Project Runway Season 17 Redeemed Itself With That Fierce Finale

Project Runway Season 17 2019 final three Hester Garo Sebastian and models Bravo

I have been tough on Project Runway Season 17. Halfway through the 2019 season, I wasn't sold on the new judges or the great Christian Siriano as post-Tim Gunn mentor, and I wasn't happy with how some of the decisions had played out. But after last night's Thursday, June 13 finale, I am sold.

I'm not an "all's well that ends well" person, but there's no question a reality competition show with a good winner can elevate the whole season. Project Runway Season 17 ended with two very strong collections (and some good pieces from Gary Sparo), and ended with the right winner: Sebastian Grey.

Just about every fan poll before the Project Runway Season 17 finale leaned toward Sebastian Grey as the winner, with the Colombian born designer getting a lot of support out there. He truly seemed to be in a league of his own. However, I have to give props to Hester Sunshine for her solid finish.

I know her aesthetic is not everyone's cup of tea, but you know a Hester design the minute you see it, and she does have a lot of fans out there who would wear her stuff. You might even be able to afford her stuff, because I have a feeling Sebastian's meticulously crafted pieces will go for thousands upon thousands.

Not only did we get the "right" winner, in my opinion, the finale showed how comfortable, confident, funny, and just plain right Christian Siriano has become as the mentor. He's not a new version of Tim Gunn, the Project Runway Season 4 winner is entirely his own fierce self. He brings his attitude, and he brings tough love. I loved his withering sarcasm at Sebastian for going to Mood for threads. (They could at least say they were going to Mood to try for a good luck pat from Swatch.)

I also appreciated how Project Runway Season 17 brought back some old school favorites like watching the final designers choose their models. But we also got some new twists, like having the full cast and the finalists' favorites sitting behind the final 3 when the winner was called. (They didn't announce the runner-up on screen, unless I missed it in the excitement. I kinda teared up looking at Sebastian's husband be so proud. It seems obvious Hester was second place, though.)

Hester seemed to be the judges' favorite for most of the season, and with print-loving Diane von Furstenberg as the finale guest judge, it seemed like maybe the win would lean in Hester's direction. (DVF better give Hester a job, like she said she would.) But host/judge Karlie Kloss basically wore a dress to the finale that looked like it could've been in Sebastian's leather-based collection, so that couldn't have hurt.

Check out all of the Project Runway Season 17 finale collections at Bravo's official site.

There are still some things Project Runway can work on, including the fashion industry rethinking some terms completely, but overall I'm won over and hopeful for the direction of the franchise from here.

Project Runway just returned to Bravo after several years on Lifetime, so I have to imagine Bravo won't let it go so easily. I still miss Tim Gunn and Heidi Klum, but the good news is that they have their own fashion show coming to Amazon. In January, they issued a casting call for fashion designers, so we'll have to see how that turns out. The more the merrier, I say, even if it's hard to imagine there's really a place in the fashion industry for ALL of these designers.

So stay tuned for any and all updates on Project Runway Season 18. In the meantime, keep up with everything coming to TV this summer 2019 with our handy guide. Are you happy with who won Season 17? Vote in our poll below.

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Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.