Judges push Zamora to tears
This week, the final four designers — Char Glover, Sean Kelly, Amanda Valentine and Hawaii's Kini Zamora — were told they have $9,000 to spend and five weeks to create a 10-piece collection for New York Fashion Week, which in reality took place Sept. 5.
'PROJECT RUNWAY' SEASON 13
Episode 13: Finale Part 1
Co-hosts Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum announced that they will be setting them up for success on the global stage by giving them some inspiration, and with the help of the Best Western hotel chain, the designers — none of them well-traveled — were sent jetting off to Rome.
Duly inspired, the designers retreated to their homes to create before Tim arrived for his critique.
During Tim's home visit with Kini, he marveled over the quality of Kini's designs. Kini said his collection was slow coming. I think with all the pressure over Fashion Week, he was probably overthinking it, which tends to stifle creativity.
Gunn finally had the opportunity to meet Kini's family, and he and his mother Valerie explained that he was destined to make his family proud. Valerie said, "That's how he got his name." His full Hawaiian name, Kini'okahokuloa, means "king of the morning star."
Then Tim is in for a treat, with a full luau with music, hula and food in the family's back yard. It isn't over before the usual starchy Tim performs a series of 'ami, or hip rotations. Combined with his adventures with Ari (then Andy) South, he's becoming well-versed in living local!
After Gunn completed all his home visits, it was time for the designers to return to New York. As soon as they saw each other, they were eager to see all collections and they are as different as the personalities involved.
Eventually, Tim arrived to report the judges wanted a preview of three looks from their collections right away. In the past, this has meant that the low-scoring designer would be eliminated ... but not this time. Before starting the runway show, Klum told the designers the critiques will help them present their final show.
There's much praise for Sean and Amanda's collections. Char's is the weakest. But I was shocked when the judges saved their worst criticism for Kini's collection. I thought they were well-suited to high-end designer stores like Bergdorf Goodman, Sak's and Neiman Marcus. But, I guess the bulk of the population does not shop high-end designer and they're seeking wider appeal for populist relevance. The judges deemed the styling "old lady" and advised him to change the styling and some of the pieces.
Given the time crunch and the overwhelming feeling of having to make changes this late in the game, Kini was reduced to tears.
But I have the feeling it was a bit of a subterfuge for storyline, because his collection was strong and can only get stronger with a few tweaks, including losing the "all bells and whistles" coat as the judges suggested.
Nadine Kam is Style Editor and staff restaurant critic at the Honolulu Star-Advertiser; her coverage appears in print on Wednesdays and Thursdays. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter, Instagram and Rebel Mouse.