Leanne Marshall is ‘In’ as the Winner of Project Runway Season 5

It was as if some force of evil was trying to keep me from watching the season finale of Project Runway. I was too through when I found out that the final Presidential Debate was scheduled at the same time on the same evening as my beloved show. To watch or not to watch?  What a dilemma. Since it was last the debate, I felt obligated to watch and I did. I caught a bit of it at local bar on my way home from work. I delighted at seeing Senator John McCain’s head nearly implode at the thought of Senator Barack Obama becoming president. Informative?  Not really. Entertaining?  Hell yeah.  Winner? Although McCain delivered a vastly improved “performance”, Obama, smooth as he wanted to be, outclassed the cantankerous McCain.  Style over substance?  Damn straight.  Who doesn’t love someone with impeccable style? 

Wait a minute. How did I get so far off topic? Damn election cycle has me literally taking my eye off of the more important things in life like less-than-mindful entertainment.  So, speaking of “style”, after the debate, I checked out the season finale of Project Runway which, rather sneakily on Bravo’s part, was billed as its fifth and final season. Not really true.  Project Runway hopes to return on Lifetime after the lawsuit between NBC Universal (Bravo’s parent company) and The Weinstein Company (producers of Project Runway) is settled. (source)

Enough about that mess.

Well, this year’s finale was an all girl thing with Leanne, Kenley and Korto making it to the final three. Kenley was her usual arrogant self, arguing with Tim Gunn who tried to give her some helpful and much needed advice. You should have seen the look on Kenley’s face when it was announced during the runway show that Tim Gunn would be replacing Jennifer Lopez as the guest judge.  It was definitely an “I am so f-ed” moment.

After seeing each collection, the winner was obvious.  Kenley’s designs, although good, were in my humble opinion, quite derivative.  And the judges seemed to agree that they bore more than a passing resemblence to the work of current, iconic designers. Kenley did reluctantly admit that she needed to learn more about fashion history. Duh!  But in true Kenley bitchassness style, when told she was the first to be eliminated during the final judging, she whined during her confessional that the whole idea of her being a “copycat” was “bullshit”.  Ah Kenley, classy to the end.  My final thought about Kenley’s collection is that it didn’t seem like a “collection” but just a grouping of nice pieces. No cohension.  No real point of view. (Look at me talking fashion. All thanks to Project Runway and celebrity stylist and reality television star Rachel Zoe.)

Next up under the tents was Korto. Her collection reflected her African heritage sans the jungle prints and kente cloth.  Definitely more thematic than Kenley’s, it was far more pedestrian and looked more suited for the catalogue than the runway. The judges complimented her work stating that she could dress a woman of any size. But they did say that Korto had a tendency to do too much with her designs. As for me, upon deeper reflection, her designs — both the color pallette and the cut — reminded be of black woman church wear.  

The final collection to grace the runway was that of Leanne. With its muted colors, impeccable cut, inventive and cohesive her collection reflected an understated and wonderfully elegant point-of-view. I thought she was the best of the three and apparently the judges agreed with me because they declared, Leanne Marshall, 27, the winner of Project Runway.

Postscript:  After this week, there will be no Project Runway or The Rachel Zoe Project.  What is a fashionista-in-training to do?    

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