Project Runway just announced their Season 15 winner! The show that stars the incomparable Tim Gunn as the designer’s mentor, model Heidi Klum as host and judge, Nina Garcia, judge and Creative Editor for Marie Claire, acclaimed fashion designer Zac Posen round off the regular judges with Shake It Up star and fashion designer in her own right, Zendaya as the guest judge for this spectacular finale. Anyone who has not seen the finale nor wants spoilers please stop reading now and please return back once you have seen the finale on Lifetime. We don’t want to ruin the fun!
If you always thought that if you lived back in the 60s and would have dug Andy Warhol and the Velvet Underground, this season’s Project Runway is the litmus test. Considered a visionary and artist all the way to wacky and cartoonish, the controversial and innovative Erin Robertson was announced the winner of Project Runway Season 15.
The disruptive designer, originally from Provo, Utah and now from Boston MA, was selected from four finalists. Her finale collection was a tribute to innovation, color, and texture. Her fashion forward designs and aesthetic have a fresh look and her runway show entitled “Project Funway” emitted an aesthetically pleasing visual appeal. Yet, it is her small detailing is what she does best and packs the biggest punch. Her innovation with ornamentation such as fishing lures or laser-cut plexiglass discs that are sewn onto her dresses creates a soft rustle as the model walks by, adding more to the runway experience.
Her runway show demonstrated her mastery with color, her love of innovation and her sense of whimsy. Her models walked down the runway in tinted glasses, perhaps a hint of how Erin sees the world? Her fashion forward show paired yellow with pink, copper with reds, and ended with a shiny leather suit with a repeated design of a hand holding a banana.
Her obvious power color is yellow and nothing says Erin more than a banana! This is because Erin Robertson is not just a designer. She is an artist. Bananas on fabric is so absurdly cool. She has the sort of humor of an artist and disrupter like Andy Warhol. Her love of bananas is reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s Velvet Underground cover with a banana on it.
The late 60s band with Lou Reed, John Cale, and cool blonde Nico were all about the banana. Erin has brought back that sort of 60s artistic vibe to fashion.
Fans of Robertson who have been following her on Instagram have gotten such treats as her creative Madonna costume for Heidi’s Halloween party (was this a clue that Erin was the winner?) or her recent creation of fantasy shoes that are made of plexiglass, leather, and 3-D resin. These are the modern day Cinderella slipper!
While Erin has received praise from the Project Runway judges and leagues of fans, there are others who are haters. Critics like fashion bloggers Tom and Lorenzo have blasted some of Robertson’s looks as obviously inspired by the architectural innovation of Delpozo. While she has taken this inspiration, Erin has certainly made it her own, not unlike what author Austin Kleon preaches to artists of all mediums in his exceptional book “How To Steal Like An Artist.” In addition, no one had ever questioned Erin about this influence. In other seasons, designers have been called out for copying other designers.
Erin’s foray into fashion and design was not a straight forward shot. Early in the season, Robertson explained that she was a “half-Mormon” that lived a sheltered life and never watched television and had escaped Utah and went to live with her dad in Boston. There, she started to work at a dentist’s office where her boss there saw something special in her love of design. At her Tim Gunn visit, Erin explained how she was encouraged her to explore her design aesthetic. During the season Erin explained that she is a tactile designer and finds that in the unconventional challenges, she enjoys that creating her own “fabrics.” This is where she feels she can create real innovation.
In her recent conversation with Hollywood Life, Erin envisioned her design career as becoming much, much more. She has more future projects planned and this includes more with Project Runway and an undisclosed project with MIT.
“I really want to be a part of the next wave,”
Project Runway Season 15 started out with 16 designers and after a cornucopia of challenges, there were four designers who remained to show their collections at NYFW. These designers were Erin Robertson, Laurence Basse, Rik Villa, and Roberi Parra.
From early in Season 15, the obvious judge’s favorite has been Erin Robertson. Her use of bright colors like yellow and pinks, obviously made the editor eye of Nina Garcia just scream with joy. How many seasons has Nina screamed at the designers to use color? Every season.
During the season, three of the four final designers won two challenges, while Erin won three challenges, with two of these challenges being the fan favorite unconventional challenges. In fact, fans thought she should have won the final unconventional challenge as well.
Project Runway Season 15 may go down as the unconventional season. There have been a total of three unconventional challenges, which sandwiched the entire season. This included an unconventional party challenge to kick off the season and two back-to-back unconventional challenges, including an avant-garde twist in the first of the last two unconventional challenges, that ended the season to determine the final four finalists. This could be the very first Project Runway season where there has been no red carpet challenge nor have any gowns been made.
The Project Runway Season 15 group of designers has been a mainly “street” group, hand picked by Tim Gunn. Last season, Tim had expressed his dissatisfaction with Season 14 as he felt they were not “hungry” enough. Uncharacteristically, Gunn trashed the Season 14 winner, plus-sized designer Ashley Tipton for making “hideous” clothing. He thought glitzy designer Kelly Dempsey should have won because he felt she was more hungry, in a season of designers that were rather lazy in their work ethic.
Are you happy Erin Robertson was the winner of Project Runway Season 15? Who do you think should have won?
[Featured Image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images]