February 8, 2008 / 7:27 PM / 10 years ago

"Project Runway" finalists show at NY Fashion Week

NEW YORK (Reuters Life!) - Project Runway's final five designers showed their collections on Friday as New York's Fashion Week wrapped up, each hoping to wow judges and win the hit cable show's fourth season.

After a season spent competing in tasks ranging from designing a prom dress to turning out new looks for women who had lost weight, contestants Christian, Rami, Chris, Jillian and Sweet P each showed 12 looks meant to nab the Bravo show's top prize of $100,000, a new car, a fashion magazine spread -- and priceless media attention.

While nearly a third of the show's original 16 contestants showed at the Bryant Park tents, one and possibly more will likely be eliminated by judges who include designer Michael Kors in as-yet unaired episodes prior to the two-part finale beginning on February 27.

The guest judge for the "Project Runway" shows was former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham.

First up was Sweet P, the tattooed Los Angeles-based designer, whose feminine looks featured gauzy tops and dresses with tiered ruffles, in mostly muted fall tones glittering with sparkle and sheen.

Audience favorite Chris March, a New York based costume designer often criticized by the judges for turning out looks deemed more costume than fashion, showed gowns, dresses and velvet pants in deep, saturated reds, rich blues and black.

Long Island native Jillian's clothes featured more casual looks -- heavier wool knits and cottons including a nubby black sweater paired with tailored camel pants. Among her more formal looks, bustiers topped pleated gowns in shimmering black.

Israeli native Rami Kashou, who has created red carpet gowns for Jessica Alba, Penelope Cruz and Paris Hilton, hewed closely to the elegant, intricate designs that were his trademark on the show. Pants and skirts were rendered in sculpted rose fabric, while a basket-weave topped gown gave way to graceful draping. Fabric was quilted, sculpted and draped for an off-the shoulder top worn with tailored slacks.

The show's youngest contestant, 21-year-old Christian, drew applause for his complex collection rendered heavily in black marked by ruffled tops and skirts. Sculpted jackets topped sharply pegged pants worn with wide belts, while perhaps the day's most dramatic piece was a brown and beige dress featuring rows of meticulously crafted vertical ruffles.

"I think that was the best finale that we've ever had," the show's host and co-creator Heidi Klum told the enthusiastic crowd, which included past winners and other veterans as well as its executive producer Harvey Weinstein, "Top Chef" host Padma Lakshmi and model Tyson Beckford.

The hit show has weighed heavily in cable network Bravo's rising fortunes and spawned a slew of copycat shows, mostly notably "Top Chef."

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