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Oh, Mondo. I had joked about your oversharing future autobiography entires — walking around in your underwear, leaving Colorado with only $14, etc. But now it’s serious.
On “Project Runway” Season 8 Episode 10, “There’s a Pattern Here,” the seven remaining designers were challenged to create their own textiles. (Just like last season; Emilio Sosa won that challenge.)
Their garment design could be anything, but the textile design had to be something very personal. All the contestants were shown photos from their youth.
Mondo Guerra was raised Catholic. He came out to his mom at age 17 and she wanted to keep that a secret. He explained that his textile was based on a plus sign that represents his HIV positive status.
He’s held the secret for 10 years of his life. That’s amazing. He’s 32.
Mondo: “This has been so hard to keep a secret from my parents because I feel guilt and I feel shame. I feel like if they knew, I don’t know if they’d know how to deal with it and I’ve just realized that I can’t live that way anymore. I can’t hide anything because I am such a better person than just being a coward.”
Mondo’s mom showed up for the day — along with everyone else’s family members, and Christopher’s hot boyfriend, JJ — and he didn’t tell her about his HIV status. He wanted to, but he knows when she finds out it’s going to hurt and he didn’t want to ruin her first trip to New York. 😦
Bravo, Mondo, for your bravery in coming out publicly like this and for being able to use a difficult personal secret as an opportunity for artistic catharsis. I have not always (or even often) been Team Mondo in terms of his designs, but I will always be Team Mondo when it comes to Mondo as a person. He has proven himself to be kind to everyone — especially the bullied Michael Costello — and he deserves the bright future “Runway” will give him.
(Guess what! Mondo and Michael Costello just co-hosted a benefit earlier tonight for Colorado AIDS Project and Rainbow Alley.)
(But what’s this about Mondo being “rude” to Heidi Klum — who is making herself the client again — in the previews for next week’s episode? Or is that more manipulative editing?)
I do think this is just further proof that Mondo will win Season 8. Not only is he the judges’s favorite designer, he has proven that he can work with the difficulties in his life and let them propel him instead of stopping him. (Like Andy? Poor Andy. I still love him.)
So we have the secret mentioned in the previews. Now we have to find out who is accused of cheating…
… but I guess we’re going to get to that next week, or sometime later before the finale.
**** ON THE RUNWAY ****
“There’s a Pattern Here”
Gretchen Jones — Hate the design of the top, but I do love the print. Judges: Heidi Klum loves the print. Michael Kors likes the pants, but not how the print is placed. It’s like “fried egg on the boob.” Nina Garcia likes the print, but she’s disappointed in the outfit. She expected more from Gretchen. Guest judge Rachel Roy says it’s “almost” there.
April Johnston — Black and white again, but I like it. It’s creative and edgy. My favorite. Judges: As soon as the model turned the corner MK got the friction and pulling she was going for. He very much likes the bodice and the idea of the print but the scraps don’t work for him. Nina thinks it’s a charming print and she likes the silhouette. This is Rachel’s favorite print. It has the most unique voice. It’s also Heidi’s favorite print. She doesn’t like the “poofiness,” though.
Andy South — Boring. He wishes he could start over. Me too. Andy, I love you but even I can’t defend this. Judges: Rachel likes the print. She says it has a painterly feel, but the outfit itself is “odd and confusing and upsetting.” It’s not sexy. The print makes Nina sad. She is disappointed in him because she’s seen things from him that are interesting. “What happened?” He blames his mom, basically. MK likes the print too but he’s dumbed himself down. MK sees a face in the clothes. A sad face. Heidi thinks it’s “unwearable.”
Mondo Guerra — Very Mondo. The designers all said “whoa!” They love it. Judges: Nina wants to know what the story is. But she calls it “fantastic” and “phenomenal.” MK loves the way he mixes prints. He thinks she looks fabulous without the jacket too. Rachel says it’s something she would love to wear. Rachel wants to know the inspiration. She thinks the print looks too perfect?
Why were all of the judges asking so much about Mondo’s inspiration, in particular? They didn’t seem to push as hard for the other designers. Were they told to try to tease out the secret? Smells like a set up. (I do know that in real time these runway critiques take hours, it just feels a bit false to me for the editing to focus so much on the judges happening to question Mondo over and over about his inspiration, before he decided to share.)
Mondo felt like that was the moment to share his experience. He told Nina the pluses referred to his status as HIV positive. “I’ve been HIV positive for 10 years. And when I saw these pictures of my family it brought back a lot of emotion and so I wanted to pool from the past, but I also wanted to give something back of who I am now and that I’ve been so scared of and hiding from and that’s the story.” Afterward he said he felt a lot better. “I feel free.” In the workroom, he talked to his fellow designers about it. They were all supportive. “I feel so good. I feel so good.”
Valerie Mayen — Meh. No. Judges: Heidi said it looked familiar because there are more napkins. This looks nothing like the party store napkin dress, which was actually gorgeous. MK thinks it’s an odd choice of fabrics to layer. There’s nothing appealing about it. Nina said the overall effect of the design is very heavy.
Michael Costello — What is with the napkin boob trend? Blech. Judges: MK said she literally looks like she’s wearing a men’s old-fashioned tie that got cut off. It looks funny like a joke. Heidi likes that, she thinks it makes it look cool. No one seems to actually like the print. Nina wanted better styling. MK called it “Annie Hall” at the country club.
Christopher Collins — It reminds me of Casanova’s look that was declared too old. But I like it, as I liked his other look. Judges: Rachel doesn’t see the water in the print. Nina thinks they’re fine clothes, but they’re not fashion. She wants to see outstanding clothes. “I want to see fashion here!” Heidi wrote “nice, safe, boring.”
*WINNER & LOSER*
Mondo won his third challenge in a row. This whole season has been a personal roller coaster for the guy. I think he wins even if he doesn’t technically win. (But I’m pretty darn sure he will win.)
It came down to Andy vs. Valerie. It was not a good week for Andy, but he has more potential than Valerie. Valerie has been going downhill for a very long time.
Bye Valerie! At least she honored her father, in her fashion. And she said goodbye to everyone in such a sweet, open-hearted, emotional way. Hugs for Valerie!
Catch up on my “Project Runway” recaps, spoilers and other stories in this archive. I still have hope that Tim Gunn will eventually decide to go back to doing his vlogs.
Things likely to reappear in Mondo Guerra’s autobiography:
1. Mondo likes to walk around his apartment in his underwear.
2. Mondo has never made more than $12,000.
3. Mondo left Colorado with $14.
4. Mondo now has $20,014 after winning the “Race to the Finish” challenge on “Project Runway” Season 8, Episode 9.
5. This is going to come in handy since Mondo really needed some drinking money.
I half agree with the judges this week.
I did love Mondo’s ready-to-wear look. I liked most of the ready-to-wear looks this week, but I’ve accepted that if I ever met Nina Garcia she would squint under her note card about my taste level.
The back of Mondo’s high fashion dress looked, as Michael Kors put it, like a Kentucky Derby horse ribbon exploded. Oh, and he said the gown was too short and Nina said the fabric looked inexpensive.
Apparently those are all fantastic things that scream “winner” because he won. Again. Two in a row.
Heidi Klum adores Mondo. He is her new Christian Siriano and I think there is nothing that will stop her from making him the Season 8 winner.
By the way, Andy South —who had a major comeback, go Andy! — said he considers Mondo, Gretchen Jones and April Johnston to be his closest competition. And — spoiler alert — that list just happens to match Tbone of Blogging Project Runway’s final 4 prediction after seeing the final collections in person on Sept. 9.
Over to Ivy Higa for a minute. She’s gone!
Back to the good designs.
I actually liked Gretchen’s looks this week. They don’t look great in the photo I have here, but watching them on the runway — I kind of thought she might win. But there’s no stopping Mondo. Mondo not only gets $20,000 from L’Oreal Paris, his high fashion look will appear in a L’Oreal advertorial.
(I had to Google “advertorial”: An advertorial is an advertisement designed to simulate editorial content, while at the same time offering valid information to your prospective clients.)
In a shameless bit of overwhelming L’Oreal self-promotion, each designer had to pick one of the Studio Secrets eyeshadow finishes as inspiration:
Gretchen insisted that velvet was a serious risk. Michael Costello said velvet is a boring fabric and Gretchen designs boring clothes, so it’s a perfect fit.
And so Gretchen vs. Michael C. resumed anew.
They both went for the same kind of “Bordeaux” color, which apparently Gretchen already patented.
Gretchen: “Those are my colors and he’s using them as well.”
Gretchen isn’t threatened, but she’s insulted that maybe “some boundaries were crossed.”
Gretchen: “Somehow I’ve created a monster.” (It’s in the mirror.)
Gretchen: “Michael C. replicates. I don’t see a point of view in his work. I see other people’s point of view.”
She thought his long high fashion gown’s train was “trouble, trouble, trouble.” Shocker: Michael Costello didn’t like what Gretchen was doing either.
On the other end of the spectrum, Valerie Mayen started the episode defending Ivy, saying she is a good person and her best friend in the house.
This was followed by Ivy saying Valerie complains too much and it’s very wearing because they all have problems.
Valerie had a major emotional breakdown and when she was spared instead of Ivy, she was shocked. Valerie needs to pull it together RIGHT NOW and give us back the girl who was at the top of my favorite designers list after the first week.
After two days, $300 for a high fashion look and $100 for a ready-to-wear look, and one look at a cute dog named Swatch at Mood, the designers produced decent work:
Gretchen high fashion: Kind of 1920s flapper meets hippie.
Gretchen ready to wear: I like this. Gretchen holla-ed at her own piece, though. That’s odd.
Judges: Higher scores. Michael Kors thought the high fashion dress was very wearable. Heidi Klum wanted the back to be the front. Guest judge Naeem Khan wanted more emphasis on the front, because that’s the part people notice at the table when at a dinner party (or something). MK didn’t like her hair. Nina Garcia said the makeup was perfect.
Mondo high fashion: Very Mondo. Love the hair piece.
Mondo ready to wear: LOVE this. This is more my style.
Judges: Higher scores. Heidi loved the hat. Naeem liked the hair and stripes and he loved the cocktail dress. Michael Kors said the gown is too short. Nina said the fabric choice looks inexpensive. MK thinks the back of the high fashion dress looks dreamy. “I think it looks a little like a Kentucky Derby horse ribbon exploded.” Heidi adores him.
Andy high fashion: I love it! Go Andy! He is the only one who did separates and he went for it. Love his model, too. Strong black armor.
Andy ready to wear: Simple and black with sleeves. Streamlined. Nice.
Judges: Higher scores. Naeem liked that he kept to his vision. He loved the cocktail dress. Michael Kors liked that it’s not so obviously metallic. MK loved the boot pants and how they could translate into something wearable. Nina liked the blend of metallics and that he went for fantasy makeup. Heidi said in terms of craftsmanship he did a great job. She didn’t like the high fashion look, though.
Christopher high fashion: Bjork’s swan is back!
Christopher ready to wear: Casual and nice. Kind of dull, but fine.
April high fashion: Black witch costume.
April ready to wear: I think I like that more.
Ivy high fashion: Nah. This doesn’t look high fashion. It’s more ready to wear.
Ivy ready to wear: I like this. This color is great and this strapless cocktail is cute enough, from afar.
Judges: Lower scores. Michael Kors: “I think they look like bridesmaids under the sea.” MK said the colors could’ve been gorgeous but they needed to be alleviated by lightness. Nina said both dresses have fit problems. She aged her models. Heidi liked the back of the high fashion dress better than the front.
Valerie high fashion: She calls it Rainbow Brite on crack? I kind of like it.
Valerie read to wear: Black and boring. Very dull.
Judges: Lower scores. Naeem says the #1 thing to learn in fashion is to listen to the fabric. She didn’t listen to the fabric. She tried to do structured dress out of soft fabric. Nina said it looked like a beauty pageant dress. She looked like Miss Guatemala. Nina questions her taste level. Uh oh. Michael Kors said she needs a magic wand. Valerie agrees with their points.
Michael C. high fashion: It seems hard for the model to walk, but I like it.
Michael C. ready to wear: Sexy as hell. Like it.
Judges: Lower scores. Naeem said the proportions in the high fashion dress need a lot of work, but he liked the cocktail dress. Heidi said he needed to choose between boobs or legs on the cocktail dress. MK said he’s the only one who had clothes that were constructed, sewn and tailored well. He called the high fashion dress train “ridiculous” and she was styled like Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone with the Wind.” “Hello! I mean, she’s got all the curtains from Tara ripped off the walls and put into the one dress.”
Catch up on my PR recaps and Tim Gunn vlog commentary here in this nifty archive.
Michael Kors should watch his back.
Last week on the “Project Runway” bridesmaids challenge, Ivy Higa went after Michael Costello. This week on the “What’s Mine Is Yours” team execution, she went after Michael Drummond. So next week it stands to reason the fast-talking yippy dog will be going after the Michael in black.
I hope to gawd she does since she’d finally get the smack she deserves.
Michael D. should not have spent A SINGLE SECOND feeling guilty for Ivy’s lack of design skills.
This is the girl who was inspired by the hospital drapes. It shows. Every week it shows. Drab. Boring.
Whenever she has someone next to her to blame for her lack of creativity she — cue Heidi Klum — throws them under the bus.
But she is the one who keeps designing bland, bloodless work. So why is she still here? Heidi can’t actually imagine Ivy will magically “wow” them next week. Where would she begin? She should’ve gone home this week. Period.
Michael Kors said it: She’s a seamstress. That’s all.
Some people can sew, some can’t. Apparently the Michaels, C and D, are not great at sewing. But at least they have creativity to fall back on.
Maybe I should duck after admitting this, but I kinda liked Casanova’s look. Maybe it’s just that Gretchen Jones’s model looks gorgeous in everything, but I thought it was simple and classy.
(Would you believe I have nothing bad to say about Gretchen this week?)
But I was 100 percent positive Andy South would win. Not only did his one-piece bathing suit scream “resort wear,” I’d actually buy it. I want that.
So how did April Johnston’s super punky edgy baby doll look win? It was cool — cooler than MD’s long black look from the same edgy frame of mind — but where’s the resort wear? (Congrats, though, April! Moving into The Bitch Pad must’ve lifted the curse.)
At least it wasn’t Mondo’s look. That was embarrassing. Actually, that was a free pass. It says volumes about the judges’ faith in him that he wasn’t even in the bottom two for that discount-rack-at-Forever-21 thing.
Speaking of faith in Mondo, check out the spoilers on the final “Project Runway” collections at Fashion Week.
**Stream of consciousness recap**
April had to move out of her cursed apartment and into The Bitch Pad. That sucks. But at least Ivy, Gretchen and Valerie were welcoming. Still not worth it.
Michael Costello was hurt by the designers’ lack of support. Andy was at least honest with him, telling him he doesn’t know who he is as a designer.
Heidi looked AWFUL in loose royal blue Hammer pants and heels before sending the crew outside to talk to Tim Gunn and Michael Kors.
MK said they had to do resort wear — interesting, eye catching and super fashionable work from their own point of view. Oh, and they get eyeglasses from his line. (At least the shades will hide eye rolls.) They also went on a boat. Cue The Lonely Island’s “I’m On a Boat.”
Michael Costello comes from Palm Springs, so he thought he had this. Mondo never goes on vacation and he likes to wander around in his underwear and he thought that was important to share. Casanova appears to be holding a grudge against Michael Kors — in addition to Tim and slutty girls and Donna Karan in the 1980s.
Andy’s hair is the new Philip Treacy orchid. Did Kristin bequeath that to him?
At Mood, what are the odds, Ivy gravitated toward the most bland, hospital-drapes fabric.
Back at the ranch, Tim brought out a bag. They had to execute each other’s designs. At least they didn’t get to choose whose work they wanted to do.
Successful designers don’t produce their own work, Tim says. They have to trust other people to execute it.
• Valerie was teamed with Andy
• Michael C. was teamed with Mondo. Mondo was so pissed and wanted to scream, but he used the same monotone he always uses so how can you tell when he’s really upset?
• April was teamed with Christopher
• Casanova got Gretchen, her former “hip buddy”
• Ivy got Michael D. She — ha! — was worried that his construction level wasn’t up to par with hers. Right. He was worried because he’s handing over his work and she’s handing over her neuroses.
I’m asking: What has Ivy done to earn this level of world-weary superiority?
Mondo openly said to Michael C. “your construction is awful.” Michael admitted he’s a draper.
Mondo was being condescending to Michael C. I was disappointed in him for joining the bullies. He was complaining on the first episode about feeling alone and now he’s just part of the mob attacking this one poor guy.
But at least he owned up to that and realized he was being a jerk. Michael C. won him over. If only Ivy had his open mind.
Gretchen made 6 or 7 huge sketches to communicate with Casanova. He thinks she thinks he’s a “retard.”
Gretchen was excited for some “face time” with Michael Kors, who dropped by the work room to diss the contestants. At least Tim just got to stand and nod instead of being the bad guy.
What is it with Ivy and Gretchen and beige?
Michael C. complimented Mondo’s designs. He calls him an amazing designer. I’m not into Mondo’s wild prints at all, but at least I can recognize his work as “Mondo.” It’s interesting even if I don’t always love it.
MK recommends a tailored boy short for April, which was what she wanted to do to begin with.
Michael D. called Ivy’s design “dumbed down” and “boring.” Yes, that would be it in a nutshell.
Mondo called Ivy a “powerhouse” and a “bossy lady.” She’s a fast-talking yippy dog off the leash is what she is.
MK said Valerie keeps going back to colors that no one likes. WHAT? What is he talking about? That is not true at all. Remember that gorgeous red dress that should’ve won the billboard challenge?
Ivy was frustrated because Michael D. sucks at sewing her work. He admitted it and he felt bad.
Valerie called her family and started crying. Don’t worry, you will get to Fashion Week. Everyone in the top 10 did.
Michael D. said he’s not as good as Ivy. She did a great job putting together what he wanted. So maybe Ivy should be a tailor?
Ivy is turning into her mother. We don’t want to see a Korean get angry.
He can feel her crazy energy coming off. He would never do that to somebody. I feel for you, man!
On the runway, Ivy finally realizes she designed something boring. But, no, Michael, the Statue of Liberty has style.
MD’s look was great, but that’s because he’s the superior designer, even if she can sew better.
April’s look was like the aftermath of a slasher film.
Mondo’s look is a no for me. Too bubblegum cutesy.
Casanova used Ivy’s bland colors but produced something classy. I don’t think it looks old. I like it.
Valerie’s panels were showing. Not very good execution by Andy.
Andy’s outfit looked better than I expected. His model is stunning and that helps.
Top 3: April, Michael D. and Andy
Bottom 3: Mondo, Casanova and Ivy
Why did Mondo feel compelled to repeat his underwear issue?
April complimented the work that Christopher did. They were a good team. MK called her look a punk edgy baby doll.
Guest judge Kristen Bell loved loved the look. Nina loved it too. I’m surprised.
Andy’s one-piece bathing suit is phenomenal. I would actually buy this. Andy complimented Valerie’s workmanship.
MK thought it was beautifully done. This is the win for me.
Michael D. complimented Ivy over and over. Ivy, of course, dissed him. Or, as Heidi says about everything, “threw him under the bus.”
MK loved MD’s look. I’m not as into it. It’s too long for me, with all the black. I like April’s short black slasher look more than this.
In the back room, Valerie was nervous for Ivy because “her partner’s skills were lacking.” No. It’s because Ivy’s design skills are lacking.
Nina called Mondo’s work “disappointing,” which no one wants to hear from The Goddess. His work looked “junior.” Not knowing resort wear was deemed “a cop out.”
What did MK say? Something on the discount rack at Forever 21? Ha!
Michael Costello raved about Mondo.
Ivy just went off on MD, blaming everything on him. She said she had to change her design repeatedly.
Nina said she’s very good technically but does she have the ideas to be a designer.
OK, but what about every other challenge? It’s the same story.
Michael Costello rolled his eyes about Ivy. He knows how she is. But did he really tell everyone not to vote for her last week?
MC keeps making faces!
Heidi repeats her “throwing him under the bus” comments. It’s true, though. Ivy keeps making hospital drapes and this is the first week she’s tried blaming it on someone else. Actually, no, on the Team Luxe challenge they all blamed Michael C. for their lack of talent. Her look was the worst.
Casanova’s look got thrown under its own bus. MK went on about how if this were a challenge to design for a 70 year old woman waiting for the bus or whatnot, this would be good. It’s all about buses.
I guess I’m a 70-year-old woman waiting for the bus. I love this.
Nina said Casanova has no middle ground between slutty slutty (she didn’t use those words, but MK would’ve) and matronly.
Michael D. is in. He was glad that he didn’t win. He was feeling so guilty. He could’ve thrown Ivy under the bus but he’s not going to retaliate because it’s childish.
He should not have felt guilty at all.
April and her super punky baby doll look won the challenge. That didn’t look like resort wear to me. Andy, you were robbed. Oh well.
Andy was in. Mondo was in.
It was down to Ivy and Cahzahnovah, as expected.
PLEASE dump the wicked witch.
Dang it! Not only was Ivy safe, everyone was happy about it. MD was relieved. You’re kidding me.
And Heidi, she’s not going to wow you next week. She does not know how.
Bye Casanova. You are a cute diva. And I liked your look. I did.
Catch up on my “Project Runway” recaps, Tim Gunn vlog commentary and other stuff here in this nifty archive.
Blogging Project Runway just sent a dispatch from New York Fashion Week with details on the “Project Runway” Season 8 show. Like last season, they are showing collections from the top 10 designers instead of the final three, which helps throw off the finale spoilers.
To quote BPR:
“Predictions: first, a bit of a spoiler. Earlier this week Nina Garcia mentioned on her twitter that they had narrowed down to the final three and that it ‘was one of the most emotional eliminations yet’. So we think they came in this week with a final four. There was a significant pause before they showed the final 4 collections. This may have been to ready the filming process. Although we have no certain knowledge, we think Gretchen, Mondo, April and Andy are the final four. Maybe Gretchen is the emotional elimination? Based on the quality of the collections, our consensus prediction for the win is Mondo. It will be a tough choice for the judges and we can’t wait to see how all of this goes down.”
If Mondo does win, I hope that will be enough to get him to stop complaining of loneliness. His talent is a curse, people!
By the way, it looks like Jessica Simpson is the guest judge for the finale.
Here’s the full scoop as of Thursday afternoon from BPR:
All 10 remaining designers showed this morning as predicted. Here was the order followed by some initial thoughts on the collections:
Michael Drummond – inspired by underwear? Hmmm.
Valerie Mayen – Rainbow Brite meets David Bowie! Fun looks and one of the crowd favorites.
Christopher Collins – went for elegance but fell a little flat.
Carlos Casanova – gold sparkly glitter glue on the models distracted from the designs.
Ivy Higa – inspired by one of her favorite beaches and the yellow tang fish in the tide pools. A beautiful beachwear collection.
Michael Costello – inspired by one of his dear friends. There were a couple of outstanding individual pieces in this collection but may have been trumped by the monochromatic rose taupe color of every look.
Gretchen Jones – looked a little melancholy and talked about the “journey” she went through on the show. Collections was called “Running Through Thunder”.
Mondo Guerra – inspired by what he loves and dedicated to his grandmother. Very strong collection.
April Johnston – inspired by “dusty dolls gone to a tea party and getting washed away”. There were short, loose buckles as a thread in the collection. We are concerned about her fabric choices.
Andy South – the theme was “bringing statues to life”. He had some cool starburst head pieces on his models. He was very teary-eyed at the end!
So that’s all from BPR right now. They are planning to post photos later.
Or you can go to these direct Tom & Lorenzo links:
Michael Costello collection (I’m surprised by how much I LOVE this — except for the boob exposure in that last one)
Mondo Guerra collection (And how much I hate this)
Verdict: There are pieces of Andy’s that I really love, but overall I have to pick Michael C. and Gretchen as my favorites. I’m shocked. I think I will be alone on the MC front, but so be it!
Catch up on my PR recaps and Tim Gunn vlog commentary here in this nifty archive.