I'm going to skip the moments from the cast reunion and all the build-up. Last night's episode came to a shocking end (clearly this is a Spoiler Alert!). For the first time ever, I looked at the collections online before the show. I've always waited to enjoy seeing them during the show for the first time, but I'm on a tight timeline to write this recap so I wanted to make the images ahead of time.
After looking at the three top collections in still photos, I saw an obvious winner. I strongly disliked Gretchen's collection. Andy's disappointed me. Mondo's blew me away. When I saw the shows in motions with the music and detail shots, my opinions changed slightly.
Gretchen had some nice styling and few pretty dresses, but, overall, it was boring. I've not only seen it before, but I've also purchased it, wore it some, and donated it to Goodwill before. The granny panties were unacceptable. These earn any designer a "Go To Jail" Card. She should not have passed "Go" or collected any sum of money. I firmly believed Michael C should have had this spot. The only item I liked was the wide leg shiny pair of pants.
Andy's collection was so much better on TV than in pictures. There was a light, airy feel to the whole show. The fabric moved wonderfully. The polka dot pant look was a big "no" for me, and he needed more color in his collection. (Our live blog group thought blue and orange were good ideas). However, I liked his opening look and his closing look a lot. I also liked his headpieces, but the judges didn't share that opinion.
Mondo was an obvious choice to win. He didn't play it safe. He went all out. Even after the judges said they didn't like some of his stuff (the awesome polka dot dress), he stuck to his vision. I want the skull bag, and I need the skull shirt. He was playful, fun, vibrant and creative with his entire collection. The boxy mod dress was the only piece that felt out of place and odd to me. The rest of it was so much fun. New York Fashion Week was terribly boring this season. Mondo provided a bright spot and a hope for fun in fashion's future.
The judges quickly eliminated Andy. I agree that he played it safe, had too much grey and lost his way a bit, but I don't think he can be so quickly written off. The judges thought the collection needed to be edgier and have more bite. His collection was inspired by a Buddhist park in Laos. It shouldn't bite. It was calm and serene. There is nothing wrong with that.
It came down to Gretchen and Mondo. To me, that seemed like no contest, but then the judges started talking. They (mostly Nina and Michael) thought the collection was so commercial, so fashion forward, so wearable, so effortless, and even so editorial (?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?). They liked Mondo's vibrancy and agreed he could be editorial too. (Are they only reading US Vogue? Is Marie Claire this boring?). Heidi and guest judge, Jessica Simposon (huh?), really loved Mondo's work and wanted to wear it all. In fact, they love the polka dot dress so much they wanted to both wear it to the same party. Few garments inspire Hollywood types to play twinsies.
Nina and Michael became irate. They called Mondo's collection to costume-y, juvenile and showy. They yelled at Heidi, who yelled back in defense of Mondo. While they praised Gretchen's separates and never once address those horrible panties-as-pants, they refused to see Mondo's collection for it's separate pieces. They said his over-the-top styling somehow ruined everything. Clearly, they hate it when people put on a show.
In the end, Gretchen.... I don't know if I can even type those words. Gretchen.....won.
Sure, some of her pieces would sell great at Urban Outfitters, but she actually had truly atrocious pieces in her collection. Her styling was tasteful, but the show wasn't interesting, challenging or even fun. I hate critics like Michael and Nina who insist everyone has to fit into the "what's going on in fashion" mold. From their comments last night, its as if it would be better if we all looked the same, looked boring and never did anything too out there. How dare we have fun with fashion?!
Mondo really created something. Was it the greatest thing to happen in fashion? No. Was it the greatest thing to happen this season? Oh yes it was! His ability to mix prints made Gretchen's attempts at print mixing look like her model got dressed in the dark. He didn't reference the 70s, girls on the street or other designers. He ran with his inspiration and put on a show. He deserved this win. I wish they guest judge would have been a stronger personality to help Heidi fight for Mondo. Michael and Nina need some sort of fashion rehab. I don't understand how they could declare Gretchen the winner of Project Runway Season 8.
Does anyone else feel like we're being punked? Who should have won last night? And, what does all of this mean for the future of Project Runway?