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Project Runway Season 13 Winner - Sean Kelly!

Updated on October 31, 2014
Sean Kelly poses with his winning collection
Sean Kelly poses with his winning collection | Source

And the Winner Is... Sean Kelly

When Season 13 started, I was immediately drawn to some of the contestants. I was happy to see Amanda come back, she was a great designer in season 11, making it all the way to New York Fashion Week. I was a fan of Carrie Sleutskaya, though it didn't seem like she was going to make it to the end. I was a fan of Kini Zamora, though you didn't really know just how brilliant he was until about episode six. I was a fan of f├Ąde zu grau, and was sad to see him ousted. I think everyone was. But my top pick from day one was Sean Kelly. I felt so inspired by his designs that I started my blog series following the season with a post My Pick for Project Runway Season 13 Sean Kelly

The Road to the Runway is Long and Bumpy

Sean had his ups and downs during the season. He started off near the middle in episode one, which featured a challenge where the contestants were to create a design out of fabric that they were given in a trunk. Episode two featured the Unconventional Movie Night, where designers were tasked at making a design out of materials found in a movie theater. Sean created an amazing look made out of straws that were still in their wrappers. It was also the first time we saw him making a look out of fringe (if you can call straws fringe!).

Episodes three and four had me on the edge of my seat as Sean landed in the bottom three. 'Make it stop!' I screamed at my TV, and it did. Episode 5 the designers were tasked to make a look that could be worn by Heidi in a red carpet event, and Sean won the challenge.

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Project Runway Season 13
Project Runway Season 13

Watch Project Runway Season 13 episodes Instantly on Amazon.


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Episode 6 was also a winning challenge for Sean. Teamed up with Kini for a task where they were to create an alternative wedding dress and corresponding look for the reception, there was no way this team was going to lose. Episode seven the designers were to create looks to complement some stunning jewelry. Sean landed in the top three for this challenge with a beautiful ball gown, but it was Korina Emmerich who won the challenge.

Episode 8 was game changing episode. The designers were to create a look that would be shown on a special runway - called the 'Rainway'. Sean's look for this episode was a plain-ish white sundress. However, when the rain hit it, hidden pockets of RIT dye began to transform the dress into something else. It was a special project runway moment, and a great win for Sean.

Unfortunately Sean went from the top to the bottom. In episode 9, the designers created a look based off of an American Girl Doll. Sean's design missed the mark, and he was almost eliminated for it. He moved back into the top three in episode 12 when the designers created designs out of past losing looks. Sean's design based on Sandhya's elimination American Girl Doll challenge look seemed like vindication.

Design number four of Sean Kelly's Winning ten piece collection
Design number four of Sean Kelly's Winning ten piece collection | Source

The Final Four

The final four designers for Project Runway Season 13 ended up being Amanda Valentine, Kini Zamora, Char Glover, and Sean Kelly. Char was a surprise to me, I thought Emily would have been the one to move on from the final five, but it didn't really matter because I was squarely in Camp Sean for the win. I will admit that I was nervous for him though, Amanda had been a judge favorite and Kini's designs and skills were amazing. In fact, both Amanda and Kini had been in the top 3 more than Sean.

The four designers were treated to a trip to Rome to get their inspiration for their fashion week collection.After the trip to Rome, the designers headed back to their hometowns to create their collections. Tim Gunn came to visit, give critiques and help guide the designers down their path. Once the designers returned to New York, they were treated to a Preview Runway show, where they showed looks from their collection for the judges to critique. If there were any changed needed, there would only be one day to make them.

Sean pulled his inspiration from the Rise and Fall of Ceasar. His collection showcased alluring and sophisticated designs that gradually introduced black as Ceasar's choices became compromised and then orange as the carnage and backstabbing began and ended.During the preview runway, the judges had little to offer other than to not use fringe on every look.

Char purchased some fabric while in Rome for her collection, but her inspiration came from the city of Detroit instead. The city is currently undergoing a revitalization from an economic slump. The vibrant women of Detroit became her muse for a collection that was youthful, funky, and fun. The judges didn't receive it as that during the preview runway though. Instead they wanted her to allow the models to 'loosen up a bit' and encouraged her to inject some of her own personal style into the collection. She was encouraged to update the collection, but that will be hard with only one day left.

Design six of Sean Kelly's winning Project Runway Collection
Design six of Sean Kelly's winning Project Runway Collection | Source

Amanda's collection was very inspired by Rome. She was inspired by the large chunky old buildings with their old world design that were then infused with color from graffiti, art posters, and the people on the streets. She incorporated all of that into her collection with geometrical blocks splashed with color. She also designed all of the accessories that accompanied her collection. The judges received her collection well in the preview, and Zac Posen thought the jewelry was phenomenal. Heidi and Nina also had many good things to say, but encouraged her to amp up the sophistication.

Kini commented that it took awhile for him to find his inspiration, thinking that he needed to make pieces that had an ease and simplicity to them. It wasn't until he came to the realization that ease and simple was not who he was as a designer that he was able to visualize his collection. Going back to his design aesthetic of using denim, each of his garments was exceptionally crafted. It was a huge surprise to Kini and the other contestants when the judges reacted very unfavorably to the collection, calling it 'very old lady', 'too serious', and the judges all agreed that the styling needed to be reworked head-to-toe. With only an day left, reworking the entire collection and redoing the styling, Kini had his hands full.

Final Results

Kini pulled it off. His updated collection was young and hip, but it wasn't enough. Kini came in third, while char came in fourth. Amanda and her amazing accessories and chic bohemian designs helped her claim the runner up position, and Sean Kelly claimed the title of top designer of Project Runway Season 13. Congrats Sean!

Sean Kelly's finale dress - Project Runway Season 13 winning collection.
Sean Kelly's finale dress - Project Runway Season 13 winning collection. | Source


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