Posted Thursday, November 16, 2017 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
In a major surprise and come-from-behind victory, Kentaro Kameyama took home the "Project Runway" crown tonight for season 16 thanks to a sublimely interesting and cohesive collection.
He was up against three very different designers, one who was the clear favorite going into Fashion Week: Brandon Kee. The low-key man, who has a very specific design aesthetic, gradually gained confidence throughout the competition, given praise at every turn and in the end, disappointed.
While the judges liked his collection, it failed to have a "wow" moment and the color palette and fabric choices were too monotonous. So he finished third. Shocking!
The designer most likely to supplant Brandon was Ayana Ife, whose target audience from day one was Muslim women who care about fashion and modesty at the same time. Over the course of the season, her designs got stronger and bolder and she created some exciting looks for Fashion Week. Selecting her would have allowed "Project Runway" to make a real statement. Unfortunately, it appears her first three dresses were so poorly received, they cost her the title. She came in second.
Realistically, Margarita Alvarez came in fourth for a reason. Her path to the finals was the rockiest. She needed the Tim Gunn save to make it to the final five and the judges in general found her "tropical" feel too over the top for their tastes. She decided to just go for it and be herself and that worked for her, bright colors, fringes and all. Ultimately, the judges were pleasantly surprised by her very entertaining collection and she smartly gave a plus-sized model a moment who stripped off a skirt midway through and showed off her booty. Margarita did about as well as she could under the circumstances.
So that left Kentaro. He, like Margarita, had an inconsistent path to the finals. He was not at all favored to win. But his Japanese background gave him a very particular feel that got him this far. During the semi-finals when the judges saw two sample dresses, he was criticized for a lack of cohesion.
So Kentaro chose to do what he wanted and in the end actually created the best curated collection of the four and even created his own music. And he included color effectively. Modified versions of his dresses are available for sale on J.C. Penney's website here.
I will post some of the final collections when Lifetime posts photos Friday.
By the way, I can't wait until the "Project Runway" reunion in two weeks. (Lifetime is skipping over Thanksgiving for a reason.) Why? Two words: the twins.
And yes, I still wish they had given Atlanta's Kenya Freeman a shot at the runway, too. Too bad.