Project Runway Season 8 Episode 10 Recap

The Winning design. Mondo Guerra.

In the recap we are reminded how agog Valerie was not to be sent home last week… some foreshadowing perhaps?

Its Round 10 peeps. And Val is going back into the ring… to fight for Ivy? Wha? OK girl. I get it. She’s your friend. You think your dress sucked. But dude… this is Project Runway! You are one of the last 7 designers! Only 4 more have to go home.. that means you have almost a 50% chance of going to Fashion Week at this point. (Yeah, yeah, don’t remind me that they have all already showed at Fashion Week because there were so many decoys…that’s a whole other skeleton of bones I have to pick.) You should be focused on yourself and your own goals. Not trying to ‘make it up’ to a fellow competitor. I digress…

Mondo feels pretty rad after winning the last challenge.. and he should.

Heidi delivers the challenge ‘hint’ on the runway, dressed in some kind of reptilian 80’s dress that is just plain odd. She tells them they will start from ‘scratch.’

In the workroom, the designers are greeted with PRODUCT PLACEMENT showing a selection of childhood photos of them. We see a few cute and hilarious pictures (including Michael C in his tightey whiteys) before Tim comes in with a PRODUCT PLACEMENT guest. PRODUCT PLACEMENT, PRODUCT PLACEMENT, PRODUCT PLACEMENT and the challenge is to create a textile pattern based on a profound, important, inspiring moment in their past. They can design any garment they want using the textile they have created as well as 100.00 of additional fabric from Mood. They have 2 days for the challenge (because the fabric won’t be ready until the next day.) As the designers create their patterns, we get a little more story behind their photos. Valerie designs a blue patterned fabric based on memories of her dad bringing home blueprints. Mike C wants to incorporate the evil eye into his pattern. Gretchen draws on her Southwest influences and does a motif of a sun bonnet. April designs something symbolizing her struggle with her parent’s divorce. Mondo talks about coming out to his mom at age 17 and having a hard time connecting with others. He is being somewhat secretive about what his design is symbolizing…until the editors reveal it to us 15 minutes in.

I haven’t decided yet if I like or don’t like this reveal in the edit. The other designers, Tim and the judges aren’t privy to this information until it comes out on the runway and I wonder if the audience shouldn’t have been kept guessing until then as well. As soon as he is on camera revealing it, it is kind of obvious that he is going to tell someone during the episode…because if he said it in the interview then its going to be broadcast on television at some point. Anyways, I want to respect that things came to light in their own time, so I will refrain from revealing Mondo’s secret until he does during the runway. If you’ve seen the episode, then you already know it anyways.

The designers head to Mood and Andy talks about his fabric representing memory bubbles, but I think its kind of boring from him. Chris is using blue because of his mom and gray lines because of where he grew up. I think his fabric is also boring. Valerie is planning to ‘focus.’

Tim stops by to announce there are some special guests coming in and the designers speculate that it might be past contestants or clients. The designer’s start screaming and crying and “Holy Mackinoli!” it’s their moms. First to arrive is Valerie, Mondo and Andy’s moms.

Gretchen is having a hard time watching everyone reunite because she is quite sure her mom isn’t going to come because her step-dad is in a wheelchair and she takes care of him. Then, of course, her mom comes in too. And so does April’s. Next is Michael C’s son and his mother and Chris gets a visit from his partner JJ. They are so cute together but I feel bad that he is the only one who doesn’t get to see his mom.

Tim suspends the work day so the designers can spend the day with their family members. Here we get a sequence that reminds me of the opening of Episode 1. Just like when the designers all met each other at random locations, they each go to different locations with their families and have oddly contrived and scripted-seeming conversations. Mostly a whole bunch of the expected “if you set your mind to it, you are talented, you can do it” blurbs from each family member.

Gretchen proves that she doesn’t just interrupt anyone, she interrupts her mother too! But the most real and genuine moment came with Mondo struggling to decide whether to reveal his secret to his mother, which he felt he just couldn’t do because he didn’t want to hurt her or ruin her first time in NYC. With each episode that passes I find myself more and more intrigued with Mondo and inspired by his attitude and compassionate treatment of others.

The next day is Valerie’s birthday and many of the designer’s are feeling a little thrown off by their family visits and have to rally themselves and their focus again. Andy is having the hardest time and is just ‘done.’ I honestly wonder what he planned to do with his print before his family showed up… because what he does with it afterwards is just, bizarre. He admits that he doesn’t really care and just wants to get through.

The fabric arrives and shortly afterwards Tim pops by to do some critiques.

He cautions April to step away from the emotion of the print and try to look at her design critically so that she can make the necessary design decisions. He is glad that Mike C is editing already and worries Chris is over-designing. Gretchen gives Chris’ design a C+. Andy is having trouble incorporating the print and figuring out how he would style his look. He says he would rather be with his family. Tim is concerned about the yoke on the back of Gretchen’s pants. Valerie’s looks bad. I’m reminded of Jerrel’s “Kenley Spears” outfit and Tim nails it when he observes “80’s ice-skating costume.” Gretchen helpfully points out that it doesn’t look like fashion. Tim loves Mondo’s print but Mondo wont tell Tim his secret. He alludes to it saying “it’s about who I was and then moving forward and thinking about who I’m going to be.” There are only 7 designers left and Tim starts to choke up as he leaves them to do their model fittings.

Andy chops his pants off to make shorts and Chris is worried his pants look too old. In the morning, Val is confident her concept is ringing true this time and the girls complain Mike C’s print is ‘witchy.” Mondo has curled his hair and Mike C sings a country song. My heart swells a couple sizes when Mondo says “I love Michael C. He’s not afraid to grow and there’s not a lot of people who are that humble.”

Makeup. Hair. International Sign for lashes!

The International Sign for LASHES!

Runway and Heidi is on planet MARS with her outfit. The belt looks like Flubber! And it completely clashes with her dress. What is going on with the show’s stylist? The guest judge is Rachel Roy.

My reactions to the runway:

April – interesting, love the print and the use of the print.
Andy – print is meh, meh, meh. bad shorts, old lady blouse.
Mondo – WOW pants. Winner or top two with April.
Valerie – dark, blah. Not loving the print.
Gretchen – ok, like the print in theory, safe but not boring, styling is April ‘bun’
Mike C – boring print, like the yellow, another zipper!
Chris – forgettable, yawn.

The judges keep all the designers on the runway.

For the most part the judges like Gretchen’s pattern but think it should have been smaller so it hit the garment in a more flattering way. Mostly positive but under-whelmed. Michael C gets called out for the styling of his garment but Mkors appreciates he figured out how to design INTO the pattern. Everyone is pretty bored with Chris’ design as well as fabric and we are reminded this is a runway show, not a jeans and tshirt show! Andy is honest about his lack of enthusiasm for the challenge and the judges agree. They are confused by the garment and mostly bored with the print. Heidi calls it un-wearable. The judges mostly love April’s dress. They all love the print and Mkors gets the friction concept from it. Valerie’s dress reminds Mkors too much of napkins and they all note how it resembles her Party Glitters dress. Everyone loves Mondo’s print and Nina calls it editorial and sharp. Rachel has a hard time connecting with the emotion behind the print and Nina wishes she knew the story.

This prompts the worst edit in the history of Project Runway… and you should definitely read the BPR post about this because they capture it better than I ever could. They cut away just before Mondo decides to reveal his big secret (although its not a secret to the audience because we have been following the “will he tell them, won’t he tell them” subplot of the whole episode.)

Mondo reveals that he is HIV Positive and has been for 10 years. He has never told anyone, including his parents. This is an incredible moment and I want to say, not for TV or for project runway, but for one human being who we, as the audience, have only had the opportunity to get to know over the course of the 9 episodes prior. When this was revealed earlier in the episode, I, probably like many viewers, tear-ed up hearing Mondo talk about this difficult secret he has been living with for so long. I think I also felt a deep loss that someone who is so genuine and amazing and creative will be taken from the world sooner than most because of his illness. Although intellectually I know that many people in the world have HIV or AIDS and are suffering from it at different stages…somehow it never resonated with me the same way it has with Mondo. I don’t know anyone personally who suffers from HIV but somehow, I feel like I know him a little bit and it made it all feel more intimate. My heart goes out to him and I hope he and his family are coping together now that the information is revealed. I also hope that he was able to give some hope and courage to anyone out there struggling with similar circumstances. We need more courage and love in the world.

Um….oh yeah, I guess there’s the rest of the episode to recap. April, Gretchen, Mike C and Chris are IN. Mondo WINS. (yay!) Bottom 2 is Andy and Val… and Val is out. Val seems alright and she offers a sincere goodbye to each of the designers before Tim tells her goodbye. Mondo, though, really delivers the most profound comment on the events of this episode. He says the win on the runway was really secondary to the ‘win’ that he felt by revealing his secret. And again, he manages to inspire with insight that resonates.

Looking forward to next week, maybe they will finally tells us what’s up with this whole cheating allegation?

Thanks for stopping by!