Down and Out in Denver

Mondo and Gretchen: The Showdown

Posted in fashion, tv by Blake on October 29, 2010

The Final Three Pre-Shocker

It is difficult to know where to begin when discussing last night’s Project Runway season finale, which Alastair and I watched at his place with our gal pal Christine.  At the outset we all agreed that, on the whole, we had been underwhelmed by the talent of the designers this season.  It seemed clear to us that had Gretchen or Andy been competing on a previous season they would not have been in the Final Three, because other people would have beaten them out.  Which is also to say that we believed Mondo was going to win. How wrong we were. Let’s address a few issues separately, shall we?

The Peach Has a Gay Following Issue: Did you hear her say that in the reunion segment?  Did you see that she commented on our post about her? Do we flatter ourselves too much to think that Peach was talking about DOD?  Of course we do.  But maybe we think that a little bit anyway.

The Fairy Jobmother Issue: Don’t even get me started on the faux job skills workshop conducted by Hayley Thompson that we were all forced to watch during commercial breaks.  Clearly inspired by SuperNanny, but with none of her charm, we shan’t be tuning in for episodes of this anytime soon.

The Gretchen Is a Bitch Issue: In the reunion segment (rife with Heidi’s obvious voiceovers) Gretchen explained that she was not a bitch and that that was a word that generally gets used for powerful and confident women.  We agree with her on the second count but not on the first.  Men clearly are allowed to get away with more in this regard; indeed it is expected of them.  But that doesn’t mean that arrogance and two-facedness and delusional self-aggrandizement are attractive characteristics in a woman OR a man.  And throughout this season, Gretchen has demonstrated all three in spades.  We think this is nasty in a man, too, and we posted about it regarding last season’s resident egomaniac, Emilio Sosa.

What to say?

The Jessica Simpson Issue: Where to begin?  JSimps is clearly in one of her chunkier phases and that dress — maybe from her own collection at Macy’s? — certainly did not help, making her arms look like slabs of meat hanging from her torso.  But our main complaint here is with the fact that Project Runway thought it was a good idea to invite her on to be the season finale guest judge!  She offered up virtually nothing in the way of constructive criticism:  “That’s unique.”  “They all clearly put a lot of effort in and care about design.”  “I would wear that and I want my sister to wear it, too.”  Yes, she finally came down on the side of Mondo, but it was really too little, too late.  Whether through editing or not, she said virtually nothing of substance for 95% of her time on screen.

Grey, grey, grey, green, grey, grey, grey

The Immediate Elimination of Andy South Issue: Did I like Andy’s stringy tank tops and even stringier weave, newly introduced for the Season Finale?  No, I did not.  Did I love his clothes?  No.  There were two colors involved and the dominant one — seen on virtually all the models — was grey.  It was monotonous.  But there were a couple cute dresses, including one of the few unique pieces that Simpson bothered to express an opinion about at all.  I think what surprised us most was that Andy was quickly and cavalierly removed from contention.  We thought Mondo was better than Andy but we thought a reasonable debate could be had about the merits of Andy vs. Gretchen.  No such conversation took place.

The Most Important Issue: The trajectory of this season design-wise goes a little like this…  Gretchen emerges early on as the talent, then fades a bit mid-season, and by the end is barely squeaking her way into the final three, so egregious have some of her recent choices been.  You do recall the Heidi sportswear challenge, yes?  Indeed you do.  Mondo, on the other hand, was fine to begin with but made some bad juniors-inspired choices in the first half.  By the second half he was both a fan favorite, and a consecutive-winning star.

Ready to Wear This?

We expected that this trend would continue and in our estimation of the clothes, it did, though we’ll admit that Gretchen did step up her game and that Mondo could have wowed us more than he did.  I agreed with Nina that Mondo needed to edit a little more — there was a lot going on in terms of accessories — but I also thought that some of what Gretchen sent down that runway was truly hideous.  So your DOD boys and their gal pal were pretty shocked when the debate was as heated as it was: Garcia/Kors vs. Klum/Simpson.  Maybe Mondo never had a chance; was la Garcia really going to let JSimps come out on top?  Doubtful.  But the greater question is why Garcia and Kors preferred Gretchen in the first place.  And that leaves us baffled.  Gretchen was trumpeted as being a ready-to-wear designer and we can certainly see that she was more casual than Mondo, but where exactly does one wear a pair of drab ill-fitting short shorts and a matching blouse? Who, pray tell, is ready to wear that?


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  1. […] See our Season Finale Wrap-up Here. […]

  2. […] our Season Finale Wrap-up Here. Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)“project runway gretchen jones […]

  3. […] See our Season Finale Wrap-up Here. […]

  4. squadratomagico said, on October 29, 2010 at 8:56 pm

    I must say, I kind of thought all three were a snooze fest. Andy’s lost his edge and had too much grey. Gretchen’s were pretty much the kind of stuff I wore in the 1970s in high school, and I didn’t get the combo of the techno fabric with the earthy brown chiffon. And, much as I hate to say it, Mondo’s collection often looked like it was meant for the juniors’ department. I thought he sent out the single best piece, though: the tunic with the pink at the top edge.

    Quite frankly, I still think April had the goods. Check here for a few of her looks:


    I like them all.

    • Blake said, on October 30, 2010 at 1:25 am

      I think that we might agree with you. I really, really, really wanted Mondo to wow us. And I did believe that he did better than Andy and Gretchen. But I still thought he could have delivered a little more.

      But look at you with the photos from the rest of the show (which, by the way, disturbs me, but that’s another story… The whole rest of the show, that is.)

      How do you know who did what? Enlighten us, Squady!

      • squadratomagico said, on October 30, 2010 at 9:12 am

        Apparently there were ten PR designers allowed to present at fashion week, since it was scheduled midway through the season and they didn’t want to indicate publicly who had made it to the finals. So, everyone who was still on the show at that time, presented when FW came up. Usually they have one or two “decoys;” this time there were seven.

        If you click on the thumbnails, a different caption or commentary pops up to the right of the picture, telling you whose work it is.

  5. squadratomagico said, on October 29, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    Oh! And I am completely convinced that you are the source of the Peach comment, too!

  6. thefrogprincess said, on October 31, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    ugh, the finale was a disaster. And yes, Lifetime is incapable of properly scheduling when the show premieres: when it was on Bravo, there was only one decoy (top 4). Now there were six decoys. Seven with Michael C but he actually designed a collection that he hoped would win the competition, which is a big difference. A few years back, Tim Gunn reported that Kara Janx (season 2’s 4th place decoy) created a collection that even she admitted she wouldn’t have done had she still been in the competition. So I’m a bit loath to say that April had the goods; if she had them, she wouldn’t have been designing in black the whole season.

    Also related to these bunky timing issues: the designers only had six weeks to do the collections, which is shameful. I seem to recall in earlier seasons contestants had months to do it (I think season 2 may have been a record 5 months). Lifetime really needs to get it together.

    Squadra, maybe it’s because I’m in my late 20s, but there were at least 4, maybe 5, pieces in Mondo’s collection that I would wear tomorrow if I were thin enough to, not to mention his fantastic pair of pants during his HIV-reveal episode. As for Gretchen, I’m pretty sure fashion’s not going ugly and drab and ill-fitting any time soon.

    • squadratomagico said, on October 31, 2010 at 3:45 pm

      FrogPrincess, I’m totally with you on the plus-sign pants from the earlier challenge: *Loved* them. But I think few things in his final collection were quite as good, except that tunic I mentioned. I agree that Mondo’s collection was certainly the best of the three finalists, but like Blake, I was underwhelmed. I thought I’d love it more — but your point about the six week time horizon is a good one. No one could produce superior work in that kind of time.

    • Blake said, on October 31, 2010 at 8:39 pm

      Thanks for the backstory, Frog Princess. 6 weeks does indeed seem like a pretty quick turnaround. And while I knew that some of the other designers were also doing collections at Fashion Week because the Times reported on it, I had no idea that so many of them had to do so.

  7. Jess C Scott said, on November 1, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    Project Runway, Gretchen, FAIL:

  8. Spunky T said, on November 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    Sorry DOD boys, been too traumatized to comment. So rare that our little cowtown does anything of note, much less birth a talented fashion designer. Mondo, what can I say. I love you, I will always love you, and you should have won. You were not on your A game, that’s for sure, but your B game beats Gretchen’s knitted diapers any day. That’s ok, now maybe you will hang around Denver for a few more years before you are rediscovered? xoxo

    • Blake said, on November 7, 2010 at 9:01 am

      Well put, Spunky. We’re still in a land of puzzlement ourselves…

    • Blake said, on December 9, 2010 at 2:58 pm

      PRICELESS. I am in the midst of a particularly boring task and that was the perfect break. It’s given me the strength to solider on…

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