'Project Runway' Recap: Finale Shocker!

Jill Baughman

Project RunwayMondo, Andy, and Gretchen have made it to Fashion Week -- this is it, folks, the last episode of Project Runway.

All the contestants from the season have come back, some of whom I barely recognize. Heidi and Tim walk the contestants through highlights of the final three designers. They also go over Michael C.'s and Mondo's bromance, with Mondo admitting he didn't treat Michael fairly. The two still love each other, and for a second I wanted both of them to win. It seems the final 4 also have a strong bond, which is nice (and kinda weird?) after seeing how much Gretchen hated Michael.

But it's unclear why the producers didn't ask the hosts to hype up the rivalry between Michael C. and Ivy more. Their intense hatred for each other and backstabbing made the show fun to watch. On the whole, this "reunion" is pretty boring and just a wrap-up of everything we've seen so far.

After all that reminiscing, Tim collects the final three so they can head back to the work room. Finally.

The designers get to edit what they've done after showing three looks last week. Andy needs to show more variety, Gretchen needs to show more drama, and Mondo needs to make sure he doesn't go too circus-y. Since they made an eleventh look, they have to eliminate one other look since they can only show 10.

Two hours before the show, everyone's busy getting ready and feeling the pressure. With 40 minutes to go, Tim gives Mondo a pep talk and Tim gives him the motivation to stop standing around and get to work, as Mondo freaks out because some models didn't show. The drama was kept to a minimum and there were no catastrophes, or so it seemed.

And finally, the fashion show starts at Lincoln Center. Jessica Simpson is the guest judge this week. I'm putting up some of the looks the judges talked about, as it'd take all day to put up 30.

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Gretchen's first look
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The jewelry the judges like
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Who would wear this??
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Nina likes these pants

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More burnt oranges and browns
Gretchen: Her collection is called "Running Through Thunder." Nope, don't get it. Nina says that overall she did a fantastic job. The prints were very nice and there were lots of choices. Nina loves the patchwork pants and says they felt modern and easy. But she observes that it's very monotone and would've liked to see more color. She is also surprised (not in a good way) by the opening look. Michael Kors likes the vibe of the girl, which he says is relaxed and easy. All the judges love the jewelry, which Gretchen designed. Heidi says it was a little repetitive. I still don't know why Gretchen always goes to those granny panty bottoms. I was pretty underwhelmed by Gretchen's collection.

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Andy's first look
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Where's the Asian warrior look?
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The look Jessica likes
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Heidi likes this top
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New look from last show
Andy: His inspiration was the Buddha Park where his family is from. Michael Kors loves how he took something that was personal for him and the Asian theme didn't turn costume-y. But he says there wasn't that much diversity. Heidi wasn't wowed with the first look that came out. Nina is happy to see the softness after seeing so much edginess but is worried the collection didn't look like Andy. Where is his go-to Asian warrior look? Nina thinks that the "Orientalism" took over. I too had no idea how he could find so many Asian runway models. Jessica loves the one-shoulder silver dress. Thank goodness Michael and Nina don't like the headpieces, because I certainly was confused by them. I wasn't wowed by his collection and not at all surprised the judges eliminated him early on in the game.

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Mondo's first look
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All the judges like the skull

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The judges love this dress

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Plaid pants under much discussion
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The punk tunic everyone likes

Mondo: He looks so cute in his chic suit and tie. Mondo was inspired by his Mexican roots. Michael Kors says the collection was very Mondo: eye-catching and dramatic. Heidi says there were loud and special pieces as well as beautiful and quiet ones. Heidi likes the skull t-shirt. She also really loves the pink tunic. Nina thinks it looked like a cohesive collection, and she likes the use of colors and prints. But sometimes she thinks it was too overwhelming in the decorative pieces and the collection could veer on looking too young. She wants him to add more sophistication by editing down. Jessica loves the personality of the collection and loves that polka dot dress.

The judges are split between Mondo and Gretchen. Heidi and Jessica defend Mondo, while Nina and Michael think it's too circus-y. Michael and Nina think Gretchen's clothes are a nice laid-back kind of sexy, while Heidi isn't excited by Gretchen's clothes. Michael and Nina are annoyed by Mondo's lack of editing, with Nina saying Heidi would never wear that polka dot dress.

Damn that polka dot dress!

They both said that Mondo was borderline teenager-y and circus-y. Personally I think they were mad that Mondo didn't take their advice when it came to that polka dot dress. Heidi argues that the judges praised him for his use of color all season and are now condemning him for it. She also says he's more "special" than Gretchen, which I totally agree with. And aren't these clothes supposed to look young and edgy?

Granted, Mondo's looks didn't exactly floor me, but I'm so surprised by how much Nina and Michael call Gretchen's stuff "wearable." I thought this show was about vision, about thinking outside the box, about creating new trends. Michael and Nina were looking for stuff you could find at Target (no offense to Target shoppers, I buy lots of clothes from there). And even if Gretchen's clothes were in Target, I still wouldn't buy 'em. So I'm even more surprised when they announce the winner ...

Regardless, the judges came to a conclusion: THE WINNER IS GRETCHEN!! Wow. That was even the first word out of Tim's mouth when he came to congratulate her.

How disappointing. Guess Project Runway was too afraid to crown a true visionary. Instead we're stuck with granny panties and boring oranges and browns. An entire season and the judges anointed the wrong person. Should this signify the end of Project Runway? It may signify the end of me watching this show.

Were you happy about Gretchen winning? What did you think about Mondo's designs?


Images via MyLifetime.com


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