(And no, we are not talking about an especially plush model on the runway)
The judges knew they had to inject some excitement into the Season 7 finale, which was already looking to be sewn up by five-time challenge winner Emilio Sosa and his Dior-worshiping buddy Seth Aaron Henderson.
So they staged a tie-breaking sew-off between two totally-can't-stand-each-other contestants, Jay Nicolas Sario and Mila Hermanovski, for the coveted third spot at New York Fashion Week.
The Challenge: Working with a budget of $9,000, each designer finalist -- Sosa, Henderson, Sario and Hermanovski -- has four months to create a 10-piece collection to show to the judges at New York Fashion Week.
The Caveat: Sario and Hermanovski must each show three looks to the judges to determine who wins the third spot at Fashion Week.
Tim Gunn Racks Up the Frequent Flier Miles: Gunn visits each designer in their hometown as they prepare their collections.
Who cares about the clothes, though, for here is one of the season's highlights and a "Project Runway" first: Gunn awkwardly jumping on the Henderson family trampoline and screaming the words "fallopian tubes" during a game of Pictionary with the Henderson kids.
Next stop, "I Love New York and Myself," Emilio Sosa, who, as if scripted, clashes with Gunn about every aspect of his collection, including his decision to include another E. Sosa signature print. Gunn writes in his "PR" blog this week that he finds Sosa, and his narcissistic prints, arrogant.
Mila Hermanovski, Is in Los Angeles making clothes inspired by "shadows" in her go-to palette of black and white. Gunn suggests it's all a little matronly and retro. We want to loan her some erasable markers just so she can experiment with color, and to her credit she does get brave and add some aubergine. We learn that the designer actually lives in black and white: her dog, Ziggy, is spotted black and white and her boyfriend, Matthew, specializes in black and white photography.
Jay Nicolas Sario, is sewing clothes inspired by Japanese samurai warriors and Geisha girls (merged together) in San Francisco. Gunn loves some of what he sees but suggests a few of Sario's details are "cuckoo." "Cuckoo Chanel," Sario counters. Despite the sweet lunch Gunn shares with Sario's touching family of proud Filipino immigrants and his adorable partner, Rolando, he warns Sario to stop over-designing.
The Runway Show: It's Mila "The Shadow" versus Jay Nicolas and his "Geisha Warriors." Hermanovski's pieces are impeccable, but the only color comes in the form of aubergine eyeshadow on her models. Sario's clothes are more dramatic, but are all of the flawless details too much of a good thing?
The Judges Fret: Michael Kors votes for Sario. Heidi Klum is on team Hermanovski. The usually decisive Nina Garcia is torn. Time for a commercial.....
Who's In: Hermanovski gets the Fashion Week nod. "It just means the world to me," says the 40-year-old Hollywood costumer, who has long put her dreams of doing her own line on hold.
Noteworthy: The youngest of the finalists is 38-year-old Henderson. We've predicted a "mature" finale since the season's first episode.
Who's Out: Sario, who had been our sentimental long shot for the finals since early in the season.
And because StyleList had a chance to review the "Project Runway" finale show in February, we can tell you that Sario's 10-piece collection -- which he was allowed to show to serve as a decoy for the true finalists -- was a stand out.
From our vantage point, his flair for the dramatic made it work on the runway.