Picks and Pans Review: Behind the Scenes at ...

updated 03/10/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 03/10/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

THE PROJECT RUNWAY FINALE

Yes, Christian, it was fierce. After all the draping, denim and drama, the top designers debuted their collections Feb. 8 at New York Fashion Week (March 5 on Bravo). PEOPLE's Rennie Dyball got the backstage scoop.

CHRISTIAN SIRIANO Even the favorite can get butterflies. "I kind of gave up backstage," he says. "I wanted to win so bad that I second-guessed myself. On the show I'm confident, but it's more to be funny. I never thought I'd make it to the end." Still, seeing his show on a monitor, he admits, "I was like, 'This is fabulous!'"

JILLIAN LEWIS "I couldn't believe I made it all," says Lewis of her clothes. "I was really satisfied." But one thing threw her: "I was nervous about the microphone. With public speaking, I usually say something stupid!"

CHRIS MARCH As his show began, "I just wanted to sit down by myself and explode," he says. "But Tim Gunn grabbed me and made me watch it. He said, 'Take this all in—it's fantastic.'"

RAMI KASHOU "Being backstage felt like you were in a crowded elevator ... a lot of sensory overload," says Kashou. "I was so tired after 1.5 hours of sleep. It was like an out-of-body experience."

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