'Project Runway' Season 8, Episode 14 Season Finale Recap (VIDEO)
by Michael Pascua, posted Oct 29th 2010 9:00AM
['Project Runway' - ''Finale, Part 2"]
Last night's finale of 'Project Runway' was extended from 90 minutes to two hours, but was the extra half hour really worth waiting so painfully long for the fashion show? We even had to sit through a quick reunion special that told us nothing.
Gretchen defended herself and said she was being a "strong woman," which is misunderstood as "bitch." Ivy eye-rolled a few times, and Valerie said "cray-cray" one final time. The most infuriating moment was when Heidi asked the contestants who they thought would win. Of course no one would speak -- the finalists were sitting right there! At least previous seasons had the finalists leave so the contestants could dish.
Another disappointment: two whole hours and zero information about how the contestants got their models. Clearly Gretchen was looking for big hair and a very earthy look, Mondo needed long hair for cool buns, and Andy had a similar need so he could place things on the models' heads. Mondo had several girls not show up for some reason or another, but it would have been interesting to see what he wanted originally. We got a short amount of time with the muse models, but since 'Models of the Runway' is no longer, we barely knew that Mondo's model was Tina Marie. We got shameless plugs from Garnier and L'Oreal, but the only useful thing we learned from those segments was that Gretchen was going for poofy post-hat hair and wanted to kick up her lip color.
Tim told the contestants that since they had eleven looks, they had to cut something to create a ten-look dress. Mondo toyed around with a full black dress but decided against it; sadly, that may have been the kiss of death for him. Gretchen decided against putting her last-minute look on the runway. Andy got rid of the first bikini shown in his mini collection and instead used a bikini that Tim thought looked like hair growing out of the crotch. Andy didn't see it, but I realized the issue: the textured fabric tucked into the panty, giving it an overgrown look.
The final three spent some time absorbing the whole situation, giving group hugs, until they finally entered the crazy backstage area. There seemed to be a lot of chaos in the back two hours before the show for Mondo and Andy, but not much from Gretchen. Andy wanted to make new pants on the fly, which Tim thought was horrible and told him straight to his face to pick the skirt. Mondo's running order was wrong and several models didn't show; one alternate had hair that was so short Mondo thought his headpieces might not work.
Gretchen was first to present. She made the odd choice of pairing a see-through skirt with bloomers. I thought the look was a bit vulgar, and I'm pretty sure that Stacey in season 3 got eliminated first for creating a sheer skirt with panties underneath. As her looks went down the runway, I couldn't help but realize the choice of pattern got boring quickly. Plus, putting some of the girls in flats was a bad decision. I hated the fourth look with the grey pants with the leather interior; not only did it make the model's backside look odd, anyone wearing leather on the inner thigh is going to have the oddest sweat marks. The collection as a whole made sense, but I thought a few pieces were a bit too Fall and not Spring and a few looks skewed too retro.
While Andy went next, at the actual show Andy was last to present. I loved the color scheme of the collection, but the grey got boring fast. There was some nice texture, but the sheer pieces got on my nerves. My favorite piece was look six with the chain on the bottom (it reminded me of a Laura Bennett look from season 3). I also liked the weave pattern in his ninth look; that shade of grey looked darker because of the weaving and it almost helped alleviate the color issues.
Mondo was last, and his collection was an actual show. Though a few of his pieces skewed young, I liked the balloon dress and a lot of the outfits had a cheer and spirit that the other two collections lacked. I have a feeling that the all-black dress he nixed would've been a perfect fit since it had the same exact hand beading that the other pieces did. I'm still split on the final dress; I can see why the piece looked too '80s, but would getting rid of the sleeves have destroyed the whole concept?
There was some hesitation when I heard Jessica Simpson was the judge. Her connection to fashion is beyond me, especially seeing that Cindy de la Hoz and Betsey Johnson were in the audience -- I thought 'America's Next Top Model''s Jay Manuel would have at least been better connected to the fashion industry. But when she defended Mondo, gave the cheeriest smile and said "I like food," I didn't think she was that bad.
Andy looked to be out of the race from the get-go. He was criticized for not opening with a wow piece, having a narrow focus, and being too soft. Apparently the judges would have appreciated "Warrior Woman" now that he got rid of her. Nina commented that Andy went "Overboard on Orientalism." Apparently Asian Andy was too Asian for Nina's taste.
Gretchen got good praise, but Nina said her clothes were very ready-to-wear. Now, I would have taken it as a compliment if Nina said the clothes were runway ready, but I would be a bit offended if someone said my designs were department store ready. Gretchen didn't have enough punch in her opening and the collection got a bit repetitive. Michael Kors wondered about the existence of slick leather in this granola world. Gretchen got lots of praise for the accessories, hair, and makeup, but Heidi reminded everyone later that it's about the looks not the accessories.
Mondo had the theatrics, but Nina found the collection to be too teen and overwhelming. The group liked the skull t-shirt and tunic, and complemented Mondo for being very Mondo.
Andy was quickly placed third and the rest of the episode became a two-horse race between Gretchen and Mondo. It looked as though Heidi and Jessica were supporting Mondo and Nina and Michael wanted Gretchen to win. We finally know now who has the final say in judging: Nina Garcia. Since the winner's clothes end up in the magazine she works for, she has the final word on who makes it through. What I don't get is why Michael got upset when Heidi mentioned she could wear a Mondo top with a black pencil skirt. Mondo made separates and Heidi hypothetically separated them.
The judges announced Gretchen was the winner. She mentioned that she felt like $100,000, but a part of me wished Gretchen said "I feel like an HP Suite!" Her model, Millana (who was predominantly April's muse model for the season) was awarded $25,000.
I'm disappointed that Mondo didn't win. Gretchen was softer and less bitchy in the second half of the show, which was the turning point for redemption. When Michael C. was eliminated, I knew that it opened the door for Gretchen to win. I suspected that if Michael C. took Andy's place, then his designs and Gretchen's would have canceled each other out and Mondo would have won. I'm also not as convinced as Nina and Michael that Gretchen follows trends. I feel as though she'll always have the Southwestern/Granola aesthetic and it just so happened that hippie/bohemian is in.
Who had the ugliest dress? Were you disappointed in the outcome? Leave comments below.