Marc Jacobs might have been the hottest ticket in town for the fashion set, but don’t tell that to the millions who tune in to “Project Runway” every week to watch fledgling designers try to “make it work” for a German supermodel and her panel of snarky judges. Exhibit A: Bryant Park at 9 a.m. on Friday, when the tents were besieged by a crowd of 900 for the reality series’ fashion show — and fourth-season finale. In addition to the ghosts of “Runway”‘s past (including winners Jay McCarroll, Chloe Dao and Jeffrey Sebelia), camera-wielding fans craned for photos of the show’s executive producer Harvey Weinstein, as well as reality VIPs like Padma Lakshmi (“Top Chef”), Miss Universe Riyo Mori (“Pageant Place”), Ally Hilfiger (“Rich Girls”), and Tyson Beckford and Niki Taylor (“Make Me a Supermodel”).
No sooner had Klum and show judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia (Tim Gunn was noticeably absent) materialized in the front row than a collective gasp signaled the appearance of the surprise guest panelist: Victoria Beckham. When the lights dimmed, the five remaining contestants (when the finale airs later this month, only the final three designers’ collections will be broadcast) presented their wares to mixed results. First was “Sweet P,” née Kathleen Vaughn, whose aesthetic was hard to pin down amid ill-fitting dresses and separates, which ranged from a Seventies shirtdress to a clownish ombré chiffon top tucked into high-waisted tartan pants. Next, Chris March waxed early Nineties, sending out a deep-blue halter dress silk-screened with a jumbo portrait, as well as frocks that employed velvet and lacy beadwork detailing to a very Angela Chase effect. Jillian Lewis, who was a designer and illustrator at Ralph Lauren prior to her “Runway” stint, showed some serious skill with her knitwear. Some of her clothes, though, often resembled those of her former boss, or, in the case of plumed hats and cavalry bent, last season’s Proenza Schouler. As for Rami Kashou, he wove, folded and draped muted fabrics every which way. And making ever clear his couture aspirations, Christian Siriano delivered the final drama with puffy sleeves, belted pirate jackets and several layered organza confections, most notably a cream-and-brown organza puff that, based on the audience’s oohs and ahhs, stole the show.