The Day Project Runway Died

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?


Anonymous said…
I completely agree. It was underwhelming and disappointing. Mondo was the clear front runner all season. It was so blah, I almost didn't watch the whole show. Anyone else would have been SLAMMED for those granny panties, so I think the producers intervened becaused they wanted Gretchen to win. That's the only logical solution. So much for talent.
Cari Lyons said…
Sorry, I hit the anonymous button by mistake!
Catie D. said…
I am so epically disappointed in Gretchen's win. Not only did her holier than thou attitude make her undeserving, but her clothing was downright ugly. To have those four judges actually commend her for keeping an out out for future "hot" fashion actually insulting. This looks like the dresses my mother used to wear when she was a size 24. It looked like someone who lived in NYC on a hot hot day after digging in their garden and...ugh! I can't even type coherently! The only ONLY thing I liked in her collection was the fedoras. That's it. Even the jewelry has been done before.

That line was not fashion forward at all. Nothing Gretchen has ever done is fashion forward.

I agree completely, Michael C. should've taken her spot.


THat's all =(
Anonymous said…
I was FURIOUS. Gretchen had a decent collection, yes, but she didn't deserve to win.
Zuqueta said…
I totally agree that Gretchen's line was horrible. The music. The prints were God Awful! I felt like Michael and Nina just wanted a women to win. I thought Andy lost his way as well! I would have loved to see what Michael C would have done. I don't understand at all why they did not pick Mondo. I think the show lost a little credibility with this decision.

Anonymous said…
I was absolutely floored when Gretchen won, especially considering that the judges had basically panned her 3-look mini-show and her full show was just more of the same.

I personally love Andy's aesthetic but knew he wouldn't win. But Mondo? He mixes prints, he mixes colors, he creates bold, interesting pieces... he puts on a SHOW.

I just don't understand how Gretchen could have won, but I've been surprised by quite a few of the judges' best/worst choices this year. The results probably won't stop me from watching next season, but I'll certainly be a bit less enthused about it.
Jael Paris said…
Got to say, I love Andy's collection.

Regarding Nina and Michael's comments about Mondo, do they hate Betsy Johnson too? Geez, what do they think of John Galliano if they're anti "costumey" and "showy"?
Fish Monkey said…
Agreed. Contepmpt for the public and traditionalism didn't help jusdging this season. I wrote about the descent into the lowest common denominator a few weeks back, here, in case you might find it interesting:

Cait Throop said…
Unbelievable! Gretchen's looks were sooooo granny!! Mondo was the clear winner throughout and I thought his show was fabulous and fun and full of energy! I can't believe Michael and Nina were saying the things they were saying about Gretchen's look..."fashion forward"???? I saw those granny dresses in the 70s and the prints were terribly boring. While Mondo's separates were to die for and I love his polkadot long dress! What were they thinking...
IslandLover said…
Hi! I'm Ann from last night :-) And YES I completely agree with your post. I was so disappointed that Gretchen won, especially with those granny panties. Mondo was, without a doubt, the clear winner and I think the majority of people watching last night would also agree.

I honestly don't know what Michael & Nina are smoking. I was so disappointed to see Heidi being bullied into agreeing that Gretchen was somehow "fashion-forward" and "editorial." Gretchen's aesthetic is so boring and redundant and the last thing from being "editorial." Those granny panties were ATROCIOUS and any other designer would have been attacked for making those! There has to be something going on with the producers and the judges picking favorites because I agree, Michael C. should have taken her spot. There's nothing from her collection that stood out to me that I wanted to run out and buy.

But Mondo's....every piece was interesting and fun and wearable and absolutely editorial. I would LOVE that skull shirt and that purse! For someone with so much talent, who did so well all season long, and was quite literally a breath of fresh air, it was infuriating to see Mondo lose. He was being criticized for doing exactly what he was asked to do all season long. He stuck with his vision and his line was authentic and original and he absolutely deserved the win.

Not to mention....Mondo won 3 challenges in a row which is a first in Project Runway history. He deserved the big win because he's BETTER than everyone else!

After last night's debacle, I am completely put off by Nina & Michael and I don't look forward to watching any more "fixed" shows.

It just wasn't fair for Mondo.
Fanya said…
I had a better opinion of Gretchen cuz I LOVED the styling and overall the collection was good. I did not understand why NONE of the judges commented on the granny panties! c'mon! There were at least 3 of them in there and no one objected! Seriously?!?!?!

I love Mondo's show. I can see it's sorta Forever21, but when Nina and Kors start bashing it, my brain was screaming "Miu miu! Miu Miu! Miu Miu!" I don't see how it is more costumy than Betsy Johnson or more junior than Miu Miu
Fanya said…
p.s. I also don't like Gretchen's outfit, the black underwear showing dress. I didn't think it's Gretchen's style.

...then I remembered the granny panties she designed...and I'm not surprised anymore
Anonymous said…
I agree with EVERYTHING you said. And I'm DONE with watching this show. The judges are getting more vicious, and the drama seems manufactured and forced. The entire season seemed very emotionally manipulative toward the audience. The Finale was really the final straw for me.
Su said…
I feel Mondo was robbed! He was the clear winner from the first challenge throughout the entire season. Some of Gretchen's clothes were alright and I liked the print she used. How did the judges allow those granny panties?!? During the challenges they would have blasted her for them and at the finale they said nada?? What?? They also compared his work to Seth Aaron's. Isn't that good? Plus, his construction and design were awesome like Seth's but they were totally different than his. Did you see Mondo's exit interview? He also felt he was the clear winner.
I am in utter amazement the judges gave away Mondo's prize. Such a disappointing end to an interesting season.
Su said…
...oh, and I thought Gretchen's collection looked OLD. I also didn't see any fashion-forwardness to it at all. Did I miss something?
Su said…
...and have you ever looked at Nina's picks in Marie Claire? Usually I think they are weird and contrived (trying too hard to be edgy) Maybe becoming a mom has made her choose "mumsie" clothing!
Sergi said…
I agree with you , Gretchen's collection was worse than Mondo's , I only liked a few things about it , the 5th and the 9th look , Mondo's was more playful and more elaborated , I think he should have won ! ndy's was great , I really loved the combination of green and silver it was kind of futuristic , Gretchen should have been eliminated when April was ! April would have rock that Runway with her collection !
Anonymous said…
Well the sounds you hear are me gagging. Just finished watching my tape of the finale and am boggled that Gretchen won. One of the judges (not Heidi) made the comment that every woman would wear those pieces. WTF?

I wouldn't even want to be buried in them let alone walk in public. She made some of the ugliest clothing I have ever seen on this show and they give her the top prize?

She should NEVER have made it to the final three over Michael C, let alone win. I enjoyed both Mondo's and Andy's collections but said from the first episode that it was clear that the judges had a thing for Gretchen. something I have never understood.

I am going to think twice before watching PR again.
The ending was such a disapoinment. I thought weeks ago, like most people, that Mondo was clearly the most talented in the group. I still can't figure out the reason for choosing Gretchen. And for their reasoning of her being 'now'. Boho has been done over and over again, it's nothing new, while Monda was making fun clothing.
Anonymous said…
I completely agree and think this may be the last we see of the show. I really felt all season that the editing on the show was so rough, no polish at all. Bravo did a much better job with it.

From the interviews I have had time to peruse and comments made on the show I get the feeling everyone was overworked to the point that design was impossible to create.

Goodbye project runway, you will be missed
Robin said…
This episode was totally ridiculous. Agreed with everyone else- Gretchen was boring (and not a cool cat herself) and Mondo has been the clear winner forever.

When two women known as fashion icons (I'm being nice, Jessica) are dying to wear pieces from a collection and not enthused about another, duh moment. I was totally with Heidi when she pointed out that Mondo was doing what they'd begged for and rewarded all season.

I WANT Mondo's patterned leggings. I dream about them at night.

I'll still watch PR, but with much less excitement. Mondo was one of the best designers they've ever had.
Anonymous said…
Just got caught up earlier this week and stil can't believe what I saw. Michael and Nina need to take a break and get reconnected...Gretchen's collections was ugly, dull and lacked energy or freshness. The granny panties alone should have been enough to take her off the stage, but the jewlery (from 70's SciFi) and the attempt at mixing prints showed a true lack of innovation. Michael C. should have been on that stage. I'm 50 my daughter is 13 and we both could not believe what we saw...Mondo was the clear winner, it's as simple as black and white (and pink and blue).
I think Tim was just as puzzled by the judging this season and that's why twice he brought judges into the workroom.
Don't know about next season, I'll watch and see...


I too want the Day of the Dead purse!
Anonymous said…
Mondo should win!! Can we all call Mondo and ask him if we could buy some of his designs I totally love it!! Gretchens look was soo boring.. I think she was worse.
Jocelyn said…
In Ho9lland the show just ended. I was outraged that Mondo didn't win. HE was fashion forward, creative, promising.
Gretchen has only done what has been done over and over again (starting 1970).
I CANNOT believe the arguments Kors and Garcia used, it was a really really strange experience to see commerce and mainstream win, in a fashion show. Designers need to be ahead of the crowd, no?
Cherryu said…
I love Gretchen'collections, they are cool, chic and wearable. She so deserved to win.

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