Project Runway 5: Finale Chic or Freak
Well, despite my momentary hope that this rather dullsville season of Project Runway 5 could potentially have a last-minute twist, what was expected happened last night and Leanne Marshall petal-pushed her way into the top spot.

All three women, though, put on very respectable shows considering their personal vision and experience levels, and so for this final installment of Chic or Freak for Project Runway 5, I’m going to give each designer a moment in the top – and bottom – spots by giving my picks the best and relative weakest looks of the collections presented.


I think I am a person who responds to color best as it was hard for me to recall individual looks from Leanne’s collection rather than just an overall feeling. But of her consistent collection, I unintentionally liked these two floaty dresses the best. It’s not that I didn’t care for the architectural details, just that the lighter elements of both of these I thought played well against that strong concept.

Since I do love color, I found Korto Momolu’s collection elicited a happy response from my brain, all those gorgeous, saturated colors just hit the sweet spot for me. She had mentioned during the season that evening looks were not her thing, but I think she nailed it with these two. No, she’s not as conceptually ground-breaking as Leanne is, but she will appeal to women who gravitate towards an aesthetic of strong glamour. I thought her beading detail worked well on these two dresses. I almost wanted to include that little printed dress in the top spot as an example of a strong casual look, but I think her beading work actually detracted from that dress. On these two, though, I loved it.

I never really paid too much attention to Kenley Collins’ personality stuff. I’m really neither here nor there about whether or not that should be taken into account when evaluating her strength as a contestant. Personally, I’m too shallow and fashion-obsessed to not like an outfit even if I don’t like the designer, so I guess I just prefer to keep my options open. Nevertheless, while I appreciated her strong personal style, use of color and daring proportions, I just didn’t respond as well to hers as to the others. To me, it’s the very cute, smart and well-made fashion of someone who is still too in love with retro and vintage styles.

But these two looks, I felt, worked well. The looks all worked well with volume, just dancing to the line of being too much without crossing it, and had a sense of fun and whimsy about them. They also looked well made. Cute, ‘nuff said.


Just as it was hard to pick out looks that were relatively better than the others Leanne present, it was also hard to pick out any that were relatively worse, but I think these two were the weakest. I love the concept of the white outfit (would actually put the concept itself in the Chic column), but the execution is the issue. I think unlike Kenley’s play with a big collar above, I think this one crossed the line by bringing the whole outfit out of proportion. I don’t think the asymmetry was intentional, and it just makes the look a little off in a way that none of her other work is. The skirt and top aren’t really bad, per se, I just don’t see anything interesting happening with the petals to progress the concept, and it’s not as immediately beautiful as the others, so it feels a bit like this could have been one of the unnecessary looks culled from the collection.

I have to admit I actually do sort of like this white outfit, but it looks like a costume or a uniform for something that I haven’t yet figured out. Like maybe what the shuttle stewardess in the movie 2001 would have worn on a tropical vacation. Something about it just reads a little over the top in a way that makes it seem unwearable by the average woman. I like the idea of the green dress (Hi Bianca Golden!), and I get that the shortness of the skirt is to sort of balance the fullness of the sleeves. But it’s still a smidge too short. It didn’t walk right on the runway. It maybe could have used just like one and half more inches so that it could lie flat and stay in place.

This dress isn’t doing anything, and the feathered collar is not justification enough. It’s just kind of boring. I appreciate the effort that went into painting the fabric, but if the end result looks like a print from a JC Penney couch from 1985, I think your time might have been best spent elsewhere. I am trying to be open-minded as we work through the ‘80’s recycling that has been happening over recent years…but seriously, kids, take it from some of us who lived through it: sometimes it’s just ugly. And on top of that, this is another dress in a similar silhouette and length to what else she’s done so it feels like it should have been culled as well.

And with that, we wrap up the Chic-ing and the Freak-ing for this season of Project Runway 5! It’s been fun to read all of your comments and opinions, so here’s hoping the wrangling over the next season get resolved and we can all meet back here when we’ve got a new crop of designers!

- Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Images courtesy of BravoTV)