It all came down to this. Victoria Cocieru, Sergio Guadarrama, Geoffrey Mac and Nancy Volpe-Beringer went into the season finale of “Project Runway” season 18 on March 12. So who won the whole competition? And did the judges (including guest judge Serena Williams) make the right decision? Find out below in our live blog with all the minute-by-minute developments as they happen.
“Finale, Part 2” followed last week’s cliffhanger. The finalists spent five months and $10,000 creating 10-look collections to decide the ultimate winner. But they had to show three sample looks from those collections to the judges and receive feedback. It was possible only two or three of the finalists would actually get to present their collections at Fashion Week. So this week’s show answered that question up top. But the more important question remained of who would win.
Mac was the front-runner in our odds, which were based on the combined predictions of “Runway” fans who made their forecasts here in our predictions center. He flew under the radar for most of the season, and to be fair he didn’t inspire the most confidence with his frequent second-guessing and anxious fretting when shopping for fabrics at Mood. But despite his disposition he presented some of the season’s most innovative looks, winning the Cyndi Lauper challenge, the tie-dye challenge and earning his spot in the finals with an avant garde latex look.
Were our forecasts right? Our users correctly predicted Sebastian Grey‘s victory in season 17, but before that we were taken off-guard by Kentaro Kameyama‘s upset win in season 16. And this season was very evenly matched going into the finale. All four of them won previous design challenges, and none of them had won more than two. They all had low moments too, coming close to elimination once or twice over the course of the competition. Follow along below starting at 9:00pm to find out how it all turned out (times listed are Eastern).
9:01pm — And the finalist eliminated from the competition is … NO ONE! All of the judges agree that the four designers all deserve to present their final collections. They didn’t even keep them in suspense very long. They clearly just wanted some drama going into this last episode of the season. They were probably always going to let all of them through, as they should, but the designers all have a lot of editing to do.
9:04pm — “My mantra for the day is ‘Get it done,'” says Geoffrey, and just like that the designers have been beckoned to the Council of Fashion Designers of America by Christian Siriano. Geoffrey wants to change into something more presentable: a sleeveless sweater maybe, a sleeveless dress shirt, or a sleeveless suit? At the CFDA, they meet Sara Kozlowski, the director of professional development for the CFDA, and Rachna Shah, a publicist for Givenchy, Fenty and Victoria Beckham.
9:06pm — Victoria is up first: they like Victoria’s signature details, proportions and layering, but they’re worried about her branding too. Victoria is taking the advice, but she’s worried about making her collection too simple. If her brand logo is the biggest visual interest in her collection, she’s in trouble.
9:07pm — Nancy tells them about her journey of the textile and that she doesn’t have a specific customer or client in mind, but Sara and Rachna think she needs more focus. She needs a more defined story to appeal to specific different people: “Go with that empowerment message.”
9:08pm — Geoffrey’s turn: Sara and Rachna look concerned. Christian thinks Geoffrey should lead with the story of his dad’s purple hearts and not with his whole spiel about metal mesh and quilting because the message puts it all in perspective.
9:09pm — And that leaves Sergio’s climate change collection: Rachna wonders what will communicate his message if they’re not hearing him explain it for himself. And they also advise him not to get too stuck on the idea of designing for older women because older women want to look fabulous too, and you never know who’s going to butter your bread in the future. Sounds like he’s actually going to take their advice about making it younger and fresher.
9:11pm — Back at Mood for the last time this season. The designers have $400 more to add to the $10,000 they already got. The designers will also have the help of seamstresses later. Victoria is getting fabric for a totally new, cleaner look to address the criticisms from the judges and CFDA folks about her logos.
9:13pm — “So you took some advice … That’s a first!” says Christian, when he finds out Sergio is actually listening to the judges about his looks. “It only took the whole season.” Sergio is finally humble! … And then he says that as a perfectionist it’s going to be hard for him to mess this up. Dammit, Sergio, I was with you for a whole second there. Geoffrey wants to do alterations to his purple dress with the sleeve boob/sleeve dick. He wants to bring that back, but I’m not sure I want him to.
9:16pm — Model casting time! Geoffrey gets Taurean, Marquise’s hunky tuxedo model with a 48-pack abs. Geoffrey also likes models with “otherworldly” kinds of faces, and the show cuts to a dark-skinned Black model, and I don’t know if that’s what Geoffrey was talking about, but that was some problematic editing right there. Nancy is super excited by working with an amputee who uses prosthetics. Nancy’s getting DD of course. No question there of course.
9:17pm — Karla Welch from the “Ultimate Upcycle” challenge is going to come back to give the designers styling advice. I dig Karla, though I kinda miss Marni Senofonte, who was around for a bunch of challenges last season.
9:18pm — Victoria has tons of pieces and separates, so it’s a challenging mix and match issue. Sergio’s look is pretty country, and one slinky white dress looks like underwear, “but not in a cool way.”
9:24pm — Sergio is “scared” about the amount of work he has to do. Wow, Sergio lacks confidence in something? His looks are intricate, so it’s time-consuming to alter them. Geoffrey is working on adding some shape to his looks, which the judges thought were a little shapeless. And he’s also reconsidering those pearly beads on his models’ cheeks. Maybe just on the dudes after all.
9:27pm — Victoria’s brain contains thousands of other little brains fighting each other. Girl, same. Everyone’s stressed, so they’re all going drinking, where Geoffrey tells them that his dad can’t make it because he had a knee operation. If this were a hacky screenplay, the season would end with his dad surprisingly showing up at the very end of his show and then hugging him in tears when the show ends. Sergio’s partner Kade will be there; Sergio is planning to propose to him there. Man, this season is gonna end with a bunch of happy endings like it’s the airport in “Love Actually.”
9:30pm — Geoffrey is really happy to be reunited with his seamstress from the avant garde challenge, and maybe it’ll keep him calm for the rest of the challenge. Ha! Fat chance.
9:32pm — Nancy has an amazing message, but the clothes themselves don’t convey that unified message. Also, she needs to ditch the wine tote. Maybe Nancy can bring the wine tote to the fashion show for herself. We could all use a wine tote in our lives. And a very long straw. Geoffrey needs to avoid throwing off his symmetrical looks, and he also needs to edit down the accessories since the looks themselves are already so avant garde. Don’t gild the lily.
9:33pm — Victoria made a dress at the last minute that Christian loves. Sergio thinks it’s the best look in her collection too. I think maybe giving the designers five months is more a curse than a blessing. All the designers were told to edit themselves because they had so much time to overthink everything.
9:34pm — Sergio has a fringe jacket, and Karla thinks he should pair it with a t-shirt, but “that’s not the planet I live on.” Still, he’s going to push himself “to the brink” by making a t-shirt. This guy made a 45-pouind dress covered in fringe and a wrapping paper dress earlier this season, but a t-shirt is his brink. God help him if he ever walks past, like, a Gap store window, he might have a panic attack.
9:36pm — Christian calls the designers over. Could it be another twist? …
9:40pm — Nope, no twist. Just a pep talk. Christian tells thinks it’s great that the designers have learned who they are and who they want to be and they should be super proud of themselves. And he also tells them that their guest judge will be Serena Williams. Everyone is thrilled. Victoria wants to hug her — we got hugs from Cyndi Lauper and Leslie Jones this season, so you never know.
9:42pm — Sergio thinks it’s “scary” to try something new. Again, by making a t-shirt. A knit turtleneck t-shirt, but still, a t-shirt. The struggle is real. Geoffrey is in tears because he’s got tons of work to do and there’s a lot on the line financially: “If this is my last show it’s because I need to go get a job. I’m afraid of making some type of mistake. I would never forgive myself.” I hope Serena Williams gives him a hug. I hope everyone gives him a hug. Get all your hugs in now since this was taped before coronavirus exploded.
Day of the Final Runway
9:45pm — The designers are all reminiscing about their time on the show thus far. Geoffrey remembers starting the show as a “steaming hot mess” — he says while still on the verge of tears. I feel you, man. Victoria has learned that it’s okay to fail sometimes. Sergio has learned to be “open to evolving as a person, as a designer.” He’s dramatically less defensive five months after the regular season. Late-bloomer Nancy is proud to have shown people it’s never too late to pursue your dream. I have nothing snarky to say here really. I kinda like all of these people, even Sergio (today).
9:47pm — Christian brings the models back in, and boy do I love the gold-striped suit Christian is wearing. I want. And Geoffrey misplaced his face studs, but Christian tells him not to sweat it because he doesn’t need them. Yeah, he really doesn’t. Maybe Christian found them and flushed them down the toilet for his own good. And Sergio’s first-time ever t-shirt has a hole in it. Again, this man made a dress with wrapping paper, and a t-shirt turned out to be his Waterloo.
9:51pm — Karlie brought the drama with her midriff-baring black gown. Hawt!
9:55pm — Victoria’s collection “Revelation” is first. Love the pleated pants on her first look, which she also showed in her preview last week. The very Victoria-style deconstructed suit is cool too. She left her branding on a couple of looks. There’s an interesting green dress layered over beige that looks a little like an apron but also looks kinda cool. I need to think on that one for a bit. Her pink coat dress is chic — Karlie loves that one. The dramatic pink dress with sexy cutouts that comes out next is a cool follow-up. Brandon loves the pants on an all-white look that comes out, and they are indeed fantastic. And then her white sweater dress that she made in a few hours. Karlie loves it, and Victoria is “obsessed” with it. I love it too. Why didn’t she ever make that earlier this season? Cool collection overall from Victoria. Some dramatic moments, a little too beige in places, but some of the pieces are sensational.
9:58pm — Nancy is out next with “Sustain Our Ability.” The first wheelchair dress came out sensational. More refined than when she showed it to the judges. Dynamite! The bold-jumpsuit that comes out next is awesome too: busy, but not messy. She kept the headpiece on her liquid look dress. The judges weren’t big fans of it, but I love it. Ooh, our comes this black dress with white strands on the amputee model Nancy worked with — a little out there, but in a way I absolutely love. Elaine thinks it’s “amazing.” Another liquid look dress. A third and fourth liquid look dress. Great, but similar. A fifth liquid look dress under a gorgeous furry coat. And DD closes the show with a stunning sheer dress that shows off their body in spectacular fashion. I loved this collection, though a few of the liquid looks in the middle come off a little too similar to each other.
10:05pm — Out comes Sergio with “Ocean Anthem.” It opens with two looks we’ve seen already that seem mostly the same as when he initially showed them. Lovely, though. The white dress Christian thought looked like underwear earlier came out really great. He gets well-deserved applause for the other look he previewed, the heavy one with all the fringe. Karlie loves the beading on this gorgeous blue/grey dress. Then a bunch more dreamy looks. The closing navy blue ball gown is a stunner at the end. Sergio thinks it really tells the story of the arctic melting. It doesn’t really. But god help me, it’s a great collection. And Elaine thinks the color story is “beautiful.” It definitely is.
10:09pm — Last but hopefully not least is Geoffrey with “Purple Heart.” He kept Thijin in the awesome purple coat, but man that sleeve boob on the dress is not working for me. Another black oversized look comes out second, and it’s pretty cool too. A black dress that looks kind of like reptilian skin. Elaine is super happy to see Taurean in the yellow puffer coat; the crowd applauds too; though they may just be applauding his chest. I definitely think he sells it well. It’s hard for me to describe a lot of these looks. They’re cool, weird, futuristic, eccentric, some really amazing, sexy sheer details, luxurious metal mesh fabric, and here comes the gigantic black coat with the shirtless model underneath! I love love love that coat. It’s the coolest and most adventurous collection, though I didn’t love every single thing about it. But that black coat is my favorite thing of the whole finale.
10:11pm — I have no idea who wins. I think it could actually be Sergio. And it would be a worthy win. Any of them would be, really. Karlie and Nina say it’s going to be tough. These were really great collections. And as promised, Sergio proposed to Kade. Dammit, Sergio, stop making me happy for you!
GEOFFREY — Elaine calls it “the Billie Eilish take on fashion.” I like that comparison. Brandon thought he demonstrated the spark of an idea that can grow into something, and that Geoffrey’s brocade look moved him emotionally. Serena loved the outerwear. The trench was “fantastic” — which was paper over neoprene (the reptilian one I dug). Nina admires Geoffrey’s “modern” innovation with his use of fabric and volume, but she’s “concerned” that the looks were referential of Rick Owens. Karlie thought it was “powerful” with details that “sing,” especially without all the excess details on the face.
NANCY — Nina wrote, “beautiful moment on the runway with a powerful message about sustainability and inclusion that proves it can be fashionable.” Elaine thought it was “low-key spiritual.” Brandon appreciated that Nancy thought of how the fabric looked under the lights. Nina loved the short purple dress with back draping. Serena would have liked to see more construction and seaming. Brandon would have liked to see a bustier to flatter the form more. Nina wanted to see more like the tailored suit.
SERGIO — Nina thought the collection was “the most skilled execution and polish.” The baby blue was “gorgeous” and “high on the luxury level.” But the collection “seems frozen in time.” Nina wanted to see a more relaxed version of the collection. Brandon encourages Sergio to take more risks and give more than gowns. Brandon thinks the best look was the see-through turtleneck — the t-shirt! Elaine thinks the sheer look on stage with him now is like a glimpse of Sergio 2.0, and Serena likes classic design, so she loved the collection.
VICTORIA — Nina thinks she has a good “grasp of proportion and silhouette,” especially the pink dress with the cutouts. Serena loved the cutouts on the second look too. Serena also thought the beaded jumper was “special.” Elaine thinks Victoria makes “fresh” looks that women will want to wear. But Elaine still doesn’t like the branding, especially the one head-to-toe labeled look, and her strongest look, the “exquisite” dress she made in a day. All the judges love the dress and want to take it home. Nina thought it had a “fluidity” that was like “graduation” for Victoria.
10:21pm — Not sure who wins based on those critiques. All had strong pros, all had cons.
10:27pm — In deliberations, the judges thought that white dress alone could win it for her, but we’ve seen that kind of tailored suit before. Nancy has evolved quickly and stands for something important in the industry, and she used “luxe” fabrics, though the designs lacked variety. Sergio is a perfectionist with a great color story, and immediately sellable, finished to perfection, but does the market really need it? Geoffrey’s “crazy” but Nina thinks it’s “commercial” too. He has the “big ideas” that could translate well to very wearable fashion. I still have NO idea who’s going to win.
10:29pm — The winner of “Project Runway” is … Geoffrey Mac!! I’m so thrilled for him! He had great ideas, weird ideas, and I love his outlandish verve. He had the most individual, forward-thinking collection, and he’s just a total sweetheart who everybody loves. Hugs all around! And he’s the oldest ever winner at 42.
10:30pm — “All the counseling in the world wouldn’t have done what ‘Project Runway’ has done for me,” he says. “I’m gonna take four days off … in a row.” Maybe counseling too, though. He calls his dad that he won “Project Runway,” and he’s so happy on the other end of the line. What a happy ending, but they didn’t announce who finished second, third, and fourth, hope we get to find that out.