By now you've heard the news. Gretchen is the winner of Project Runway
and from the reaction around the net, it would appear that she's the only one happy about it. Gretchen was an early favorite, but through the weeks her designs began to look the same and not long ago, the judges suggested that she'd run out of steam. Gretchen herself said she was just tired of the challenges. Yeah, that's the spirit of a winner.
The only thing more perplexing than the final choice, was a comment Nina
Garcia made to reporters several weeks ago. When asked if any of this
season's designers had the personality and creativity of Christian
Siriano she replied, "Well, you have to wait until this season's over, but
I do think the winner of this season could very well have the same kind of
stamina that Christian has."
How is that Gretchen and not Mondo?
Time for a breather. Let's take a look at a couple of pieces from the final runway collections beginning with Andy.
During the season, Andy was known for his sharp, intricately-crafted designs inspired by Asian warriors. With less than two days per garment, he hand-pleated, beaded and braided, always tweaking right up to the deadline. With this collection, he had weeks but lost a lot of that time waiting for fabrics to arrive from Laos. Maybe that's why there weren't any wow pieces in the set. They were nice, and they had Andy's Asian flare but none of the pieces had the kind of strong details we'd seen from him before.
Most of his line was silvery gray with just touches of the shiny green you see here in the photos. The swingy, one shoulder dress was a hit along with the short green dress he made as his 2-day piece the week before. Otherwise it was agreed that the outfit Andy himself wore on the runway was more interesting and more "Andy" than anything he presented in his collection. It's a shame, because we all expected to be bowled over.
As expected, Mondo
brought color and pattern to the runway and how adorable was his own Buddy Holly meets The Beatles look? I'm not his mother but still I feel, so proud.
For those in the audience that had never seen Mondo's work, his runway show must have been a wonderful surprise. The mix of plaid and polka dots and animal prints shouldn't work, but they do in a quirky, cool way. The judges especially liked the oversized Day of the Dead T-shirt (seen above) and the color-block dress below. His best piece was the plaid bubble dress with the pink accents. Adorable and chic at the same time.
The panel was split on the polka dot gown that Mondo showed the week before. He had a basic black dress that he pulled out of the line-up and in hindsight, that might have been a mistake. The judges felt that the collection was too wild and needed a breather and though Heidi and Jessica loved the polka dot dress, Nina and Michael were adamant that it crossed the line into circus clothes. Seeing as how Mondo came in second, one has to wonder who changed their mind, or did they simply drop the vote of the visiting judge and go majority rules. Gretchen
had no surprises in her collection, either. She turned out subtle variations on the same two silhouettes, the flowing caftan style and an odd play on rompers for grown women.
Gretchen opened her "Running Through Thunder" show with a look that she must have stolen from April. These diaperish shorts were used in three of her looks and I don't get it. Where would someone wear an outfit like this?
On the upside, she did a great job with these color-blocked pants and swingy top. Her last look was a Holly Hobby dress with that strange, green alligator material in the vest. She also presented two, everyday wear dresses that were quite nice. And points for offering up a variety of pieces including sweaters, jackets, dresses,pants, tops and jewelry that she designed herself.
From the judges comments it first seemed that they liked the jewelry more than the line. Quick edit and they were saying she had her finger on the pulse. That this was the future of fashion. Last week these same designs were granola and this week it's future of fashion? I know trends come and go quickly, but this is ridiculous.
I know that some people feel we've been too hard on Gretchen, so I went out looking for that article that would prove me wrong. I didn't find it. What I did find was a quote she gave
to the press that said, "You know, $100,000 isn't a lot when you break it down."
There's a designer who left home with only $14.00 in his bank account, who I'm sure, wouldn't agree.
With that, we close the door on this season of Project Runway.
Photo Credit: Barbara Nitke / Lifetime Television