Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Project Runway: A Rough Day on the Runway

The judges thought Mondo was the clear winner of this challenge.

This week the contestants were challenged to create a garment that portrays them as a designer in a classic American sportswear look with Jacqueline Kennedy as their muse. As Heidi put it, they were to look to the past to make something for the future.

Many of the designers struggled this week to make an ensemble for someone so specific that’s so iconic and retro and still stay true to themselves and their own modern aesthetic. It also seemed like many of them struggled to understand what the definition of sportswear is in general (just like they seemed to be confused by last week’s “resort wear” challenge).

And then of course, the twist. On what was supposed to be the runway day, Tim Gunn throws a wrench in the works by announcing that instead of having a show, they are going to Mood. They were now to create an outerwear piece to go with their ensemble and have an extra day to make it.

While this extra piece seems to help a few of the contestants, it completely ruins the chances of others. Valerie was already creating a jacket, so she opted for a vest to go on top. Michael C designed a beautiful dress and then covered it with a shrug that Heidi compared to an old dingy rug or dish rag. Ivy’s otherwise chic ensemble was thrown a bit off kilter by her poor-fitting organza trench.

In the end, Mondo came out on top as the clear winner and Michael Drummond was sent home. Had Michael D listened to Tim, he could have possibly saved his cartridge-pleated skirt and his spot in the competition. Or, who knows? The judges were unbelievably brutal this week, making me cringe repeatedly with their unnecessary rudeness. The designers themselves can’t seem to ever predict who is on top and who is on bottom. It just doesn’t seem fun to anyone anymore. Although I was incredibly happy for Mondo (my fav so far), this episode left me feeling like I was at dinner with an awkward bickering family and couldn’t leave the table. I had to shudder it off a bit after it ended.

SIDE NOTE: Although Nina’s criticism to Andy this week was incredibly harsh, she did say something that resonated to me. How often do we see the designers step back and analyze their garments from the perspective the judges have? Do they ever take their garments out and look at them from the angle and distance the judges would? So many times we hear the designers’ comments as they watch their garments coming down the runway and they notice things that need fixing–namely proportion, puckering, fit. Perhaps they all need to take a few steps back, distance themselves from their designs a bit, and really analyze what they see. If the judges can’t see your intricate sleeve pleating, then who cares really?

So, what did you think? Let us know in the comments below.


Andy South


Gretchen Jones


Ivy Higa


Michael Costello


Christopher Collins


April Johnston

Michael Drummond

Mondo Guerra


Valerie Mayen



Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in


  1. sews4fun | | #1

    I'm glad to see Mondo's talent was finally recognized, I honestly believe Mondo will win Project Runway. I thought Andy might be a competitor after last week but the M.C. Hammer pants and vest he did was just awful! Andy said he prefers to have an Asian influence on his garments so I guess he could aptly name this ensemble Shank-Hi Surprise after seeing the backside of this forgettable mess.
    I hate to admit that I liked Gretchens outfit, I see she wisely dyed that black and white zebra print to a more subtle brown. You know, Gretchen reminds me of the scarecrow on the Wizard of Oz and he was always my favorite and so I really liked Gretchen at first because I always thought of the scarecrow when I thought of her but She's not the scarecrow any more, she's just crow. Michael C no longer has my respect after the brown nosing he did, hes just pathetic. I don't know what rose colored glasses Michael Drummond was looking through last night but they clearly clouded his vision to be honest. They said Jackie O, not Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. I liked Chris's dress and I don't know what jacket anyone could have come up with to go with that dress. I have to admit Ivy did better last night, her toilet paper trench-flasher coat was not impressive but the outfit underneath was decent. Whats with all the palazzo pants this show? Anyway, I still dont hold out much hope for her. I had to smile, outerwear is her speciality? Really? Oh well, I guess even a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.

  2. Cherlyn | | #2

    I loved Mondo;s look because I could see Jackie O wearing this.l I could see her in Ivy's without the jacket. The jacket didn't fit correctly and she went for toomany diagonals; in other words overkill! It is a shame, because I think she would ahve won had it not been for the jacket. I loved Christopher's dress from the moment I first saw it. Very glammorous and who would want to cover that intereting look he created? No one. Again the outerwear was a death sentence to a garment that didn't need any other pieces---the statement had already been made!

    Gretchen's was just plain ol' baggy--her look is changing. I don't know if she can end up in the top now. Why didn't Valarie go home? Her outfit was worse than Michael C's. Michael's was targeted toward a youthful person, not someone like Jackie O. His construction was much better than Valarie's. She is undecisive. April created yet another black dress---black is becoming too safe. It's like the designers decide the challenge is not their style so stay safe and go black. I didn't care for Michael C's dress combo. That jacket was all wrong. Andy tried to place his design into the Jackio O look and it just didn't work. maybe if he had stayed away from pants and had done a dress.

  3. krncpa | | #3

    Mondo's outfit was gorgeous - he is my favorite of the designers.
    However, I'm not sure I'm going to be able to watch much more. The judges are so rude. It's one thing to offer constructive criticism, it's another to make personal attacks on the contestants. It almost feels like they're getting a type of "high" off of this, especially Heidi Klum. The judges now remind me of the way the popular kids acted in junior high - they're supposed to be adults AND professionals..but guess acting like adults wouldn't help the show's ratings..

  4. TnSewingNewbie | | #4

    the show is getting NUTS. They are laughing and giggling at the designers outfits! That is soo unprofessional!! What does heidi Klum know anyway? does she sew? NOOO She has a team of people that dress her!! She shouldnt be a judge!

    I love Mondo he will win project runway.

  5. User avater
    Kate_W | | #5

    For me, Mondo was the clear winner. I also think he was the only designer to benefit from the additional outerwear challenge. I think the jacket really completed the whole look.

    The judges were incredibly harsh. Andy's pants, with some reknobberation would probably be chic and very comfortable. Still not Jackie O. but ... good grief! Train wreck?

    Gretchen seems stuck in the same color palette. I also wonder if she can fit anything other than stretchy sportswear. Her look is always loose and slouchy.

    Michael C.'s dress was beautiful but not Jackie. Also, I'm starting to think he has one trick -- beautifully draped dresses, although he did produce Mondo's swimsuit and jacket ... again, I wonder what his sewing technique actually is.

  6. Fredwb | | #6

    I real winner with this one!! God I love the colors!!
    The prints work so well together!!
    Suprised me!!

  7. fabriclover007 | | #7

    I agree about the judge's snarkiness. I've started looking without the sound just because I can't bear their rudeness.

    There's probably a reason that Tim Gunn is the one to send everyone home; the others should try to emulate him. His comments are honest, insightful, generally on target but he is never mean. They could learn from him. And I still haven't seen anything that Gretchen or Ivy have done that interests me generally. I can only think they keep them around because they add conflict which they must think makes it interesting.

    I used to love this show, just the designs were worth looking at. but someone should give the judges a clue. They're ruining the show. And the designers, to me, more or less don't seem to be as talented as those in the past.

  8. User avater
    Soli | | #8

    I was also happy that Mondo won. I think he's really talented and probably should have won for his MTM influenced billboard challenge. Some of the things he's done in other challenges with cut outs and small proportions don't work for anything beyond the junior market, but he's great at mixing pattern and color. I thought that Valerie's jacket was a variation on her red dress and resort wear designs. I'm starting to see that as her fall back piece, rather like Peach and the tennis dress variations. Andy totally lost me with those overdone cargo pants, although I found some of his other designs highly desirable. Ivy's ensemble reminded me a bit too much of some of the things one sees in pattern drafting text books - all those odd seams for the sake of being able to do it, rather than the seam having any organic function in the bodice. I thought Gretchen's ensemble was just a dumpy, blah mess. If it didn't flatter a size 0 fashion model, how would it flatter a real woman? The dresses by April, Michael C, and Christopher while nice really didn't channel Jackie O. Personally, I think that it has to do a lot with how much the designers had been exposed to style icons of the past. I remember one past challenge where the guy didn't know who Cher was. I don't think my school has offered real in-depth looks at individual icons when it comes to History of Costume, and so I'm sure it's the same at other schools.

  9. starrsewsabit | | #9

    I am confused as to which age group Project Runway is trying to please? 20's and 30's? I think alot of the designs are too young for the 40+ and some are too old for the 40-.
    Mondo's was very nice, but I think Ivy hit Jackie O's style better. I don't think Jackie O would ever wear that combo of patterns. I also liked Andy's pants (I would never wear them, but 20's and 30' would), but definately to showcase his style not the Jackie O challenge.
    I agree, the judges are rude.
    If you go to Elle Magazine website, you can see fashion week takeouts of many designers including Michael Kors. I think HIS miss the mark in most ccases for current and inovative.

  10. KarenSantaFe | | #10

    I liked Mondo's too, it really popped on the runway, but for wearability, I love Ivy's work in general, and this outfit in particular. I'm only looking at the stills though, as I missed this episode, so maybe it moves differently. Looks lovely to me though from the still shots. Ivy's is the outfit I would buy, Mondo's is the one I would look at on the rack.

  11. EllenMorrison | | #11

    Just a correction to the original post. The "dish rag" shrug belonged to Christopher Collins, not Michael Costello.

  12. Markie2 | | #12

    I am so relieved to see krncpa's comments about the judge' pleasure in their borderline cruel comments. Sometime Michael Kors looks to Heidi for a "private" laugh at some really cutting comment he has made at the expense of one of the designers. Then they laugh and laugh while the poor designer just stands there humiliated. IT"S JUST A GARMENT! Maybe it was a bad one, but we all left eighth grade long ago. If they aren't astute enough to give constructive comments, they shouldn't be there.

    That said, the contestants this year are particularly mean to each other. A notable two (Ivy and Gretchen) must not know what they sound like, because they both look terribly full of themselves. Gretchen in particular. Can she REALLY be that awful? It was quite satisfying when she was called on the carpet by Nina Garcia in particular for "throwing Michael C. under the bus". Then (the sainted) Tim Gunn had that wonderful last say in the designer room. I cheered for the good guys.

    My favorite moment was the shot of Mondo and Michael C with their arms around each other after the team challenge. I know fashion is a business and you have to be tough, but kindness is always in style.

  13. Flabcr | | #13

    As a teacher,a seamstress,a THREADS reader, & an ASG member, I'm keeping score of the number of times the judges refer to a poor design or poor workmanship as "looks home-sewn or home-made". Michael K's favorite expression is "Becky-home-ec-ie". Last year there were 4 put-downs; this year, 1, so far, from Heidi. Although I understand what they are TRYING to say, I wish they would change their terminology & say specifically what they don't like....crooked seams, poor hems, bad fit, etc. They obviously haven't seen the work of thousands of excellent "home-sewers".

  14. gingerink | | #14

    I loved Mondo's ensemble! I could see Jackie-O wearing that oversized houndstooth skirt with the purple-lined black jacket, and even the striped shirt. The scale of the patterns worked well together--a fine stripe wouldn't have fit the size of the houndstooth.

    I agree, Mondo was the clear winner this time! [I do wish we could have seen what Casanova would have done with this challenge.]

    As for the term "home-made" being an insulting put-down, the judges are just showing up their own deficiency--they must not know any good home sewers! They should consult a thesaurus and come up with a better adjective--or be more specific in describing what it is they don't like about a garment or a look.

  15. tablerunner | | #15

    Jackie O was a very high class dresser no matter what she wore. None of the designs would of had carried her as the icon. Color, material, style had to be
    very sheik, elegant that she carried with grace. Too bad our fashions has lost
    this beauty.


  16. bzsewing | | #16

    Okay Runway...How about showing us viewers a REAL competition?
    I'm So-o-o tried of shows that keep the drama queens in favor of real talent for the "sake of ratings". I don't get it! I thought this show was above that--Boy! Was I sadly mistaken! 
    Most fashion lovers, like myself, want to see Project Runway designers push themselves, watch the inner turmoil, and the "ah-ha" moments. Petty, snarky and drama isn't entertaining any more! This is all very immature. Is this how we want the young impressionable designers think this is how to behave in the real world?
    A few designers, like Mondo, have been great to watch. No drama and great design. I want to see more of this kind behavior!
    When truly talented people are put in a room to compete with each other, they push themselves to create better design. This has happened to me in graphic design classes time and again. Where's the entertainment factor? Seeing the work being produced and finished outcome. 
    The tone of this season was set when McKell was auf'ed over 'bowler hat boy' Jason. I guess we were to buy into Jason's "interesting" character and dismiss his very meager attempt at design. And to Heidi and Michael Kors--What? Are we in high school again? Their criticisms are anything but. Just a bunch of cheap potshot attacks. At least Nina has the maturity to give a real critique: analysis, assess, appraise and appreciate, most of the time. And a note to Michael: Your behavior on PR has turned me off from buying any of your design. And I will encourage others to do the same. Respect of you and Heidi have fallen.
    On the other hand, Tim has been an absolute gem, a real rock of the show. I feel if the show keeps going the way it is, Tim should walk. He's above such nonsense.

  17. abcdefg1234 | | #17

    Michael Kors was obnoxious and arrogant. Heidi Klum was not much better. Nobody has the right to be that mean nor that self satisfied...NOBODY is that good. Margaret Fuselier

  18. nitab | | #18

    I will finish watching this season but PR has lost a viewer. I mistakenly thought a 90 min. time slot would be more about the design process. For me it is a Snark contest. Nobody wins. Just for giggles I'm getting on the Snark train by saying if what Heidi wears is fashion I want none of it. Michael Kors-he leaves me speechless & not in a good way. Nina offers nothing constructive. Hot Mess is what I do in the kitchen. I'm so disappointed that the only "reality" show I watch has gone the way of the rest of them:(

  19. User avater
    Dudysews | | #19

    I am tired of the unusually harsh critiques of Michael Kors and Heidi. I realize it's Heidi's show, but as has been stated before, she doesn't sew, so how can she give an honest evaluation of the designs? Nina's critique was more fair and less severe than Kors' of Klum's.
    Ivy's pants ensemble was beautiful and something I could see on Jackie Kennedy. Michael C's outfit missed the mark completely and Michael D's dress wasn't fit to wear!! Mondo's winning outfit was chic but a little loud for Jackie! Her choices were more subdued, yet elegant!
    I am becoming more disappointed in the last few seasons of 'Project Runway', it seems to be going downhill in choices of designers perhaps Michael Kors and Heidi are getting weary of the show as well.

  20. Snikwas | | #20

    I couldn't see Jackie O in any of these designs and the only one I liked was Michael Costello!

  21. User avater
    LLaMona | | #21

    I have stopped watching Project Runway. I may catch a glimpse now and then. I think the judges are very harsh and rather mean spirited. I can get a run down here of what the program was about. For this contest it was apparent to me that most did not do enough research on Jackie O or the fashions of that period to make something that would come close to what she would wear. The only one who came close was the winner.

  22. kapnoel | | #22

    I do not live in the USA, so I do not watch Project Runway. Curiously enough, Burda WOF magazine had a re-interpretation of Jackie's clothes in issue 8/2010. You can have a look here:


    I am wondering if this is a coincidence with the theme of Project Runway!


  23. Bother | | #23

    This was a train-wreck of a challenge according to Tim Gunn's vlog posted on Facebook. The judges did not understand the challenge at the beginning which is possibly why their comments were so awful (although Kors could afford to take it down a notch - anyone else have the feeling that he's still trying to top his "Appalachian L'il Abner Barbie" comment from long ago?). Anyway, the judges didn't understand the challenge and it was a stupid idea to begin with because Jackie O didn't really pay much mind to American designers to begin with - she was all about Europe.

    If you really went with what Tim said it should be: if Jackie O was alive today and 30 years old, what would she wear, then Ivy should have won. Yes, I can see why the judges picked Mondo - it was OK - but Ivy's actually had some originality to it.

  24. threadoffaith | | #24

    I completely agree with everyone who is saying that the judges have gotten way too catty - look at your viewer's comments - we are the demographic you do not want to lose! Tone it down. I dropped out last year until the final episode, and am ready to do that again this year. Tim Gunn, who shares his insightful perspective with the designers, is what holds the show together.

    BTW - It was fun to see Tim on Craig Ferguson last Friday nite. Craig watches the show, and had great feedback on why he liked it - it's creative and intelligent (Note to producers: don't lose this quality to the snarkiness!)

    With all of the viewer suffering this year, the 90-minute format makes me really appreciate the editors in this world! Go back to one-hour, you are not adding to the view-ability of the show at all.

    Must share this special mother-daughter moment - I was finally able to get my mom to watch her first episode of PR, because it was based on her goddess-idol, Jackie O. (She wants a bracelet that says W W J W - 'What would Jackie wear?') I had to call her up during a commercial and explain to her what 'Camel Toe' was! Where's that Cuchini when you need it? Maybe they should have a few pinned to the accessories wall!

  25. gailete | | #25

    I don't watch this show, so only see what is posted here. The clothes for this competition, I doubt if Jackie Kennedy would have touched with a ten foot pole. Ugly, yucky, what was with all the bare skin?

    I'm not sure what this designers are supposed to be doing on this show but it has no reality with life and what people really wear.

    For patterns to REAL clothes, visit us at http://MoonwishesStore.ecrater.com

  26. OPStitcher | | #26

    Didn't see the show, but looking at the designs, Nina, Heidi, Michael & Co. probably weren't harsh enough. None of the ensembles comes anywhere near classic, chic American sportswear. Valerie's outfit is something Jackie might have worn, but it's not really a sportswear look; Ivy's might have passed muster without the sheer jacket, & Mondo's styling was close but his choice of patterns turned what could have been classy into clown.

    As for Andy's hideous mishmash, I don't see an actual cartridge pleat anywhere on that outfit. Didn't you folks at Threads get the message several months ago when you misidentified cartridge pleating in a how-to article?

    The "home ec/homemade" putdowns are right on target. Homemade is great for cakes, not for for clothing. Handmade represents an altogether different caliber from what most home sewing achieves.

  27. Skymom | | #27

    OPStitcher, it wasn't Andy who did the cartridge pleats, it was Michael D. (who was sent home). His pleats are, as far as I understand the term, genuine cartridge pleats--you don't see a lot of them these days, so I was kind of intrigued with them and wouldn't have sent him home just because of those!

    My sense with this challenge is that no one really understood the brief, designers or judges. Modern American sportswear, expressing each designer's point of view, with Jackie O as inspiration. Does that mean something she'd wear then or now? Hard to know, and in any case, at what period of her life? She was always pretty classic, but her look wasn't stagnant--there's lots in her wardrobe history to consider. (She may have been a style icon, but I admit that some of her looks kind of bore me today, even though I can tell the garments are amazingly well-made. Sue me!) I did think Mondo was closest, and I liked his look best, Jackie O or not.

    As for the judges, I can live with hearing criticism, but they're pretty unhelpful. It's mostly jeering and name-calling (typical schoolyard bullying), with very few specifics about what went wrong in any particular look. "The proportions aren't right" just isn't enough for me anymore, nor is "Your taste level is questionable." It could be the editing, though. I gather we're seeing only a few minutes of hours of discussion.

  28. User avater
    jilldeville | | #28

    I thought the judges were brutal this week, too. I was really kind of shocked - what's the point of abusing the contestants?
    I can't recall a nastier set of comments in a single episode. seems to me like Michael Kors is tired of it, so how about he goes home and we get a new judge - a true innovator like Marc Jacobs?? Maybe if Nina can't manage a smile she can be replaced too? Surely there's someone in the fashion industry that has a positive attitude - they keep telling us fashion is there to make us feel good. Do they really believe it? Poor Tim! The one positive influence...At least Heidi tries to be funny.
    A point in the judges defense, how about screening the contestants to see if anyone knows what resort or sportswear is? How can you be around clothing and not know?

  29. User avater
    RevDi | | #29

    I was so glad Mondo won this one. I think Jackie O (she continued her fashion style after she was first lady, and some of the photos they showed were from those days) would have worn his outfit. The giant houndstooth check in purple was classic but bold, and the jacket with the purple lining was chic. Loved it.
    Poor Ivy thought she could slide by by putting a pair of classic Jackie sunglasses on her model! The pants and top were great - classic - but the jacket had major problems, which was why she showed it open (and I don't think Jackie would have worn it with the big bow in the back). Yes, she had great construction skills on the jacket, but if it don't fit, it don't win!
    As for Gretchen, do you really expect to win if you send a model down the runway wearing a coat and never have her remove it to show what's underneath? And it wasn't an attractive outfit to start with. Poor silhouette and awful color. Did she purchase too much of the camel fabric during the "Team Luxe" challenge and want to use it up? Come on! I'm glad to see that Michael C has learned to play her, and just smile, nod his head, and move on.
    Did Andy really think Jackie (or any other fashion icon of her ilk - Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn - would wear parachute pants crawling up her crack? With ankle boots? Really?
    Chris' dress was stunning, and really seemed to channel Jackie. But he seemed to have painted himself into a corner when it came to the second part of the challenge. Choosing fur was unfortunate. I don't think I would have chosen something with which I've never worked at that point. A twist on a classic opera coat would have been lovely.
    I've seen vests over light jackets this season, and Valerie could have fought harder over hers. Or she could have bit the bullet and made a coat. I wasn't sure why she didn't want to do that. Lots of people wear coats over jackets, particularly in the East and West, particularly in inclement weather.
    Poor Michael D - I started out liking his cartridge pleats, particularly at one point when he had a very delicate-looking black lace-looking something (waistband) supporting them. It made an interesting contrast and could possibly have been carried off on a slim model. But it just didn't work. In the right fabric, perhaps, with some movement to the skirt, and the pleats slightly above the hip - maybe. And his jacket needed refinement and the blouse was unfortunate. But I enjoyed his personality, and he had some interesting design ideas. I just don't think he had enough realization of the female body, and how things really hang on it.

  30. Chrisclothworks | | #30

    I wonder if any of these people even know who Jackie O is or how she would have dressed. I would say Ivy and Mondo came closest, with Ivy getting my vote. I'm also not sure that they have any idea what sportswear is.

  31. cdesigns | | #31

    The judges are so hum brm no smile and hate to say anything good. I think Michael needs new clothes he wears the same thing every show, does he not have any fashion sence and does he have a dislike for color!! Judge Nina is a mess she needs to comb her hair and her fashion sence isn't very good either. Mondo is fantastic he should win he has the best fashion sence and Gretchen is a bitch and she doesn't know how to smile either. How would you like her to fashion something for you. Bringing the Mothers and other family members was a disaster I think most of them lost there way after that, wasn't a good idea. Except Monda he was uplifted,the rest just looked like they gave up. Can't wait until next week wouldn't miss the show, I like to watch it over and over again!!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

More From Threads

Discussion Forum

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All