Edited by Hilary Beck on
I don’t really care what Jessica Simpson has to say about fashion. Ever. Cute shoes or not. But when resident Bossy Boots Gretchen Jones edged out fan favorite Mondo Guerra to win Project Runway season 8, with J-Simp rushing to Mondo’s defense, I cried, “She’s right, gosh darn it!!!”
Over a month ago, when I had the pleasure of witnessing Project Runway‘s finale show firsthand, I didn’t think Gretchen had a snowball’s chance of winning. Maybe my brain had turned to mush after sitting through 75 minutes of decoy collections, but her crunchy-granola take on tribal just seemed so…boring. It left me cold.
On the other hand, I thought Andy South‘s collection was elegant, romantic yet slightly hard, and vaguely reminiscent of his beloved Yohji Yamamoto. Sure, it didn’t have any of his dominatrix/warrior princess edge, but why can’t something just be LOVELY, god damnit? Naturally, the judges hated it and counted Andy out of the running entirely.
Mondo’s collection, on the other hand, I loved from start to finish. I am not a print girl in my daily life, and I don’t really go for whimsy…but the moment his first look walked down the runway, all of Lincoln Center seemed captivated. His prints are wild and could become costumey with a less skilled hand, but his tailoring was so sharp and clean that it still looked refined.
Not so, sayeth Michael Kors and Nina Garcia. They lambasted him for being too “circusy” and skewing towards a “junior market,” remarks which led to the best. Project Runway. Catfight. Ever.
Lasting a whole 20 minutes–unheard of in reality TV–Michael and Nina duked it out with Jessica and host Heidi Klum, Team Gretchen and Mondo respectively. Team Gretchen was pleased that the designer, once written off as too “Birkenstocks,” styled her models a bit higher-end and more luxe, and they applauded her hand-forged (by other hands) metal jewelry. Heidi, however, correctly pointed out that no consumer wants to buy a top and have to buy the accoutrements necessary to make it fashionable.
Boxing gloves out, the tie was somehow broken and Gretchen takes home the prize. Ultimately, the judges said she was “current” and speaks to what modern women want to wear today.
I’ll let Mondo sum up my feelings in his exit interview. “You know, I was just really, really shocked…Gretchen, it was mundane, it was kinda one idea.” Yep. Guess Tim Gunn was right when he said the judges were smoking crack this season.
Who do you think deserved the win?