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Leanne Marshall crowned 'Project Runway's fifth season winner


By John Bracchitta, 10/16/2008 

Leanne Marshall, a 27-year-old from Portland, OR, was revealed to be Project Runway's fifth-season champion during last night's finale broadcast of the Bravo reality competition series.

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"Oh my God. Oh my God!" Marshall said as Project Runway host Heidi Klum and mentor Tim Gunn congratulated her.

As Project Runway's fifth-season winner, Marshall received the grand prize package of a $100,000 cash prize, a year of representation from Designer's Management Agency, a 2009 Saturn Vue hybrid, an ELLE magazine editorial feature, and the opportunity to sell a fashion line on Bluefly.com.

"I just won Project Runway! Oh my god!" Marshall said after her win. "I'm so excited because I'm on my way and my dreams are happening. It's unreal."

Korto Momolu, a 33-year-old from Mabelvale, AR , finished second.

"It is devastating," said Momolu.  "I wanted to win and I'm always this close, but it didn't happen and wasn't in the cards for me. Am I sad? Yes. Am I disappointed? Hell yes."

Kenley Collins, a 25-year-old from Brooklyn, NY, finished third.

"I'm really sad. It crushes me," a tearful Collins said. "No one likes to be called a copycat when they know that they're a true artist, and it kills me that that's what [the judges] think. I think it's bullshit."

Project Runway's fifth-season finale broadcast began with Gunn informing the all-female finalists -- a Runway first -- that they would each only be showing 10 of their 12 collection looks during their New York Fashion Week runway shows.

While Marshall and Collins seemed to have no major problems deciding which 10 looks to show, the decision proved more difficult for Momolu, who ultimately decided to create two new pieces for the show.

The day before their runway shows, Gunn revealed the order in which the finalists would be presenting.  Collins would go first, followed by Momolu and then Marshall.

After the runway shows, the finalists gathered for the final judging panel, where they were met by Klum; clothing designer Michael Kors; ELLE magazine fashion director Nina Garcia; and Gunn -- a last-minute replacement for previously scheduled celebrity guest judge Jennifer Lopez, who was unable to attend due to a foot injury.

Although the judges were impressed with Collins' collection, they also expressed concern that -- similar to their previous complaints about some of the outfits she'd designed earlier in the competition -- one of her items bared too much of a resemblance to a dress that another designer had shown recently.

"I think you had a fantastic collection, it had wonderful spirit," Garcia told Collins.  "The only problem that I have, to be honest, [was] that dress that you had with the flowers.  It reminds me very much of [the one in the Spring 2008] Balenciaga collection."

"I've heard people actually say that, today," Klum added.

"Can I just tell you one thing?" Kors interjected. "It is necessary to know what's going on [with other designers]."

Judges also enjoyed Momulo's collection, however they felt that some of the pieces might have been overworked.

"I think that you found a way to take your [African] heritage and your background and injected it into the clothes without it becoming a costume," Kors told Momulo.

"Everyone can see how much work you put into each and every piece. But some of the pieces look overworked to me," Klum said. "There are too many idea in one garment."

"You just need to be careful in going overboard," added Garcia.

The judges were most impressed with Marshall's collection, which they praised its variety and originality.

"So much of what you showed, the workmanship looked divine," Kors told Marshall.

"I also appreciated that you showed us shorts, skirts, pants, jackets, and a long dress," added Garcia.

"I think all of it worked together really nicely," Klum added. I feel like I've seen things in your line that I have not seen before."

The judges then deliberated before bringing the finalists back into the room and revealing Marshall was the winner.

"Congratulations, that was a beautiful collection," Garcia told Marshall.

(Photo credit Barbara Nitke/Bravo)


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