The second season of Bravo’s Project Runway, like the first season, has been thrilling and enjoyable to watch due to the contestants’ talent, creativity, and bitchiness. I liked the first season better because there was more footage of behind-the-scenes interactions between the designers and the models. The first season also yielded four memorable characters: charmingly hilarious winner Jay McCarroll, fabulous fop Austin Scarlett, evil bitch Wendy Pepper, and emotional train wreck model Morgan Quinn.
Although second season’s Andrae Gonzalo was delightfully expressive and Zulema Griffin was unabashedly divaish, only Santino Rice has been a breakout star. His rampant arrogance and rudeness hid an insecure and kind person, although only glimpses of the kindness emerged late in the season.
The three finalists, Daniel Vosovic, Chloe Dao, and Santino, were given $8,000 and a few months to create a 12-look fashion line to show at Olympus Fashion Week in New York.
Audience favorite Daniel V’s collection was simple, elegant, beautifully made, and a little boring. He said his line was inspired by Japanese and military styles, although the judges didn’t see it. My favorite piece of his was the white cashmere double-breasted coat. His collection was more casual and had greater range than the other two designers’, but I didn’t feel that his clothes were that innovative.
Chloe’s collection was formal, gorgeous, and, I thought, very inspired. She said that it was her fantasy formal collection. One of the judges rightfully complimented the seams on her outfits. Their placement and shape were unique and enhanced the overall look. I also loved the innovative cut and construction of the dresses that formed simple, strong shapes. The judges’ concern was that her line didn’t have much range.
Santino’s collection was surprisingly subdued and included some delicate, gorgeous pieces. His inspiration was 1940′s Hollywood boudoir glamour. An outstanding piece from his line was an ombre pleated chiffon dress with a ripple in the front. I agreed with the judges that some of his looks were a little too safe and plain — shocking since throughout the competition, Santino was more known for ridiculously outrageous outfits (the flaming turkey skating outfit he designed for Sasha Cohen comes to mind).
I was pleasantly surprised that the judges (designer Michael Kors, ELLE fashion director Nina Garcia, and Will and Grace star Debra Messing) agreed with me and anointed Chloe the winner. She won $100,000 to start her own fashion line, a 2007 Saturn Sky roadster, a featured spread in ELLE, and a mentorship with Banana Republic.
Although Chloe won, all three of the finalists are truly talented. Having made a name for themselves on this show, they should find much success as fashion designers.