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'Project Runway' reveals season's Final 3 Fashion Week finalists


By Christopher Rocchio, 11/06/2009 

Project Runway's sixth-season finale spoiler was apparently right after all.

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Christopher Straub and Gordana Gehlhausen were both eliminated from Project Runway's sixth season during last night's broadcast of the Lifetime reality competition, leaving Althea Harper, Carol Hannah Whitfield and Irina Shabayeva to compete in the season's finale.

Althea, Carol Hannah and Irina's finale participations confirms a report from February -- when the sixth season's finale was filmed at New York Fashion Week -- in which some of the finale runway show's models had claimed all three of the season's finalists were women and two of them were blondes (Althea and Carol Hannah).

Last night's Project Runway broadcast began with the season's Top 5 finalists competing in their final runway challenge before Fashion Week. They traveled to Los Angeles' Getty Center, where they were greeted by L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.

Project Runway fashion guru Tim Gunn then explained their final challenge would require each designer to create an outfit that drew inspiration from the Getty Center.

After touring the center with their models for 30 minutes, the designers were given another 30 minutes to sketch their designs.  Once their sketching was done, they traveled to the fabric store and spent their $300 budgets on the materials needed for their creations. 

After spending two days working on their outfits, the designers presented them to the episode's judging panel --regular Project Runway judges Heidi Klum and Nina Garcia and guest judges Cynthia Rowley and Cindy Crawford.

Cindy called Althea -- a 24-year-old from Dayton, OH who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY -- "brave" to include a lot of pleating in her design since "it's probably one of your hardest patterns to make."  Cynthia said she saw the "architectural inspiration" on the skirt, but thought it seemed "a little ambitious."

"The skirt is a little overworked and the top is a little underworked," she added.

Nina agreed with Cynthia, and so did Heidi.

"It's a bit of a mess fest," she said.  "I'm a bit shocked to see this from you today. You bit off so much more than you could chew."

Irina -- a 27-year-old Republic of Georgia native who currently resides in New York, NY -- went next and Nina said her dress's back was "very pretty" but noted the length was "very old lady." 

Cindy said she liked the design's color and inspiration.

"But I felt the shoes for me were a big disconnect because they're so, so heavy that it takes away from the lightness of the fabric," she added before Heidi agreed the dress should be more simple.

"If you're going for simple, just make it what it is," said Cindy after Irina followed their cue and removed the model's shoes and accessories.

Gordana -- a 45-year-old from Yugoslavia who currently resides in San Diego, CA -- was the next to be critiqued, and Heidi said she saw the connection between the finalist's inspiration and design.

"It's a perfectly made dress," added Nina.  "My concern is that I still wonder if there is a moment where you can just really take a chance. A lot of what being a designer is is taking chances."

Cindy said she could see herself wearing Gordana's design because it looks "comfortable, beautiful and practical."

Cynthia said she didn't like the "big, chunky zipper" in the back.

"Not so great for the back, but beautiful from the front," added Nina.

Carol Hannah -- a 24-year-old from Anderson, SC who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY -- went next, and Cynthia thought her design's fit was "fantastic" and liked the detail on the shoulder.

"Originally when it came out I didn't get the inspiration, but I think it's a beautiful, well-executed dress," said Cindy.

Nina said her "only concern" was that Carol Hannah was "playing it very safe."

"It is perfect, but it is almost a safe perfection," added Nina.

Christopher -- a 30-year-old from St. Louis Park, MN who currently resides in  Shakopee, MN -- went last and Cynthia said she "loved" the design's top but thought it was "a little bit heavy" on the bottom.

"It seems like the fabric is a little bit heavy for a long skirt," she added, and Cindy agreed.

"It's so flattering -- that upper part -- but the stiffness of the skirt, it wasn't moving with her. The skirt has a life of its own," said Cindy.

Heidi then asked Christopher is he was "confident" in his design.

"This piece speaks more about me than any other piece I put down the runway," he said tearfully.  "Looking at all the other inspirations, they were these beautiful pieces of artwork. Mine was a rock with algae on it, and not everybody would see the beauty in that. That's me... those pieces together."

The judges then deliberated their decision before revealing Christopher and Gordana were eliminated.

"I have put myself out there, I have shown people what I can do, and if it's time for me to go then so be it," said Gordana. "I don't want to leave from here sad because I'm not in the Top 3. I want to leave as a proud person who came from nowhere and made it so far."

"I'm lucky I got to participate in every challenge," said Christopher. "Sure, I don't get to create a 12-look collection at Fashion Week. But I created a 12-look creation on the runway."

The first part of Project Runway's sixth-season finale will air on Thursday, November 12 at 10PM ET/PT before the winner is revealed the following Thursday at 10PM ET/PT.

(Photo credit Lifetime)


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