Friday, October 17, 2008

Project Runway Picked A Winner!

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The fashion world watched as Leanne, Korto and Kenley showed their collections under the tents of Bryant Park for New York Fashion Week. But four people, Project Runway judges Heidi Klum, Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and — surprise! — Tim Gunn, decided who was in and who was out of the competition.

SPOILER ALERT: Keep reading to find out the season 5 winner of Project Runway. And talk about the results.

Leanne Marshall, a 28-year-old from Portland, Ore., became the season 5 winner of Project Runway on Wednesday’s finale on Bravo.

Early on in the show, Marshall predicted her fate. “It’s a Project Runway first to have all three women in the finale and it’s pretty awesome,” she said of landing in the final three with Korto Momolu and Kenley Collins. “But I’m gonna be a fighter until I’m the last one standing on that stage.”

With a collection inspired by waves and a palette drawn from the colors of the ocean, the soft-spoken freelance designer — who was the last contestant to send her collection down the runway — said she was living a dream she had since she was 12 years old to make it to the famed tents of Bryant Park, which house New York Fashion Week.

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Despite a last-minute backstage snafu — an over-steamed shirt that stretched out and didn’t fit her muse model Tia — a poised Marshall told the crowd, “This is my beautiful collection. I’ve lost millions of hours of sleep over and I’m in love with it.”

Marshall’s collection featured clean, modern lines and a signature petal detail that in judge Nina Garcia’s words could be perceived as “one note.” Michael Kors added: “I’m just nervous that you’re gonna be known as the Queen of the Petals.”

Still, the judges — including Tim Gunn, who filled in as a last-minute replacement for guest judge Jennifer Lopez, whose foot injury prevented her from attending the Runway show — praised her for her sense of innovation, including the fact that half of her collection was made from eco-friendly fabrics.

“I’m extremely innovative — I’m doing new things in fashion,” Marshall told the judges in her final plea. “I really need to take it to the next level and I possess the talent and the ambition to do that.”

As the winner of Project Runway, Marshall won $100,000 in seed money to start her own fashion line. The graduate of The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco already has a two-year-old line called Leanimal.

And Marshall — who described her mood as “stoked” on her MySpace page — joked on her sign-off message on the finale that with “$100,000, drinks are on this brother!”

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