Season 11 Project Runway Winner – Lone Wolf Michelle Lesniak Franklin

Ok, I put my hands up…I love watching Project Runway (I try to be cool but I totally fail) and I am a little bit gutted that this season is over.  I have to admit that I was not too surprised at the winner (usually I find it a bit more of a closer call) being Michelle Lesniak Franklin as her collection was probably the most realized in concept as well as being more commercial (I hate to use that word for a runway show but it is a factor…)

Patricia (gosh I love an eccentric), though I love her quirkiness, her pieces were over worked and I really did not see the woman that she was designing for.  I have to admit I loved the wacky horse hair hair pieces and the poncho but some of the other pieces were like a hippy nightmare.  Sidney (who had been one of my favourites) produced some great individual pieces and has impeccable silhouettes but if even Michael Kors says that your looks were old fashioned and matronly…you really do need to “get younger” with your styling.

I appreciated the theme behind Michelle’s collection – the lone wolf hunting for her last kill.  I always appreciate the slightly dark and macabre side of life (hence my penchant for watching programmes about crime, serial killers and those things that go bump in the night – a side note did everyone watch Hemlock Grove?)  She also always stuck behind her designs and was vocal in expressing her thoughts (who can forget her defence of her Van Halen-esque look?)  I totally related to her outsider point of view about not being part of the popular crowd and being a little bit weird.  (I loved her tartan punky take on the prom dress which I referenced for a recent shoot using Superga shoes)

Michelle was also smart about her resources.  She connected with knitwear designer and fellow season 11 competitor Joe Aaron Segal to get her wolf print (which I actually think is pretty cool) realised and to use his expertise and technology to get things done.


Michelle Lesniak Franklin’s Lone Wolf Knit

Michelle’s finale collection was all about the strong woman who is unafraid to get a bit dirty and bloody.  I liked the “Bleeding Heart” jumper with the sleeves that looked like they were dipped in blood.


Michelle Lesniak Franklin’s Bleeding Heart Knit

I do agree that her silhouettes are not necessarily the most flattering for most women.  Also, she did tend to over accessorize. My golden moment for this episode was Zac Posen saying  (sic) “…don’t call them that dear, no woman wants saddle bags in THAT area…” (referencing the rather cool detachable bags Michelle had designed).


One of My Favourite Pieces…Quilted Black Coat with THAT Saddle Bag…

Michelle’s collection featured a lot of quilting and leather work which emphasized the strong woman theme and gave a feeling of armor.  I also really appreciated that she paid attention to the crtique from the judges and added a vibrant yellow to her collection.


Three of My Favourite Elements from Lesniak Franklin’s Collection: Vibrant Yellow, Quilting and Leather

So well done Michelle and I look forward to seeing what you come up with in the future…Bring on Project Runway Season 12!!


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