“Sebastian Grey was the winner of Season 17 of ‘Project Runway’ to the surprise of not many people, I would say,” notes Gold Derby senior editor Daniel Montgomery. “He was the frontrunner in our odds and I thought he had a really excellent collection – although not necessarily my favorite of the three. But I thought he was a deserving winner.”
His fellow senior editor Susan Wloszczyna also thought his win was pretty much inevitable, given that “he was the most consistent and sophisticated, and for once, he really didn’t second guess himself very much.”
What the other two contestants didn’t do was make a totally cohesive collection. But while runner-up Hester Sunshine’s kitschy-cute designs could not have come from anyone else, corset king and third-place finisher Garo Sparo seemed to tone down his trademark cinched-waists looks a bit. Or, as Daniel says, “I wanted more Garo in Garo’s collection.”
Susan, however, thought that Hester’s use of stiff see-through plastic around the torsos of her models was not exactly practical or even comfortable. “I don’t know how many women want to be squeezed into something like that – like a tube of toothpaste.”
Daniel also noted that Sebastian, who hails from Colombia, finally got around the fact he has struggled to come up with narratives for his outfits. “He was bringing in similar design elements and themes and these elements from traditional Colombian weaving in each of the designs. So you can see what visually connects one to the other.”
But while he is cool with Sebastian winning, he was head over heels about Hester’s pop artistry. “I think it was cohesive in the sense that they all felt very Hester. It’s like what they said when they were judging her – ‘You have a vibe.’ ” He noted that all the praise she got from fashion icon and guest judge Diane Van Furstenberg might have been even better than winning the season. “It felt whimsical but it felt refined. It was considered and thoughtful. It wasn’t her throwing pasties down the runway.”
As for Garo, he was a standout during the season with his more theatrical designs but he seemed to have lost some of his confidence when he needed it most – which resulted in him making 17 outfits when only 10 were required. “He was a little all over the place,” Daniel observes.
Susan and Daniel also discuss the abuse Kate the curvy model had to endure as designer after designer couldn’t find a way to flatter her figure, how the show’s reboot on Bravo with a new host, mentor and judges was pretty much a success – especially recruiting Season 4 winner Christian Soriano to fill Tim Gunn’s awfully big custom shoes – and how some of the concepts for the challenges were a bit too fuzzy rather than well-defined.