Maya was 13 years old when this show began filming, and turned 14 halfway through its run. The youngest contestant on the program, she isn’t just good. She’s a phenom. Kelly called her a genius, and she not wrong. When these pieces came out of the bags last week, I was stunned at how much better they were than the other three collections. But what I didn’t realize until seeing them walk how much better her collection was than anything that walked the runway for Project Runway proper. Certainly better than Season 14’s finale, and even maybe better than anything we saw in Season 13’s finale as well. It took bringing in Children, but Project Runway finally found that creativity well that seemed to have run dry.
I heard whines about the cape from the judges, but they need to be the hell quiet. The boning structure she created for the back is simply superb. And putting it with the black minidress heightened the impact.
As I said in my review of Peytie’s line, I would have swapped her and Samantha and put Samantha third. Why? Well, partly this is a subjective choice. I like girly hippie things. I am not into the unisex militaristic tomboy look that Samantha was stuck on from her first day to her last. Moreover, I thought that Aya’s diagnosis during the finale that she had asked for Samantha 2.0 and the girl simply hadn’t delivered–Christian agreed, it felt like they had seen that jacket from her ten times in ten weeks–was far more damning than anything they said about Peytie. It should have prevented her to get in the Top Two.
All that being said, and considering how far behind Samantha was compared to everyone else, this collection is so well made, and so polished. And it’s so cohesive and on point of view. This *is* who Samantha is at 16.
I was really surprised when the judges revealed in the final deliberations that Peytie had nearly gone home several times over during the competition. By the halfway mark of the season, I had her marked as a shoo-in for the finale. She knew her point of view and her girl–California born again hippie–and she stuck to it, to great success through out the season. I actually think she should have been in the final two.
But perhaps it was that she hewed so closely to exactly that look that she was put out third? Like Zachary, she was aiming for something that might have been a little beyond her. And there were things that didn’t work so well. I loved the hand painted gold pattern on the leather. I hated it in this fringed form, like she has above. That was I suppose Peytie’s problem. When she was married to something, she was stuck on it, for good or ill.
As I said in my recap, Zachary’s collection was the one with the most visible construction issues of the four lines that walked. That’s because unlike his other three competitors, he reached the farthest in his collection. Evening wear is not easy. Red carpet gowns are hard. Zachary wanted to do what Christian Siriano or Zac Posen, or hell, Karl Lagerfeld do in three months with a full-time staff. It wasn’t going to happen.
Still, for all the faults we find in these outfits, the scale of the ambition could not be denied. There was a reason the judges and Tim pushed him into the finale, and there was a reason tat he also went out fourth. It was worth it to see what he could do (and considering the other three collections, there was real value in having it as part of the show. But the faults in each outfit (like the way the back of the one above falls) is why it would never win.