April 22, 2013

Project Runway: Getting to the Finale

In part one of the season finale for Project Runway's eleventh season, the four remaining designers get $10,000 to produce a 12-piece fall collection to be considered for New York Fashion Week. This is a huge moment for all four of the finalists, including Native American fashion designer Patricia Michaels.

The final four head home, work on their collections, and get special hometown critiques from Tim Gunn.

It's always interesting to see where these designers come from - we get to meet their families, see their homes and work spaces, and get behind-the-scenes access to preview their collections. For this season, we get an even bigger treat (in my opinion, ha) and we get to visit Taos Pueblo, Patricia's home.

Stereotypical flute music aside, I was pumped to see beautiful Taos Pueblo on the big screen (with rez dogs and all!). "Ever since I got back," Patricia explains, "It has been a wonderful time to just find myself again in my own peaceful existence."

We get to meet Patricia's family, including her adorable (yet strong!) mom, and we get to see Tim Gunn eat a Pueblo feast in Patricia's childhood adobe home (I was totally jealous of him when I saw the yummy spread).

We learn that many members of her family are active participants in the Taos Pueblo ceremonies as singers or dancers, and critical to their participation are the outfits and regalia that they wear during ceremony. "Being raised and being taken care of here, gave me the strength to be able to go out in the world."

In her studio, Tim states, "I am overwhelmed by this visit today - by seeing your background, your present, and I just feel I know so much more about you and about where your whole collection is coming from and it's a wonderful, wonderful feeling. You've really given me an epiphany about you."

After the home visits, the final four designers then head back to New York to present three preview pieces to Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia and Zac Posen to solidify their place to compete at fashion week.

Patricia showed a handpainted eagle feather modernist dress (above), horsehair cape with lightning storm pattern (below), and a blue dress with handmade large micaceous sequins with female roach headdress (bottom).

In the judges discussions, Nina continues to go against Patricia, but two of the judges made significant comments. Zac Posen remarked "She [Patricia] has the most potential," and, upon telling Patricia that she made the final 3, Heidi told her, "If you do this right, you can win this."