‘Project’ show offers secrets and surprises

Models wear the creations of “Project Runway’’ designers during yesterday’s marathon fashion show in New York. Models wear the creations of “Project Runway’’ designers during yesterday’s marathon fashion show in New York. (Photos By Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)
By Christopher Muther
Globe Staff / February 13, 2010

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NEW YORK - It was the last time the designers of “Project Runway’’ will show their clothes on the catwalks of the Bryant Park tents (Fashion Week moves uptown to Lincoln Center next season), but there was hardly time to reflect on that, or reflect on anything. Yesterday, a staggering 10 designers from the program showed their clothes in a marathon session featuring looks that ranged from Peter Pan on acid to Mary Quant-influenced 1960s graphic dresses.

Because of the show’s filming schedule, seven decoy collections were thrown in among the three top designers. As host Heidi Klum explained to the crowd before the fashion parade, home viewers won’t see the “extra’’ lines - they are tossed in to keep pesky reporters and bloggers from spoiling the ending. But a favorite pastime is guessing who the real finalists are.

Based on what I saw yesterday, I’m going to go out on a limb (pesky reporter that I am) to say that the finalists will be Texas natives Amy Sarabi and Mila Hermanovski, along with Jay Nicolas Sario. Choosing the top designers was difficult, and I reserve the right to replace Hermanovski or Sario with Emilio Sosa.

It was far easier to pick out the designers who clearly have not made it to the final three. Jesse LeNoir introduced his collection by saying it was inspired by film noir and World War II, but it simply looked like a poorly constructed mess of park ranger green dresses and kooky hats. Equally appalling was Janeane Marie Ceccanti’s turquoise and black menagerie of sparkles. In fact, there was so much turquoise in these collections that I started to wonder if Mood was having a sale on the color.

Thankfully, there was true beauty to be found in Sarabi’s pleated, graphic dresses that combined the right amount of innovation and practicality. She started with a dress that came up the neck and reached to cover half her model’s face, but then eased into more relaxed dresses with amazing pleat work.

Sario’s collection of futuristic, aubergine dresses sported shoulders that resembled a Dr. Seuss illustration - but in a very good way. Hermanovski’s bold black and white graphic dresses recalled the simplicity of the 1960s, and also offered a much needed palate cleanser for the endless runway show.