"Project Runway" Winner's Shocking Inspiration

April Peveteaux

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty
As the judges of the Project Runway season 7 finale repeatedly said, this wasn't an easy one.

Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Faith Hill (ummmm, why?), and top American designer Michael Kors eventually came to a decision that has me scratching my head.

Based solely on their collections, I'd wholeheartedly agree the competition was stiff. Visually, Emilio, Mila, and Seth Aaron all produced beautiful and inspired work.


But as Seth Aaron was named Project Runway's Season 7 winner, I wondered why nobody thought it was more than a little weird he sent a collection down the runway inspired by Nazis.

Seth Aaron stated multiple times his collection was inspired by the German and Russian military in the 1940s. Those long leather boot pants certainly looked like they were meant to goose-step, and his signature piece could be easily reconstructed into a red and black swastika. So did Seth Aaron really send Nazi-inspired couture down the runway? If not, why didn't anyone mention that what he said was just weird -- if not downright inappropriate. That thought distracted me so much I couldn't even enjoy the amazing leggings. And was that Einstürzende Neubauten playing in the background?

After that editorial shock, Mila "the glove" sent up a very tame collection. It was lovely, strong, and seemed right at home at Bryant Park. So I found myself drifting and focusing more on trying to ID the remixed music behind her show, finally settling on what I think might have been a techno version of Spirit in the Sky. (Interesting soundtrack choice, but not very "modern.") Maybe people in fashion love the shadow inspiration, but every time Mila said it, I felt a little embarrassed for her. It seems more likely to be the subject of a third grade art project than a runway show during New York's fashion week.

Emilio was my favorite this season and I've never been disappointed by what he's sent down the runway; although I did turn a little on him after the home visit episode where he was bitchy about Tim. That's just not cool, Emilio. Everybody loves Tim Gunn, and you should too.

For the finale, Emilio created a pattern with his own name, which I loved, loved, loved. However, I questioned the wow factor of his collection, as I could actually see myself wearing more of his clothes than anyone else's (and I'm neither a supermodel nor someone who will be attending the Oscars anytime soon). Although his (insect-inspired?) green gown did catch my attention in a way the rest of his collection didn't. The judges seemed to echo my own reservations, calling his collection commercial -- but they were still impressed.

Seth Aaron's dubious judgment aside, it was an extremely satisfying runway show -- especially compared to last year's train wreck in LA. It felt good to be back in New York and back at Parsons.

Who did you think should have won?

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