Project Runway Season 8 Finale Recap

This finale promised to be one of the most predictable in Project Runway History…

(if you haven’t seen the episode yet, STOP READING NOW.)

… until it wasn’t!!

Love or Hate the outcome, you cannot deny it kept this episode from also being the most boring in PR History (see: predictable = boring.)

Can anyone forget the nail-biting finale episodes of Seasons 2 or 3, when it really was a toss up as to who would win? Although Mondo is my favorite designer in PR History, I will admit that the cards were stacked very very highy in his favour to win, which might have made his win a bit of a letdown purely in terms of Entertainment Value. Personal preference aside, lets get on with the recap, shall we dahlings?

Over brekkie the designers are invited to ‘the reunion’ which is pretty tame by PR standards.

I have three things to say about the ‘reunion.’

1. WHY EVEN BOTHER IF YOU’RE NOT GOING TO SHOW US ANYTHING WE HAVEN’T SEEN BEFORE?
The #1 best thing about past reunions was seeing footage that we hadn’t before and the fun little montages they put together, often for people who were strong personalities or front-runners but didn’t ultimately make it to the end. To me this looks like laziness mixed with the likely reality that with the 90-minute format, they already used everything that was of any value. Ergo, don’t do a lame reunion.

2. WHERE WERE THE HARD QUESTIONS? WHERE WERE THE FAN QUESTIONS?
Why didn’t they actually address some of the issues the fans have been waiting for in the reunion? The Ivy-Michael drama? The accusations? When I think back to previous reunions they almost always addressed the really uncomfortable questions: Who drew the moustache on Wendy’s picture? How did you feel (Diana, Marla) about what other designers said about you behind your back? Did you think it was fair you were eliminated when another designer plagiarized (Guadalupe)? Did you feel your disqualification was justified? (Keith) and so on. This is the whole point of the reunion, which is to see how relationships change based on new information being revealed to them… This one seemed more about forcing everyone to cry (showing the moms coming to visit, Mondo’s confession, tears on the runway, etc.)

3. Anyone else think it is weird that McKell is there since she didn’t ‘officially make it on the show.” (12 episodes later I still haven’t figured out what this means.)

Anyways, the only remotely juicy moment was when Ivy rolled her eyes when Gretchen defended herself as not being a bitch. It brought out the RAWR in April too, who called Gretchen out for saying she didn’t like Christopher’s work but telling him she liked it to his face. Interestingly, April was the only designer in the final 5 that said Gretchen should go to Fashion Week. I was surprised to find myself siding with Gretchen.

Although I, like many of you out there, think of Gretchen as the big-head designer who thought of herself as Tim Jr. in the workroom… I remember that comment and what Gretchen said was, “I love Christopher, I just don’t love what he does.” This isn’t even really a typical ‘Gretchen-criticism.’ It is just a statement of opinion. If it was you and you had a best friend who was an author, but you didn’t like their book – it doesn’t make you a bad person just because you tell them to their face that its good. It just makes you a human who doesn’t want to hurt the feelings of someone you care about. Plus, this is a competition. It is in her best interest not to tell people their work sucks which in theory gives them a chance to improve it. And in fact, most of the time she told people directly to their face what she liked or didn’t like. Andy’s ‘dominatrix’ dress, for example. Every designer on the show is guilty of talking shit about other people’s designs during interviews. And the more I think back on Gretchen i think that a lot of the time she really was just offering her OPINION. Its up to the designers to take it or leave it. She isn’t a judge and they didn’t have to listen to her.

The final three are finally released back to the workroom and there is all the typical pre-show stuff – model fittings, hair and makeup consultations, editing and talks with Tim.

Did anyone else think the shots of the designers in bed were a little creepy? Kind of stalker-y? yeah…

Runway Day!
Everyone is dressed up and sprayed to perfection, including Mondo’s socks. (wtf, right?) There are the usual backstage shenanigans: sewing, missing models, hair and makeup issues, blah blah blah.

GRETCHEN
Gretchen’s collection in a word: Depressed. Gretchen’s ten looks were a real toss–up for me. Although I liked a couple of pieces – the second look (a dress) was nice, the ‘patchwork pants’ were cool, there was an interesting sweater in there – overall I found myself underwhelmed by her choice of prints and colors – so muted and subdued, almost sad. The shiny forest green stuff seemed so odd, like an oil slick in the middle of all those desert colors. I just didn’t get it. I don’t understand how a woman actually wears all these hot pants (ahem, diapers?) Her title ‘Running Through Thunder’ doesn’t seem to fit the collection either. My suggestion? Desert Apocalypse.

ANDY
Andy’s ten looks in a word: Repetitive. Monotone. Boring. I hate the hat things as well as his color palette so he pretty much lost me before I could even look at the clothes. The entire collection except for 4 pieces was gray or silver. I have to agree with Mondo that with that limited color palette, the entire collection just gets flat for me. No pieces stood out unless they were surprisingly blah. There were pretty things in there, sure, but they faded into the background and overall the collection was just not strong. And it certainly wasn’t as strong as his individual pieces during the course of the show.

MONDO
Mondo’s collection in a word: Whimsical. Joyful. Mondo was my favorite to win (whose wasn’t?) and he reminded me why. His use of prints and color are fun and I felt he showed a great range of pieces that could be separated out and worn differently but shown together gave it a little oomph and flash. I would love even a simple t-shirt with that Day of the Dead skull/clown thing, even without the beading and studs – it was just cool. And I LOVED the printed leggings. Some looks definitely had a younger feel, like the checkered bubble dress and the 11th look but I think that would go away once styled into a person’s closet with basics. I.e. the pieces could go young or old depending on what they were worn with. His had the most showmanship, which has constantly been praised in the past seasons.

JUDGING

In a word: Psycho! I don’t know what was going on but it felt like I was watching Bizzarro Project Runway!

Andy was out pretty quickly, and the judges didn’t even try to pretend that was a difficult decision. On the runway they praised a few of his pieces for their simplicity and softness but overall they felt that he lost too much of himself and that he played it too safe. They also hate the hats, a good precursor of how important styling has become to deciding the winner…

The judges immediately began comparing Gretchen and Mondo, despite the fact that they later claim its like ‘comparing salt and sugar.’ They praised both collections for being Editorial, Cohesive, and for being true collections.

Their (Nina and Michael) primary arguments for why Gretchen should win:
STYLING
ON TREND
WEARABLE AND SELLABLE
SEPARATES AND SPORTSWEAR

Problems
NOT DRAMATIC
MONOTONE
TOO READY TO WEAR (Heidi and Jessica)

Their (Heidi and Jessica) primary arguments for why Mondo should win:
TALENTED/ CREATIVE
UNIQUE/ MEMORABLE/ SPECIAL
SHOWMANSHIP/ EXCITING/ RISK-TAKING

Problems
OVERWHELMING DECORATIVE/PROPORTION of PRINTS
TOO YOUNG
WHO IS THE CUSTOMER?
NEEDS TO EDIT FOR REAL LIFE

So does anyone else see what is so wrong/weird/psycho about the above reasons?

Who wants wearable and on trend over exciting, unique and creative? Ok, I guess a certain customer wants that, but is that what Project Runway is about? I found myself heartily agreeing with Heidi – Isn’t this show about Fashion?

It was only a few episodes ago that Nina was talking about wanting to see ‘Fashion, Not Clothes’ on the runway… and now she is defending stuff that is wearable and sell-able? I question even that argument – tell me who is going to wear those dirty granny panties? Sheesh.

They repeatedly praised Gretchen’s styling ability despite the fact that the last FOUR challenges, plus the 11th look challenge they criticized her styling choices! If she hadn’t changed the hair and makeup and thrown a few pairs of heels in there, would Mondo have won? Doesn’t that seem a little odd since they had to TELL her to do that? Does that make her a great designer or a great stylist? And what is this show about again? Design.

I just find myself so baffled by the whole thing. Although Gretchen’s aesthetic probably appeals to a lot of women (even I liked some of her stuff) I just find myself going back to the wearable vs. unique argument over and over. Looking back at every single season past, it just doesn’t feel right. Every other winner (Jay, Chloe, Jeffrey, Christian, Leanne, Irina, Seth Aaron) was praised not only for a strong and clear vision but for showmanship and creativity. They have NEVER chosen a winner with the primary criteria being ‘wearable.’

It makes no sense.

Anyways, regardless of the outcome I think that Mondo will be successful. He has a hugely loyal fan-base out there and it probably ballooned even bigger with him not actually winning. He did get the 20,000 so hopefully he uses that to get some pieces made and available online or in stores and he will just have to make his own career happen. I do wish Gretchen well. It felt like her collection was a reflection of her struggles and sadness so maybe winning will give her a boost of positive energy that will translate into happier clothing. We can only hope right?

I am going to pick up my ANTM blogging next week now that Project Runway is over for the season (*tear) – so please check back!

Also, has anyone heard anything about Bravo’s new show: The Fashion Show? It looks like their PR replacement but I don’t really know anything about it, when it airs, etc.

Cheerio! Thanks for reading!