NEW YORK — After 14 seasons, Project Runway had a plus-size moment and it felt good.
While this season of the hit reality series is far from over, with 10 contestants still remaining in the competition, the work of only six were shown Friday at New York Fashion Week. Their names weren't revealed because, with the magic of editing, only three will be featured as "finalists" who show at fashion week in the final episode later this fall.
But — spoiler alert! — fans of the show could easily determine whose collection was whose, based on what went down the runway.
It was easy to pick out the work of Ashley Neil Tipton, the zaftig contestant who is easily the most compelling personality among the contestants, surviving snubs by a trio of mean girls and other slights thus far. Tipton has been a strong advocate for plus-size women and her collection featured 10 curvy models not usually seen on New York runways because of their size.
Tipton boldly sent the models out in sheer shirts and lace crop tops that expose the midriff, form-fitting gowns, patterned shorts and Carmen Miranda fruit headdresses. Despite some spotty sewing, it is a free-spirited collection, which clearly won over the audience that included celebrity judges Carrie Underwood, Kelly Osbourne and Glee's Matthew Morrison, now starring on Broadway in Finding Neverland.
Fans of the show could also spot the Indian influence in contestant Swapnil Shinde's work, with sequined sari-like gowns, the Goth vibe in Candice Cuoco's leather collection, the sexy forms of Edmund Newton and the '80s looks of questionable taste from Kelly Dempsey.
Cheryl Bemis, editor of Fashionably Austin, and I are not sure if Austin contestant Lindsey Creel has made the final six. Creel's aesthetic is clean and minimal and only one collection, featuring fitted trousers and crisp white cotton shirts that flow longer in the front, fit that definition. But they were accessorized by red hats on each model — a trademark of another contestant, Merline Labissiere.
Viewers will have to stay tuned to find out.