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Roitfeld, Mum and Son, Open in Brazil September 07th, 2012 @ 00:54 AM


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Armani Conquers China, Chastises the Pope June 01st, 2012 @ 11:53 AM



 
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Leanne, Korto Stand Out at "Project Runway" Finale Taping

Renata Espinosa
September 12th, 2008 @ 2:18 PM - New York

Since "Project Runway" first made its debut on the New York fashion week calendar in February 2005, an invitation to the finale taping has become one of the most coveted invites of the week, at least among the segment of the population for whom watching the show is a guilty or not-so-guilty pleasure.

Those hoping to catch a glimpse of Jennifer Lopez, who was supposed to be the guest judge at the Season Five event on Friday morning, Sept. 12, at Bryant Park found out that the beloved Tim Gunn would be taking her place. Host Heidi Klum explained that Lopez had to cancel her appearance the day before due to a "foot injury."

Gunn in the role of judge was a "Project Runway" first – but he promised the audience of 900 that he would put his relationships with each designer "on a metaphorical shelf" and judge each collection impartially. He was joined by show regulars Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Michael Kors.

Six designers from the current season - Jerell, Suede, Joe, Kenley, Korto and Leanne - presented collections that ranged from amateurish to accomplished. With such variation in the quality of both the design and execution, it wasn't hard to spot the best of the bunch – both Korto and Leanne showed they had the kind of skill that belonged at fashion week.

Korto, who was born in Liberia and now lives in Little Rock, Arkansas, drew inspiration from her native Africa, as well as the Arkansas landscape of her current home. Her ability as a tailor was showcased through form-fitting gowns, short, kicky dresses finished with her signature voluminous sleeves or asymmetric straps, pleat-front tops and a pintuck pleat trumpet gown. Her use of earthy tones of khaki, turquoise, grass green and canary yellow made for some showstoppers.

Leanne closed the show, and it was her collection that truly shined. Her sculptural approach within her designs consisted of vertically attached petal-like layers that fluttered and encircled the body like pinwheels. Every detail, from the exquisite finishing, to the focused palette of white and whisper blue, to the right choices of fabric that softly draped away from the body or held its shape when it needed to made the audience hope that whatever the outcome, Leanne finds a financial backer next season in order to have a proper show. Her small collection showed more creative juice than many of the official collections this season.

The other four designers who showed - Jerell, Suede, Joe and Kenley - seemed to be designing less from a place of what makes good design and more from their own idiosyncratic tastes. Jerell opened the show with over-the-top embellished glam girl evening attire that looked poorly tailored at many points. It was difficult to tell what the thinking was behind a ball gown with a bodice three cup sizes too big.

Suede's collection, which he said was inspired by the Bluefly.com challenge - "Taking linear to the next step," he said - looked like an unfortunate idea dreamed up by, say, Ugly Betty for a "fancy" night out. Don't fashionistas without access to major urban shopping centers deserve better than this?

Joe cited "Americana" as his theme – a denim patchwork skirt, leather bustier and crushed velvet pants all seemed very Las Vegas strip or Maxim model appropriate.

The girly girl of the bunch, Kenley, said "painting, fantasy and 'Alice in Wonderland'" inspired her. "I made my dream wardrobe!" she said as she introduced her collection of mostly high-necked dresses with puffed shoulders – some were cute, but mostly they recalled TV's "Dynasty."

The two-part finale of "Project Runway: Season 5" airs on Bravo beginning Oct. 8 and ending on Oct. 15.

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