheryl Hickey. It’s an uncomfortable and embarrassing moment for Jason whose work is possibly plagiarism, and for Brandon because he outed the news to Brian at the fabric shop.

Brian, to Jason: “Brandon was concerned that you were going with one of his dresses from the lookbook. That can’t happen.”

Jason: “We’ve all made bubble dresses. It’s the bottom of a dress where I knew he was experienced in and with the time constraints and using Brandon properly and diligently then I think it’s a really good move.”

Brian, to Brandon: “Does it look like your dress remotely?”

Brandon: “Uh no. No.”

You can tell that Brandon is really uncomfortable here and totally back-tracking. Brian backs off and says that he’s satisfied with these answers and while we occasionally catch a glimpse of Kim eavesdropping with glee in the background, we can’t help but wonder just how different this new dress will be. After all, the bottom of the dress is the only innovative part of it; the top is a one-shouldered piece- not exactly what you’d call fresh design.

The stakes are high and the designers are working hard to finish their garments and get them ready for the runway. Jessica and Sunny are excited, working on their garments. We hear from Sunny again that this collection is his last shot as a fashion designer.

Sunny: “If I don’t win, I will call it quits with fashion.”

And again, at the end of the last day before the show at Fashion Week,

Sunny: “I want my comeback. I mean if Britney can, so can I!”

Sunny is the favoured designer in this competition and to hear him repeat these words shows the tremendous challenges facing young designers. No matter what happens when the winner is announced, Sunny most certainly has

a larger fan group in Canada than he did at the launch of his label, Vawk, and I would be surprised if he wasn’t picked up by another design house if not personally endorsed to produce his own work. Besides, we could handle a Britney of our own, couldn’t we?

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Back in the workroom, Brian arrives with an announcement about the business opportunity with Winners. Brian tells the designers that they will each be giving a presentation to Winners the next day. The presentation is about their collection and the designers are expected to cover three specific points:

1. Knowing your brand

2. Knowing your retail price point

3. Telling them who is the target customer

Jessica: “Brian needs to stop being the bearer of ridiculous news.”

I completely agree. Don’t these designers have enough to do without having to put together a presentation for Winners-? This seems a little richer than just throwing an additional challenge in the mix, although it’s probably a good opportunity for them to discuss their line with a major retailer.

Last Day Before Fashion Week: The Winners Presentations

The Winners Presentations

The Winners Presentations

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Jessica describes her collection as “ready-to-wear, high-end. The customer is 25-45 who is fashion forward and fashion adventurous.”

Winners comments: the luxury market is small and the 25 year-old doesn’t have the money to afford it.

I can’t help but agree with Winners on this one; other than celebrities, there aren’t too many 25 year-olds running around in high-end fashion unless it’s their moms buying it for them. Her collection doesn’t really seem to fit the Winners’ racks and I don’t think that anyone would argue that that was Jessica’s intent. Clearly she understands Winners; she did, after all, win the Winners challenge.

"I didn't want to leave anyone out."

"I didn't want to leave anyone out."

Jason’s turn is next and he describes “the Jason Meyers woman is 20 to 60. I didn’t want to leave anyone out.”

Winners comments: “I don’t see this on a 20 year-old. I see this on a 30 year-old plus.”

Again, I think Winners said what we were all thinking. When Jason said that “the Jason Meyers woman is 20 to 60″ one of the Winners’ ladies made a sour expression with her face and I thought, that doesn’t look good. Apparently, neither did she.

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Sunny’s collection barely seemed to get evaluated, although that could be the production of the TV show. We see him quote the price point of his show-stopping fur-trimmed coat: “$1,975.00.”

Winners comments: (Long silence.) “Okay. It’s couture.”

Off-camera, Sunny defends his price saying that he doesn’t want ‘to get lost’ among other designers doing fashion basics. That’s understandable, but for a new designer to try to sell pieces at that price may be a very narrow slice of the market that isn’t yet reachable. For that price, you could wear other big name masters in design from France, Italy, England, New York. Now that’s competition.

The Cheryl Hickey Fitting

Cheryl arrives for her fitting with the designers and takes a look at Sunny’s dress. Brian had cautioned him about the colour of the dress being  perhaps to bridal and Sunny worked hard to try to make it more interesting.

Chery’s opinion of Sunny’s dress: “It’s a beautiful dress.”

Next is Jason’s, to which she exclaims: “How much fun is that!? Beautiful!”

Cheryl’s really interested in Jason’s work and she looks really happy wearing the dress. It’s clearly her favourite so far. The best part: Cheryl coos, “I love the skirt. It’s so interesting!”

Cheryl Hickey: "I love the skirt. It's so interesting!"

Cheryl Hickey: "I love the skirt. It's so interesting!"

The camera instantly pans to Brandon, who’s just sitting by and watching, expression-less. I really wonder what he’s thinking right now. He’s a tough one to read when he’s got his serious face on.

Jessica’s dress doesn’t seem to go over as well. Cheryl doesn’t seem to understand it, she doesn’t like the fit, she’s confused about the look, and she generally looks unhappy. It’s only half-finished and when Jessica asks her what she thinks of it, Cheryl says of the poor fit: “It feels like one of the girls is gonna come out… I’m a little bit concerned. A little bit with all those people.”

Chery Hickey: "I'm a little bit concerned."

Chery Hickey: "I'm a little bit concerned."

Jessica is crushed. She’s really down about it and it’s understandable. Cheryl should have been a little less unhappy-looking; she was, after all, coming into an incomplete dress whereas Jason’s and Sunny’s dresses were nearly done. Big difference; huge.

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Jessica’s really down and Kim comes to her emotional aid, encouraging and helping her regain her momentum to fix the dress and move on. “Screw up, fix it, then win it.”

The Day of the Show at Fashion Week

Fashion Week tent at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto

Fashion Week tent at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto

The designers arrive at Nathan Phillips Square in Toronto where the large tent for Fashion Week is propped up and waiting to house their collections as the country and some of the most important international media and buying representatives watch. The designers arrive on the runway to check out the scene and last season’s winner, Evan Biddel is there waiting to greet them.

Project Runway Canada season 1 winner, Evan Biddel

Project Runway Canada season 1 winner, Evan Biddel

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Evan Biddel: “One of your lives is going to change entirely, so take it all in.”

We find out that Biddel is going to be the guest judge for the final collection and with a few words of advice, he sends the designers backstage to prepare their models for the shows.

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Backstage pre-show

Backstage pre-show

It’s a huge rush to get the models ready for the runway: hair and makeup with L’Oreal backstage, Jessica’s still sewing and bleeding all over her garment, Sunny can’t get his models done on time, Jason is trying to adjust all the dresses to each of his model’s body. It’s pretty intense and it’s non-stop running around. Finally, the show is about to begin and after Iman’s introduction, out comes Sunny.

Iman wears a dress by PRC season 1 winner, Evan Biddell

Iman wears a dress by PRC season 1 winner, Evan Biddell

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Sunny: “It all began with fashion is a battlefield so I chose Alexander the Great as my inspiration. This is my last battle; enjoy.”

"This is my last battle; enjoy."

"This is my last battle; enjoy."

Selections from Sunny's collection

Selections from Sunny's collection

Cheryl Hickey wears Sunny's design

Cheryl Hickey models Sunny's design

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Sunny’s collection is distinctively his style. There’s no question that you can see the influence of Alexander the Great and the detailed bead work on the garments is spectacular. The headlining coat that opens the collection is lovely- everyone stares. One of the models has a mask reminiscent of battle head gear, while the other models have a faux-hawk similar to his own hair style. We see pants, skirts, leather, chiffon, fur, beading. It’s a very cohesive collection and very well-received by the audience. So far so good.

Jason‘s turn is next and he announces that his inspiration is his family and that this collection “is global glamour.”

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Selections from Jason's collection

Selections from Jason's collection

Cheryl Hickey models Jason's design

Cheryl Hickey models Jason's design

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Out comes his model wearing skimpy black underwear beneath a see-through black lace mini dress, topped with the puffy collar piece that Brian tried on in the work room a few days before. It’s a little odd as a starter outfit and it feels like a Victoria’s Secret show, minus the angels. Other pieces follow that are less revealing but not much more interesting: sequins detailing on black tops and dresses, poofy skirts with fitted sweetheart necklines, tight black skirts so tight that the models can’t walk (really can’t walk- it took them forever to get to the end of that runway!) gold sequins dresses in his typical short at the front, long at the back shape. Other than the Brandon/Jason collaborative dress (which fits Cheryl Hickey rather poorly in the bodice), it’s a very ‘Jason’ collection but it doesn’t offer much that is inspired or happy, least of all the models who had to walk in those tight skirts.

At last, it’s Jessica’s turn.

Jessica: “My inspiration is Greta Garbo 1930’s Hollywood glamour meets hip hop swagger of today. Hope you all dig it, peace out!”screen-capture-341

Selections from Jessica's collection

Selections from Jessica's collection

Sheryl Hickey models Jessica's design

Sheryl Hickey models Jessica's design

From Jessica, we also see a lovely coat as a start to the collection with beautiful shaping and detailing. It’s a lovely piece and it’s widely applauded by the audience. Next come deep-neck fitted satin-finish dresses with a cowl bum, probably not the most flattering concept and hardly easy to keep looking nice (I sat down; ah shucks my outfit is ruined!) These dresses aren’t impressive and it’s only when we get a few more coats and structured pieces a one lovely flowy dress that we get excited again, like that mini jump suit that’s probably too short for the real world but looked great on the runway. Somehow, Jessica’s crazy “hip hop/1930s” inspiration is clearly visible in all of this.

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The Judging

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Guest Judge: Evan Biddell, Project Runway Canada season 1 winning designer

The judging begins and Jason is first on the chopping block. He explains his collection is aimed at the Los Angeles crowd and that the most challenging aspect of the work was using sequins as fabric and as a way to translate his vision.

Rita doesn’t mince her words; she obviously doesn’t like the all-out sequins dresses in Jason’s collection.

Rita: “Using a lot of sequins can look cheap and I feel that some of your collection was just not as sophisticated as you probably intended it to be. There were a few hits, but there were quite a few misses as well.”

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On the other hand, Biddell liked the sequins pants with the ruffle top, which I must say was also my favourite look in Jason’s collection.

Iman lays it down about the tight skirts on the runway; she’s very upset.

Iman: “I take it really personal when the model couldn’t even walk! Especially one was unbearable to watch- the model can’t walk- the whole room gasped for her. The skirt was so tight that she couldn’t walk.”

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Jason says nothing.

Biddell: “Also, you’re saying L.A. but the lacy bit that opened was very Playboy Mansion. Did you think Playboy Mansion was gonna win Project Runway?”

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That was harsh. Jason doesn’t say anything here either and I think that that was a touch unfair and far too sensationalist of Biddell to say. Biddell is just a guest judge- it’s not like he will decide who wins the show; we all know Iman does. Ha!

The judges are all confused about his collection; they don’t really see his perspective and they’re not really sure what the point is of these 12 looks. Jason looks really discouraged and uncomfortable. He knows it’s pretty much over for him now.

Iman, to Jason: “What kind of a designer do you really want to be?”

Jason: “I guess I gotta figure that out.”

Moving on to Sunny, there is no shortage of superlatives crowning him with positive feedback.

Rita: “In a word, you’re a superstar. You have amazing talent, you have amazing taste. Your clothes could be on any runway anywhere in the world, anytime.”

Biddell: “Your collection was great. I’m really happy you weren’t on my season.”

Shawn: “I would say that you’ve definitely shown us that you’re a designer with this collection.”

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Iman is beaming; her Sunny is happy. You can practically mop up the love radiating through the TV from Sunny’s end of the runway.

Jessica’s collection gets a very positive review.

Biddell: “I know girls who would love your clothes. I love your clothes. I think we need to hang out.”

Shawn: “I kinda felt that you were showing us two different collections..?”

Rita: “I think it was your best work so far. Without question, that opening number was fantastic, and then it started to drift a little bit. And then you came back about half-way through your show with this amazing Boho chiffon dress in that gorgeous print and I would have loved to have seen more of that.”

Iman: “Great outerwear, great sportswear. Everybody gasped when they saw that and everybody thought, Wow, now that’s a show.”

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And with that, they wait.

Final Judging

Rita, about Jason: “There was not one design that you could say, Ah, I see what you’re about.”

Biddell, about Jason: “I felt like he knew it wasn’t that good.”

Rita, about Jessica: “She showed so many original ideas that was fantastic to see. Fantastic.”

Iman, about Sunny: “Sunny The Great! He’s unbelievable. He’s unstoppable.”

And the winner is…

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Sunny Fong!

Not a huge surprise, nor a disappointment for too many viewers, I think that the winner of this season is more than deserving of the prizes and the recognition. He’s proven himself to be consistent, attentive, and meticulous when creating garments for the various challenges and the final runway collection. Jessica’s collection was a great start and I think that she’s going to break out with her own successes as a result of her publicity and the popularity of her work on the runway. As for Jason, I think that he’ll also find himself customers interested in his work.

This was definitely a feel-good season; we wanted Sunny to win because we loved pretty much everything he produced, and he sure won it- no big suspense there. Let’s hope he, Jessica, and Jason deliver creative designs that make us feel excited about Canadian fashion. We, too, are dreaming big.

Images courtesy of Global TV’s Project Runway Canada website.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2009 8:41 am

    Oh good! We can talk about it now! I didn’t get in the tents but three seconds after the show ended there were hundreds outside talking about it and there were lots of fuzzy cellphone pictures.

    Was there ever any doubt that Sunny would win it all? Really? He’s been 100% consistent throughout the show. His collection was outstanding in both craftsmanship and imagination. He understands that concept means nothing if the designer can’t bring it to life. His collection was pure luxury. Some pieces made me think of Gaultier when he first burst on the scene. No wonder Iman loved it, she’s been wearing quite a lot of Gaultier on the show this season.

    Jason’s collection: Cougar-riffic. 20 to 60 years old? On what planet would a 20 year old want to wear the same dress as a 60 year old. I know 60 is the 50 and 40 is the new 30…but let’s be real here. No 20 year old will wear something she’s seen on her mother. I thought the bulk of his collection was far too cougar-ish, for “The Real Housewives of Mississauga” or “Suburban Kitchener” I know hundreds of 40-somethings in Kitchener who would trample each other for the black dress with the gold growth on the back.

    Jessica seemed to have an identity crisis, presenting two distinct themes. One was young, saucy, sassy and streetwise; the other was none of the above. The gold hot pants were sexy and sassy and I would have loved to see more of that sassy swagger. The one comment that buzzed around the square after the show was that Jessica’s Cheryl Hickey dress made her look short and fat. That was obvious on television when the show aired.

    The right person won, no question. Canadian fashion needs more free thinkers, more creativity, more pushing the of the style envelope. I hope next season (if there is one -what with Canwest’s financial situation) brings us more designers with Sunny’s talent, and fewer with Kim’s drama.

  2. April 17, 2009 10:59 am

    Thank you so much for your great comments! It’s so much fun to read your thoughts about the show and I agree with you about the collections and the PRC season in general. Jason’s collection was a bit of a What the Heck Was He Thinking? in terms of classifying as a 20 to 60 year-old customer in L.A. of all places. I don’t think people dress like that in L.A. (perhaps in Mississauga and Kitchener, as you suggest… :)

    Too bad that Jessica’s collection was a bit of a mixed bag since that did hurt her in judging, but I guess that can be expected from a young designer. Perhaps Brian should have come into the picture earlier to help her sort out her ideas; after all, she did scrap all of the work that she showed him when he came for his check-in visit.

    I agree that we need more creativity and wild ideas on the runway- we’re a relatively new country on the international fashion scene and since the other runways of the world show distinct big names that we know, love and respect, why not use the Canadian forum to explore risky ideas?

    At Fashion Week, I met Louis Bompard, the Fashion Editor of Paris-based L’Officiel magazine and he said to me about Canadian design, “I want to see something different otherwise I’m not interested.” I think we all feel that way; we don’t need more of the same beautiful but recognizable fashions that we see elsewhere- let’s make something new and unique that gives us all something to think about.
    – Johanne

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