After the show, the reviews are glowing. John Varvatos says it was exciting for him to see it, which, as I type it out, doesn't seem as much like a glowing review. The CEO of Halston, Bonnie Takhar, found them all to be wonderful. Marc Bouwer goes so far as to call this the strongest group of PR designers, ever, putting him solidly into an opinion-holders group of one. Also backstage are the designers' ousted cohorts. Epperson found each collection to be "amazing." He's so nice. The emotional vampire, Johnny, has returned. He compliments Althea's collection for being "very put together," as does Shirin (who is wearing a raspberry beret, the kind you buy in a... oh, she probably made it). Though it is an endorsement she'd probably rather not receive, Ari says she's most impressed with Irina's work. Louise also was a fan of Irina's, while Nicolas and Ra'Mon both are going for Carol Hannah. Um...? Hello? What about Malvin? And Qristyl? I need to hear their crazy thoughts!
We now return to the studio runway, where the judges seem to be barely holding it together. Did they drink a lot of wine at the show? They seem afraid to speak lest they start laughing or crying like, "Yes, well, there were some clothes and they were really... quite... I'd say... they were clothesy." Everyone is half-saying that there were fresh ideas and good workmanship, but only barely half-saying it. Suzy Menkes, especially, seems lost. Finally, Heidi brings out the designers. "You really put on a great show today," she says, "and we're all very proud of you." She reminds them, however, that only one of them can win the fashion spread, the "Pearz vacation," and the $100,000. To torture me, they once again introduce the judges. Kors very kindly congratulates them on a job well done. Nina Garcia, naturally, declines to do so. With a dismissive head nod and a strained smile, she tells them she's happy they are here. Where else would they be? She is the glorious devil. Crazy ol' Menkes (who has an O.B.E., by the way) says she is thrilled to be there and be part of Project Runway.
They begin with Irina who explains her idea of a feminine woman having to take on the shield of toughness to live in New York. "Quite honestly," Kors says, "we've seen a lot of the Warrior Woman. She's not a new character on the scene." Irina's model, Kalyn, by the way, is wearing that 13th look and I do not love how it turned out. The top somehow looks like a leather bathing suit, with the skirt bunchily tied around it. Why would you choose the slapdash thing you had to do at the last moment to show the judges at the end? For her part, Suzy Menkes thinks the collection had cohesion and was brought together beautifully. Heidi compliments the finished look of the collection. Shocking me, Nina loved the T-shirts, saying they added a surprising intimacy and were indicative of who Irina is as a designer. Nina doesn't get out to the mall much, I guess? I mean, the Gap sells a lot of T-shirts. She does ask, pointedly, why Irina went with all the black, reminding her with a piercing look that they talked about how it does not shoot well for magazines and thus does not get a lot of editorial coverage. Again, I have to wonder what she's talking about, honestly. Has she noticed the two zillion features that appear monthly in multiple magazines on the perfect little black dress? I guess, now that I've typed that, that that's most of the black we see in magazines. Fine, Garcia. You win again.