After last week's fake-out challenge in which none of the designers were eliminated, the final four paraded their collections at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in the Project Runway Season 10 finale on Thursday.
Did Fabio, Melissa, Christopher or Dmitry impress the judges, including guest judge Jennifer Hudson, the most? Who proved they could cut it? Before getting to the winner, let's look at the final collections:
Concept: Inspired by deconstruction and reconstruction and features his mother's X-ray blown up into a textile
Collection: He stuck with his comfort zone of black and white, but threw in deep chocolate browns, purples and burgundies as accents. Nice to know he took the judges' advice! His separates showed a lot of textural diversity (we're still loving the bleach-treated leather) but the constructions were kind of expected. The show-stopper gown was his signature feathering chevron treatment that he had used on previous challenges, except this time it's the full length of the garment. It's not clear if the back was supposed to be mismatched at the seam, but that bothered us. The collection felt unfocused. We don't think he's quite there.
The judges say: Michael praised the darker, moodier theme, treated leather and strange print. He felt the gown was a bit on the traditional side though. Jennifer loved the leather skirt. Heidi said some pieces were "chic and stunning." Nina said he has an ability to make his pieces look light.
Concept: Exploration of death to life
Collection: First of all, gone are those wretched black wigs. Instead, she opted for a stronger fauxhawk French twist. Like Christopher, the judges criticized her monochromatic palette, and therefore she inserted a bright blood-orange (which Christopher insists is merely red) among the very strong, visual collection. We still dig the white hero jacket with oversized collar (sans those annoying sleeves that Nina told her to nix). The collection was youthful, kind of updated goth — Taylor Momsen's dream collection (except with more pants!). We didn't see the point of that long white gown the model could hardly walk in, but the red, er, blood-orange high-necked leather gown that followed was the perfect garment to end the collection. Some fun pieces, but it didn't feel it had a strong enough point of view.
The judges say: Michael says she understands how girls love to look and gives her a slap on the wrist for that narrow-skirted tripping gown. Jennifer dug it though and said the collection was funky and fresh. Heidi thought everything was strong. Nina loved the red gown and praised her sexy but not slutty designs.
Concept: Inspired by organic architecture
Collection: Lots of geometry, black and white, stripes and unexpected leather elements (like the fringe sleeves on that jacket). He's made an effort to style more youthfully, and for the most part it works. Of course, his concept of youth also means giving all the models Brooke Shields-style thick brows, but we'll chalk that up to high fashion. And although the collection is impeccably tailored, we're not sold on actually buying any of these clothes. But is he commercial? Absolutely!
The judges say: Heidi is still digging the jacket and the matching dress with fringy hem. Michael was into most pieces, but cautioned Dmitry to not verge on costume-y. Nina commended him for his highly editorial styling. Jennifer says it was "great quality and rich."
Concept: "Cosmic tribalism"
Collection: Fabio's revamp of his initial collection was intended to make his fabric and pieces look more luxurious (read: not cheap), and he did a great job. We're still amazed by his use of seaside pastel shades, the unexpected layers and the flowing silhouettes that shouldn't work together, but do. Turquoise, ivory and pink paired with the nude clunky shoes and strange necklaces fit his mystical concept. He really broke through his usual constraints and delivered a collection that actually showed range and ingenuity yet reflected his unique personal style of dressing himself. We're floored.
The judges say: Heidi "loved, loved, loved" how ethereal and fluid the whole collection was. Nina said it was sophisticated, cool and easy to wear. Michael said the way Fabio draped clothes was effortless and said he made a fashion statement that was different yet relatable. Jennifer said he "nailed it."
In the end, the judges deemed Dmitry had the best collection. As the winner, he'll receive $100,000 from L'Oreal Paris to start his own line, a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine, a 2013 Lexus GS 350, a $50,000 technology suite by HP and Intel and the opportunity to design and sell an exclusive collection at Lord & Taylor.
"This is the biggest day of my life. I just won Project Runway," said Dmitry. "I have no idea how the f--- I made it. I'm beyond happy and proud."
Did the right person win? Who had your favorite design?
Project Runway returns with its second all-stars season Thursday, Oct. 25 at 9/8c on Lifetime.