Emilio Sosa's runway show was the first time all black women walked the runway in a Project Runway finale. Emilio told the panel of judges that his idea of beauty is black women and black skin.
Because Emilio’s point of view is far left of the center, many viewers perceived Emilio as arrogant. Emilio is a minority in fashion industry dominated by white designers and his Urban Plantation collection was a resounding statement about what Emilio Sosa believes.
Emilio Sosa designs with colors from bright yellow to burnt shades of orange. Emilio’s strong African, urban American aesthetic flatters women with darker skin. At judging, Isaac Mizrahi congratulated Emilio on his “political” runway show. Instead of a gracious thank you Isaac, Emilio went off the deep end with his explanation (black skin is beautiful).
It is probably the first time Project Runway producers, creators, and judges have had to sympathize with what it must mean for a black designer to compete in a competition with others who do not look like him or share his cultural and historical legacy and experience.
While throngs of African American women, Emilio’s targeted consumer base, will appreciate and adore Emilio for his political runway show and collection for working women, the ode to blackness on the runway may have turned off the two guest judges.
Liv Tyler and another model whose first and last name begin with M, and whose native language isn’t English, but some other European language must have felt a little excluded by Emilio’s race pride.
Liv liked Emilio’s work, only a little. In fact, she looked threatened by it. The other model and actress whose first and last name begins with an M, said Emilio’s work wasn’t experimental enough.
But for Emilio, the opportunity to tell his story and present his show was all the win he needed. And that was great for Emilio because the first go round, Emilio was heartbroken that judges Nina Garcia, Heidi Klum and Michael Kors didn’t choose his collection for the win in the finale.
Emilio Sosa delivered an interesting and urban runway show. Even if his clothes weren't the most universal, his runway show was far more dynamic than his competition. Urban Plantation was a clever collection from Sosa, but it wasn't enough for defeat ‘Anthony Ryan’s classic lines and modern design.
Check out pictures of Emilio's collection here.
photo credit: Project Runway/Lifetime