Will he tell his momma?Welcome to round 10 of this season of Project Runway. Top contender so far? Definitely Mondo. Maybe Andy, who's had moments of brilliance, but also produced some terrible outfits. And Gretchen thinks she is, but let's face it, she isn't.
The designers enter the work room and there are photos with pictures of them when they were children. Tim introduces the special guest, a prerequisite person who works for HP, Tracy Trachta. They're bringing back the HP challenge from last season. Great.
On their HP touchscreens, the contestants will have to create a custom textile design that will be part of their outfit. Cue more HP product placement (hey, Project Runway's gotta pay the bills too). Tim says that the inspiration is a moment in time or person that was particularly important to them. They've also got two days for this challenge.
While designing their textiles, Mondo reveals a secret he's kept for the past 10 years.
Mondo's textile, designed around a plus sign, is based on the fact that he's HIV positive. Wow. Doesn't even touch the other designers' inspirations, which are based on things like, you know, divorce, water, and, um, memory bubbles. More on that later.
Tim then has a surprise (of course) and sends in the designers' moms. Gretchen says because everyone's bawling like little babies, she assumes it's their mothers. Pan to Gretchen standing alone, tearing up, as she explains that her mom has a really hard life and her stepdad needs constant care.
But, hey, wait a second, there's Gretchen's mom! And now she's the one crying like a little baby. Hey, at least she admitted it. All of the moms come, as well as Michael C.'s cute son -- all except for Christopher, whose partner surprises him. It's all very sweet.
Tim has another good announcement: He's suspending the workday so they can have a day together. Finally, after lots of love (though Mondo still couldn't admit his secret to his mom), the designing gets underway.
The guest judge is Rachel Roy, a fashion designer. Let's see how the custom textile HP challenge went. Heidi decides to critique through each look. That means you get to see photos of all of them!
Gretchen: Her inspiration was the Southwest, where she grew up, and she has a distinct memory of squash blossoms. Heidi likes the print, while Michael K. loves the pants, calling the outfit "disco earthy." Hmm. He thinks it looks like there's a fried egg on the boob, and that the designs are too spaced out. Nina likes the print but is disappointed in the outfit and expected more. "It's just fine, but it's not wow." Rachel said she wrote down "almost." I agree that the pattern was too spaced out, and I wasn't a fan of the cut of the top. It could also be pure bias: Every single week Gretchen has something negative to say about the other designers' work. Ugh.
Michael C: He thought of the evil eye, the darkness comes from his family; he says they're crooked and they're full of secrets. Heidi notes that you can't really see the eye. Michael K. thinks it looks like she's wearing a tie that's belted off, but Heidi likes the open shirt and tie. She doesn't like how the pumps match the piping, matchy-matchy is out. Nina says it could've been helped by proper styling. I think this outfit is weird and stiff, and the colors are all wrong. However, it seems that all the designers are coming around to Michael C. after hating him so much the past few episodes. See what happens when someone as toxic as Ivy gets eliminated?
Christopher: He grew up in California, so he made an outfit that was inspired by San Francisco and the water. Rachel doesn't see water in the print. Nina says they're fine clothes but not necessarily fashion. Heidi wrote, "Nice. Safe. Boring." Heidi and Nina both say how uninspired the outfit is. Michael K. notes that Christopher needs to make something that can walk down the runway. I think if Christopher could step up his game and think less Gap and more runway, he could be a contender. As of right now, it's hard to remember that he's still around.
Andy: He focused on the memories that fade in and out, so he made a textile that was inspired by ... bubbles. Rachel likes the print and says it's quite wearable. But the outfit is odd, confusing, and upsetting. The shorts are short but there's nothing sexy about her. Nina thinks the print and design are very sad, and she's disappointed since she's seen things from him that are the exact opposite. He pleads a little about missing his mommy, but the judges are (rightfully) unsympathetic and say the show must go on. To me, this outfit is a total fail, and I'm disappointed since I've liked what Andy's come up with before. Though he probably feels rather foolish admitting this after what Mondo reveals to them later.
April: She was 13 when her parents got divorced, and the print represents a family tree and her being torn between two sides. Michael K. says he got the friction and pulling, which is consistent in her best work. He likes the bodice and print, but the skirt looks like scraps of fabric stapled on the dress. Nina thought it was a charming print and loved the silhouette. This was Rachel's favorite print; Heidi's favorite as well. I especially like the sleeve and thought the pattern was definitely wearable. Could April be the dark horse?
Valerie: She was inspired by her father, who's a homebuilder. The shapes were to mimic a blueprint of a home. The judges remember Valerie's dress that was made out of napkins. Michael K. says it looks like she just attached paper to the dress and took the life out of the fabric. He particularly doesn't like the blue underlay. Nina says the overall effect is very heavy. Rachel also agrees that the blue peeking out from underneath is unfortunate. I uttered a big, "Meh" when I saw this one. Valerie's come up short too many times, so I think she should go.
Mondo: He first claims to the judges that he used to take construction paper home and make collages for his mother, and says the pattern represents who he is and that it tells a story. Nina wishes she knew what the story was, but says the outfit is terrific. She likes how he's not afraid of mixing prints and colors. Michael K. says the fabric, color, and pattern mix is something Mondo is good at. Rachel loves the pants and fit, but the one thing that holds her up is the inspiration. Heidi thinks it's great and well put-together.
He then takes a gulp and admits that he's HIV positive. Everyone is speechless. Okay how can he not win after that?
From what we've seen of Mondo this season, I'm 99 percent certain that he didn't admit this just to win sympathy and votes from the judges. He did tell it to millions of viewers before telling his parents, but it seems appropriate to me that his designing was what gave him the courage to reveal this secret.
Of course, Mondo is the winner, as Heidi says, yet again. He's the one to beat.
And Andy's in, Valerie's out. Valerie has just been in the bottom too many times, even though I thought Andy's outfit was worse. She goes on about her love for each of the contestants, but I kind of have tuned out by now.
Tim even says how proud he is of Mondo, which is very sweet. And we're down to the final 6!
The next time, Heidi is the client. Oh boy. There's even an accusation about cheating. Cheating?! Tune in next week.
What did you think of Mondo's secret? How can you not pull for him now?
Images via MyLifetime.com