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'Project Runway' Season 8, Episode 13 Recap

by Michael Pascua, posted Oct 22nd 2010 6:00AM
Mondo[Project Runway - 'Finale, Part 1']

With only a week to go before the finale of 'Project Runway' the contestants fought for positions. Heidi announced that they had $9,000 and six weeks to create a ten-piece collection. Clearly it was not enough time or money for these contestants to create anything breathtaking or amazing.

While Season Six had the same budget, those designers had a lot more time to think about their collections. These contestants needed time to go back and think about things longer. Andy had the biggest handicap because the fabrics he ordered arrived three weeks into his six-week process. Some of Tim's visits seemed too last-minute, where you couldn't save a sinking ship.

I finally appreciated the evolution of Gretchen throughout the season. While her clothes maintained the hippy/granola aesthetic, her bitchy and aggressive nature covered up the fact that she was having trouble at home. She looked like she was closer to the other finalists than she did in the first few episodes, and she was all hugs at the end of the episode.

Andy - Wai'anae, Hawaii - There was this amazing banter between Andy and Tim about Chinese catfish and unattractive men. Whenever you put Tim outdoors, something funny is bound to happen. Andy's inspiration came from the Buddha Garden in Laos, which explained his take on green and grey combinations where the statues met the grass. His materials were hand-woven and sourced from Laos and Thailand, and I'm sure he had all the correct receipts. Tim didn't have much physically to see, so he gave the generic "don't make a hot mess" critique.

- Palm Springs, California - We met Richard, Michael's partner, and it seemed odd that we got the story of Richard outing Michael (with the precise date!) to his family accompanied by a picture of the two at a bar drinking. I thought that the story was a bit too personal to tell to America. To Tim, Michael created design diarrhea when he made 18 looks -- ironically the six rejected looks had shades of stomach-pink. Interestingly, he wasn't nervous when Seth Aaron made 20 last season.

Mondo - Denver, Colorado - Did anyone realize how amazing Mondo was for having black-and-white tiled floors in his workspace? Mondo's inspiration had a Mexican undertone with a bit of Dia de los Muertos. He probably designed original screen prints after remembering when Irina had to remove the pictures of Coney Island in Season Six. Tim agreed with most items except for a Pepto Bismol pink junior's pajama. It probably would have helped Michael's diarrhea problem. I love how at dinner, Mondo's mother Gerri, admitted to Tim that she tried to get Mondo to be "normal," but Mondo was just Mondo.

Gretchen - Portland, Oregon - Gretchen was not the same Gretchen we met: She was devastated and looked a bit defeated. Tim paralleled that with how he was in a relationship and couldn't get over it. (Who would hurt Tim Gunn? He's amazing.) Tim held up a diaper and Gretchen used the word "natural" and I couldn't help but laugh about natural diapers. It was nowhere near April's triple panty and would be turned green, so I didn't have much trouble with it.

We returned to New York City and Tim arrived at their hotel with the dreaded velvet bag, only to reveal that Hilton Hotels was giving the finalists trips for two to Hilton establishments in several vacation spots. We see several Hilton logos and some more name dropping. I now have an urge to find a hotel with Travelocity, purchase luggage at Sears (or Macys), stay at a Hilton, use Dawn for my dishes, and eat Subway.

Of course, there was a twist: The designers had to create a new look for the judges to compliment two other looks in their collection. Sadly Andy and Michael didn't understand the concept of getting the judges to want more. The contestants had $300 for more fabric, which Andy didn't end up using, and two days, in which Mondo -- like he's done in most two-day challenges -- scrapped his day one dress. Tim went around critiquing the contestants on the second day and he basically told Gretchen, Mondo and Andy that they would make it to the finals and Michael would choke under the pressure. I really could have stopped watching the episode then and not missed much, since all of the collections will be seen next week.

For the runway, the contestants had a random assignment of models, reuniting Mondo with his original model Eyen. He also lucked out with one of the better walkers: Ife, Peach's original model. There was no mention of any of the outfits needing any tailoring, probably because most of the tailoring would be done with their finale models. Imagine if a dress had to be taken in for this week's runway only to find out that your model next week had wider hips? That would be painful.

As the models walked down Andy won me over with that shade of green and how the shadows of the pleats created nice depth. Michael had great flow to his dress, but the feathers in his second dress were oddly uneven so that there was a strange hourglass effect. The back of Gretchen's new look had parachute-ass: What's the appeal of having a sling bag near your back? Finally, Mondo still could do no wrong with patterns, though the long dress would have looked better without sleeves.

There were no guest judges this week, and rightly so, as Heidi, Nina and Michael have seen the contestants' growth from the beginning. Mondo was criticized for the turquoise top and for walking the fine line between wack-a-doodle and chic, but he had the boldness and theatricality to put on a good runway show. Andy was critiqued on the headpieces and for his bikini having an odd under-boob cape. The bikini was probably not the best choice to wow the judges with. Gretchen's outfits were called "crunchy granola" by Nina, and Heidi thought that the models should have worn high heels. (But let's face it: Heidi wants every model in high heels no matter what the occasion.)

The judges seemed set from the get-go and that Mondo and Gretchen were safe even before this finale week. Andy was the last to be called safe. It was heartbreaking watching Michael fall apart after being eliminated. It was odd that he kept getting the 'The Little Engine That Could' edit this whole season, only to falter right at the end. His sobbing was just painful to watch. This may be insensitive, but shouldn't a 27-year-old man with a partner (one step above "boyfriend") be more stable about himself and less worried about what his parents will think? I wish Michael the best and remind audiences that his collection was a decoy piece so he technically did show at fashion week.

Did you think the right designer was eliminated? Who do you think will win the finale? Who's excited to see Casanova one final time in the reunion segment? Leave your comments below.

'Project Runway' airs Thurs., 9PM ET on Lifetime.

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Solbeena Hwang

I'd like to talk a little bit about episode 12 of the season 8. I think there are some people wonder why April was out instead of Grechen. Her look doesn't look fancy to me but I could understand she went along well with the subject of the challenge. It was New York. I could imagine a new yorker walking down any of the streets of the city but April's look, well maybe only Halloween day of the city? Or any halloween day of any city might just work well. What made me feel sorry when I hear what she had to say from the beginning, her voice, she is not centered. Always being influenced by the judgement on her keeps losing her voice. I could tell she didn't want any conflict at the same time, there is this synical eyes and smile... kind of made me sad. I hope she could polish her good nature positive way and stand strong and shine....

October 04 2011 at 8:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They honestly should have dropped Gretchen a few cuts ago. But then being lifetime they could have made a movie of the week about her struggles while being on P.R. Then bringing her back next season as a judge. She knows everything there is to fashion from the sound of it well except taste, style, etc.....

October 23 2010 at 1:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

So much drama. But, then again, this is a reality show and not reality.

-From the first week, you knew Gretchen was in. So that is no surprise. And she was the last female, so Project Runway was not about to have no women in the finale.

-Mondo, after he allegedly outed hismelf, was in. He is eccentric enough to stand out from a beige crowd. That may be enough to win it all.

The last finalist, then, was either Andy or Michael. I pulled for Michael and I was wrong. He was too drab in the end.

-But he brought the drama. He had it all with his sob-filled farewell. Except. We all know Fashion week is long past. We all know the show had several non-finalists on the runway. If Michael's whole aim was to simply show at Fashion Week, well, he did. As did others previously eliminated. And, at Fashion Week, they did not tell the audience which were the real finalists. So why the 27-year-old crybaby act? Again, reality show, not reality.

-Mondo will win if they go for esoteric. Gretchen will win if they go for talent.

-As for Mondo's alleged outing of himself: Reality show, not reality. In that episode he acted as if it were a great revelation for the homefolks. Yet, at Tim's visit, here was the boyfriend around the family table. Not so dramatic as factual. I was disappointed because I believed the drama.

I also think it wild that here is a show which tried a season on the Left Coast yet they tell us this season's finalists, set in NY, are all from out there. Pretty weird.

October 22 2010 at 2:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mike's comment

Mondo outed himself as being HIV positive, not as being gay. Big difference.

October 22 2010 at 6:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I never much liked Gretchen's designs and this week was no exception. She should have been auf'd. (And, although it's not relevant to the real purpose of the show, I hate her personality too and would have been glad to not have to listen to her next week.)

October 22 2010 at 2:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I was kind of surprised at the elimination, but only because I've seen all the collections on TLo. Michael's was surprisingly AMAZING! I haven't liked him all season (personally or aesthetically), but I kind of thought his collection might get the win. But... MONDO FOREVER!!

October 22 2010 at 1:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Once again, Mondo showed us that he can create nice fitting clothes which would be fun to wear. I think Andy and Gretchen both had horrible showings. Gretchen's hippie-granola look was unflattering to anyone who would be dumb enough to wear them. And Andy? A swimsuit? His other looks were borderline ick. Mike C's looks were beautiful and it was heart-wrenching to see his reaction. They sent the wrong person home. Either Gretchen or Andy should have been on the chopping block. I do not want to see anymore from either of them.

October 22 2010 at 1:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Gretchen's designs are not wearable by any person. Her "new" look last night was ridiculous. Then her so-called compassion toward Michael was just as ridiculous considering we all know how she has treated him the entire season. She can't redeem herself now. She does not deserve this win. I now think the entire show is scripted for dramatic effect just like every other reality show on TV and I've completely lost any respect I had for Project Runway. On a side note: I've often wondered why the designers are never challenged with making men's wear? I'd like to see Gretchen handle that.

October 22 2010 at 12:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Becki's comment

There was a Tiki Barber menswear challenge in season 5; it was disastrous.

Menswear also appeared in the season 2 challenge where the final five designers made clothes for each other, and Chloe, Kara Janx, and Nick made clothes for Nick, Santino, and Daniel V., respectively.

In season 3, the designers had to make clothes for themselves as jetsetters, so Vincent, Jeffrey, Kayne, and Michael/Mychael had to make menswear.

October 26 2010 at 2:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Michael C clothes were much better than Gretchen. I too think they wanted a woman on the show. She will be the laughing stock on the runway when her models walk down wearing clothes you only can buy at Kmart.
No one can come close to challenging Mondo.

October 22 2010 at 12:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to davidm3825's comment

I completely agree. Gretchen's "collection" looked like the bargain basement at K-Mart. To think Michael C. was ejected just so a female could remain in the competition was simply deplorable. He may not have been the best designer on the show this season (that would be Mondo) but what he did looked MILES better than what either Gretchen or Andy did (that bikini was ridiculous) and I'm very disappointed to see "Project Runway" be so cruel to one of its contestants (and used such a lame excuse to do it). The judges and producers should truly be ashamed.

October 22 2010 at 1:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Michael should not have been eliminated.

October 22 2010 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

i had a feeling that Michael C would get the axe and, after seeing his collection, was assured that it would happen. i was even mad at myself for liking Gretchen's clothes. ugh!

October 22 2010 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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