Project Runway Season 8 Episode 9 Recap

The Winning Look. Mondo Guerra.

After seeing Tim’s Vlog on the last episode, I am seeing things a little differently in the recap. Tim does NOT look pleased about standing in front of photos of Jackie Kennedy, or about the challenge in general… and now we know why!

There are 8 designers left and since the boys are 2 and 2, Mondo and Christopher have to move in with Andy and Michael C. Andy says its nice to “have people you can trust”… which is just another sucker-punch at Michael C… seriously, this is high school stuff. Shut up. He’s your competitor, you don’t have to trust him.. but you don’t have to be a dick either. The ongoing narrative of Gretchen hates Michael / Michael hates Gretchen also gets some renewed force in this episode…the editors must have loved having all this juicy stuff to work with after last week’s ‘snorepisode.’

Heidi tells them that Tim will tell them about the challenge. What is her job on the show again? Oh yeah, to select the clothes she would wear amongst the designer’s work and remind us that “one day you’re in and then next day you’re out.” I usually like Heidi, but I’m getting bored with her this season. Anyways, she teases the designers saying the winner will take home a big chunk of change…which in Project Runway-speak usually means something other than the obvious.

The designers head to the workroom to meet Tim and Collier Strong is there to present the L’Oreal Challenge. The designers have to create a high end look that complements one of their 5 eyeshadow lines which will be featured in an ad campaign in Marie Claire magazine…oh yeah, and the designer will also receive 20,000 bucks! (so the ‘big chunk of change’ was actually a legit hint.) The choices are Crystal, Metallic, Matte, Velvet, and Bright. Mondo chooses Bright (no duh.) Chris chooses Crystal, April chooses Matte. Mike C chooses Metallic. Ivy chooses Bright (with an interview about how she doesn’t want the judges to think she can only design in a muted color palette…seriously? – it took you what, 8 challenges to decide to show some variety?) Valerie chooses Crystal. Gretchen chooses Velvet and Andy chooses Metallic. The designers have 300.00 and 2 days.

A little aside here… ok, I am a fan of this show. I have watched every episode of every season more than once. I could never be ON the show because I am not a designer, but if I was, I would make damn sure to watch every episode and learn what I could by watching other designer’s mistakes in past seasons. Do these designers watch this show? Has there EVER been a 2 day challenge that didn’t involve some kind of twist? And I think almost every time there has been an avant-garde challenge, there has been the requisite ‘ready to wear’ component. I’m just sayin’….

Sketchy-time.. Mondo is thinking about a Kaleidoscope and I am already excited to see what he does. Gretchen waxes about how this challenge is about showing that they can really BE designers.

Off to Mood and Swatch interrupts Tim! Mondo is grabbing every bright colored thing that whispers sweet nothings in his ear. He’s a playa… with fabric. He doesn’t want just one crayon to play with…he wants the WHOLE BOX.

Tim chases Swatch.

Back in the workroom, the designers are slowing down, taking their time with this challenge (which is a mistake, right April?) Ivy is concerned about color and finishing on time. Valerie is doing an evening gown. Andy is doing a modern warrior look. Mike C has the same palette as Gretchen…and Gretchen (poor dear) is INSULTED because BOUNDARIES WERE CROSSED (how dare he choose the same color!?) She has ‘created a monster’ apparently… and it’s a monster who likes the same colors she does. Ahem. Takes one to know one? She continues to wax on about Mike C being a replicator and not a visionary and April pipes in with a non-committal “you might have the same palette but what you’re doing is worlds apart.” Notice how she didn’t actually compliment Gretchen’s design?

Makeup Consultations… and Andy is doing something reminiscent of war paint, Mondo is using color, Gretchen’s is so plain it doesn’t even read on camera and Ivy is doing a blue smoky eye.

Tim visits and people are being ambitious, worrying about time, following their guts, straying too close to ‘pageant’, the usual. Many designers haven’t started sewing yet… they are still working in muslin and are going to be SCREWED tomorrow. Models come in for a fitting and most of them can’t try on anything. Mondo has a crisis with his bodice because his model is smaller than his dress form. He lost the whole day working on it and has to make a new one. Everyone is spent and exhausted.

The next morning Tim comes in with the (fully expected) twist and tells the designers that they will be creating a ready-to-wear look as a companion to their avant-garde design and that they will get more money (100.00) and another trip to Mood, but not more time to complete it. The designers gasp. The designers moan. The designers are f***ed.

Andy has the bright idea to use the pattern he already drafted for his avant-garde piece to save himself some time. Back to mood and the designers are running around like maniacs, except for Valerie who is at a snail’s pace. Swatch chews on a donut.

Back in the work room the designers are getting dollar $ign$ in their eye$ and thinking about how they would spend the 20,000 if they win. Many of them are poor or in serious debt. April wants a miniature pony.

Tim visits again and Valerie is in BIG TROUBLE. Her design is not working. She is flat out of time to fix it but doesn’t want to compromise her vision. She has a little girl’s room cry.. and the other girls come and cry with her and talk her back out into the workroom.

Models come in to fit for the ready-to-wear look and Ivy’s model’s measurements are off. The designer’s leave the workroom with a ton of work to do in the morning.

The Boys are yakking about runway day. They speculate Valerie might be going home because the judges might be bored. Her ready-to-wear look is made of wool ‘of course’, they joke. Gretchen thinks Mike C will be in trouble because the train on his dress is so stiff. She worries her look is too different from what the others have done. Mike C thinks hers is too old looking. Mondo thinks he does his best work when he is under stress. Ivy is struggling to finish on time and looks heartbroken at the 10 minutes left mark.


April’s avant-garde look is, somewhat predictably, ALL BLACK. It’s interesting. It’s her. Her ready-to-wear look reminds me way too much of her look last week, especially the little sheer jacket.

Mondo’s avant-garde look is a whole lotta look! Its exciting to look at, which I’m guessing will go far with the judges, although I love the back waaaay more than the front. His ready-to-wear is totally commercial and very cute. I want it.

Ivy’s avant-garde look is way too plain. I don’t see much that is avant-garde about it. Kind of bridal and kind of pageant as Tim said. I like her ready-to-wear look better, but it is still pretty blah.

Mike C’s avant-garde look is pretty epic although I’m not sure if I like it or not. His ready-to-wear is wearable but there is that DAMN ZIPPER AGAIN. TRIPLE UG. Did a zipper company provide a bunch of free zippers to Project Runway? Is there a Zipper Room next to the Brother Sewing Machine room? Stop putting so many honking zippers on everything designers!

Christopher’s avant-garde look is kind of tacky. Like an evening gown-length-ice skating costume. His ready-to-wear look is forgettable.

Gretchen’s avant-garde look reminds me of a dressing gown from the 20’s with all the feathers. Also kind of reminds me of a mu-mu. Her ready-to-wear is very her.

Valerie’s avant-garde look is giving me bridal… or like, a first time student trying to figure out what avant-garde means. Her ready-to-wear has no relationship to it.. its just a bad black dress.

Andy’s avant-garde look is interesting and memorable. I don’t like the ankle ruffles, but I can guess this will be a top 3.. it is actually avant-garde. His ready-to-wear dress is great… maybe the best.

April and Christopher are safe. Ivy, Val and Mike are in the bottom. Gretchen, Andy and Mondo are in the top. The judges love Gretchen’s fantasy take on ‘herself’ and her bohemian flavour. They think Andy’s look has one of the best translations to ready-to-wear and appreciate he made pants. Mkors calls Mondo’s look glamorous, exciting and unique and Nina loves that he embraces color

Ivy talks about the ocean. Mkors sees bridesmaids, Nina can’t get over the fit problems. Naeem Khan (the guest judge) thinks its overkill. Valerie is called out by Khan for not listening to the fabric and forcing it away from what it naturally wants to do. Mkors says the only accessory that would go with the white dress is a fairy wand. Nina says pageant.. and worries about Valerie’s taste level. Mike C is complimented for listening to his fabric but cautioned that he has to choose between boobs or legs. I could not stop laughing when Mkors said it was constructed well, sewn well, tailored well (cut to Ivy… fuming.) LOL. Overall the judges think that the low scoring designers had a problem with being too old fashioned. While Mike C’s is salvageable, it’s a toss-up between who was worse, Ivy or Valerie.. and there is the suggestion that they might BOTH be sent home.

And the winner is… Mondo! I am so genuinely happy for him because he is completely true to his point of view as a designer and he is honest and humble. He came to the show with 14.00 in his bank account. Now he has 20, 014.00!

Mike C is safe. Ivy is out. Valerie is in. Valerie wishes she could go home for Ivy. She thinks it should have been her. Although I understand that they became friends on the show.. I don’t really understand this from Valerie. Last episode she said going home was not an option for her. I would think she’d be relieved she squeaked through. I think she is just tired of being in the bottom and wants to give up…but would rather be eliminated than quit. For the first time in the entire show, I have some sympathy for Ivy. She says she will miss designing and gets choked up about it.

Mondo at the photo shoot. The dresses both look great photographed. And so does he. Congratulations Mondo!

Next time, the designers are creating their own textiles… can’t wait to see Mondo’s!