Guest Author - Ehmonie Hainey
And then there was one.
Last night’s finale of Project Runway – Season 3 was one of this season’s most anticipated finales, wrapping up one of the season’s best dramas. Jeffrey Sebelia, the raucous, raw–tongued tattooed rocker took home the title. Jeffrey’s collection was the most comprehensive of the final four, though it was tainted with controversy.
In the Season 3 finale, part 1, fellow designer and resident mommy Laura Bennett stirred up the pot, making allegations that Jeffrey’s collection looked too well made. Jeffrey’s typical deconstructed looks were absent in his final collection, and the other designers were wary. Following a ‘thorough investigation’, Jeffrey was proved to be innocent, and was permitted to show at Bryant Park.
In the tents, the final four presented their collections to the influential crowd of fashion editors, fashion buyers, celebrities and former Project Runway cast members and castoffs. Fan favorite Michael Knight, was the anticipated show winner, but his final collection, “Street Safari”, was a minor flop. Laura Bennett’s classic glam collection contained more than her typical plunging necklines, but was still too narrowly designed to impress the judges. Uli Herzner strayed away from her characteristic colorful prints and toned down her collection, filling it with metallics and nudes, earning her the runner–up spot. Jeffrey wowed the judges with his creative use of trims, like zippers as piping, and his diverse array of looks, including party dresses, leather jeans, structured jackets, and knitwear.
Jeffrey, who already has an established designer label, Cosa Nostra, was the least likely to benefit from the prize and the publicity of the win. Uli Herzner, a German immigrant, expressed that she came to America for opportunity, and saw the show as a huge opportunity to further establish herself as a designer. Laura Bennett, formerly an architect, began designing for herself, then saw fashion design as a means to switch careers. Michael Knight, a young Atlanta–based freelance designer tried out for Season 2 and was turned away, then was accepted for Season 3. Knight felt he was approaching a ‘glass ceiling’ in his design career, and wanted more growth. There is no doubt that all four designers have made a name for themselves as a result of the competition, but only Jeffrey gets to take home the $100,000 cash prize from TreSemme, a spread in Elle magazine with model Marilinda, a mentorship with Macy’s, a brand new Saturn Sky Roadster, and the ‘trophy’ of becoming America’s Next Top Fashion Designer.
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