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Project Runway: Season 8 – Finale Part 1

This week the final four were whittled down to the last three who will be showing at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. This week also marks the episode where Tim Gunn does his home visits and critiques the designers’ work in progress. I always love these episodes every season because I think it shows different sides of each designer apart from the workroom stress created during the regular show. Plus, it’s great to see Tim interacting with the families, which always makes for great television (the scene with Tim and Andy’s catfish had me laughing out loud, and probably was my favorite part of the entire season so far aside from Ivy taking a karma-infused needle to the face.)

After the long trek to New York, the designers were met with yet another challenge (no surprises here). They were to create an eleventh look to go with their ten-piece collections, and then present the new look along with two original ensembles to the judges to try for a spot at Fashion Week.

After the show the judges praised Mondo’s boldness, were concerned about Andy’s versatility and taste, questioned Michael’s editing, and were doubting the high-fashion appeal of Gretchen’s work. In the end, Michael was sent home and the disappointment was truly overwhelming and emotional. I certainly hope this doesn’t discourage him from forging on and pushing forward with his work. I enjoy his spirit, even if he doesn’t know the names of the fabrics he uses.

So, what do you think? Whose collections are you looking forward to next week? Any winner predictions?


Andy South


Gretchen Jones

Michael Costello

Mondo Guerra


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  1. Cherlyn | | #1

    I loved Andy's green dress; just a little on the short side for me. I didn't care for the swim suit and agreed with the judges---why did he place that in the three? I was glad when he was chosen to be in the final show.

    I didn't care for anything Gretchen showed, thought the one she made in two days was really ugly. I liked the jewelry though. I don't see anyone walking around in colored undies and a suit jakcet with no bra on ---- oh, I guess that explains the hat to hide your face!

    I was disappointed in Michael's work---everything is in the same color! What was he thinking!

    Then there is Mondo which I have enjoyed watching his mastery of prints! I loved the long dress with the large circles! I couldn't wear it, but I still thought it was a great looking dress. I didn't care for the flower hats so as far as I'm concerned those could be left off.

    I think Mondo is favored to win.

  2. bzstitches | | #2

    I must say i do love Mondo's work. I love his creativity and the way he is not afraid of colors and pattern. Go Mando.

  3. sews4fun | | #3

    I honestly DON'T see what the judges see in Gretchen's 1980's style or her one-step-up-from-grunge sensibility, I don't know a SOUL who would wear ANYTHING she "creates" and why the judges keep her on is a mystery to me. I din't expect Michael C to win but his stuff, while all the same monotone color, was better than the bottom of the rag bag pieces that Gretchen put down the runway. Gretchen STILL reminds me of a scare crow and one reason is the odd looking get-ups she puts together and parades around in. She is tall, thin and lovely but she dresses like a homeless person! Andy's green ruffled dress was just lovely but that caped crusader bathing suit he made was an embarrassment! I really didn't care for the patch work aqua shirt Mondo made but the dress was nice as was the skirt.
    I see the guest judge for the finale is Jessica Simpson, the famous fashion designer who has years and years of experience under her belt, oh wait....that's Vera Wang! You know, I am SO TIRED of seeing these little starlets who couldn't sew a straight line, lend their name to a clothing line and suddenly they are "experts" in the field of fashion!
    What's next? Larry the cable guy coming out with a designer line of underbritches? I can see it now, they will be reversible and the backside will say "get er done"! It will be all the rage. Maybe the guy who hosts "dirty jobs" can come up with some designer sewer sludge slacks? Either one of them will then be qualified to judge a P.R. show wont they? Oh well, either collection will fit right in with Gretchen's "creations".

  4. User avater
    Skycarl | | #4

    Well it's evident and has been mentioned in previous PR posts,
    They're keeping Gretchen around because she was the last gal
    and some would not like an all men finale. Even though Michael
    had the same color, his collection was better than Gretchen's
    and anyone could see that. It was a real sucker punch to
    Michael and I think anyone with a heart felt bad for him.

    Andy is way more tunnel visioned on his styles and I'm sure
    most will agree that Mondo, if he stays on course will be the
    Top Designer. Seems like the only one that is real on that
    show is Tim.

  5. User avater
    Kate_W | | #5

    Mondo and Michael were my favorites for this challenge. And Mondo to win! I am still curious as to how Michael sews without a tape measure. What is his technique? His parting was drawn out in this episode, but I've been impressed with his overall attitude and demeanor through this whole season.

    Andy's and Gretchen's looks: Meh. Interesting that Mondo thought Andy's looked 2-dimensional. And like others, I've seen and worn Gretchen's look before. Just. Not. Interested.

  6. fabriclover007 | | #6

    Mondo to win. Who else is there? Sews4fun, you're hilarious. I agree. I guess if they've managed to put something cheap out there that sells commercially that makes them an expert. Andy's green dress kind of intrigued me but is something that I think a skilled sewer could make with some uninterrupted time and the right fabric. how can Mondo not win. Huge distance between him and everyone else. You have to admit he does have a unique eye and way of mixing colors/patterns that make a garment interesting. I'd think never in a million years would that work but he mostly is able to pull it off.

    Maybe the reason they can't get more "real" designers to judge is that they're off tending to their own business and too busy to spend time judging a show where the winner of each challenge often ends up being decided for entertainment value rather than the quality or uniqueness of the garment. As I said before, Michael Kors should go spend some time on his own boring line.

    Michael C's elimination was truly heart wrenching, so difficult I almost couldn't watch. Kind of like a car accident where you want to avert your eyes but you keep looking anyway. My heart goes out to him, he survived so many mean spirited comments but near the end of the shows he was actually able to hug Gretchen. The only hugs I would have been able to give her by that point would be involving a head lock.

    Well, on to the finale, I agree I like seeing what they have in progress and the eventual show where they can really show what they're about and their vision rather than the faux mostly designed for entertainment challenges.

  7. User avater
    judithann | | #7

    Love Michael and I hope the best for him, I think his vision is clear he allowed it to be swayed...maturity will change that and I wish him a lifetime of freedom and peace. The draping oye, if only I could do it so easily!

    The clear winner? I am going to say Mondo, I could wear any piece although on this 50 year old body, maybe not together...love that finale skirt but dear god no way could I wear that top!! and truthfully I loved the gown, maybe not for me but he has a way of taking this prints and jerseys and making them refreshingly new.

    Gretchen, I like some of her stuff because yes I wear that look alot, but...not so much a NYC fashion show is it?

    Andy also I believe has amazing techniques, I am afraid his tendency toward theatrics will be his let down...

    ok all that being said? I was becoming bored with the show, and someone this collection of designers have renewed my interest, anyone else find that to be true? Not the backstabbing components, it just seems the group had many different techniques and viewpoints..whatever the formula for picking this group they need to keep it up

  8. User avater
    ajohn075 | | #8

    Five words - THE JUDGES GOT IT WRONG.

    I get it - Michael C.'s 3 looks were all within the same color family. Big deal! The designs were interesting and impeccably constructed. Also, these were only 3 looks out of his entire 10-look collection. There's no indication the entire collection was in the same color range. Regardless, there is no way Gretchen's designs look better than Micahel's.

    That being said, I believe this season's winner will be Mondo. I'm looking foward to next week's finale.

  9. User avater
    debit | | #9

    I am very disappointed. Gretchen really has not produced anything new. I agree with a previous post that I have seen and worn some of the lack luster items she showed. I was expecting to see show stoppers...None were visually grabbing. I think Michael C. is an interesting designer and would like to have seen his collection.

  10. SewLucky09 | | #10

    Well, for most of the challenges I did not like Michael C.'s creations, but for this finale, I liked his three looks more than Gretchen's. Which to be honest, anything is better than Gretchen's sick and dated ensembles. I do not understand her at all. I almost liked her green dress, until the back was shown....it looks like a diaper flap to me, just on the back. Weird, maybe it's so the wearer can carry something behind her butt, although who would want that, I have no idea. Wow did Michael cry. Eh, maybe it's just me but sometimes I thought he overreacted to a lot of stuff this season. But I understand it is a very upsetting moment to be the last one eliminated when so close to fashion week especially with the pressures of his family. Anyway, I'm sure he will carry on designing and sewing.
    I think Mondo will win of course. I liked his outfits except for the polka dot dress....I don't know, it was borderline silly. I liked 2 out of the 3 looks Andy made.....the swimsuit being the one I disliked. I also noticed Jessica Simpson will be the guest judge and thought the same as someone posted before me...why her? How is she an expert at fashion? Maybe it would have been OK if she had been a judge for a normal challenge, but not the finale.
    But did anyone else notice the preview for next week's finale in the commercial break before they eliminated Michael? The preview actually showed Gretchen, Andy, and Mondo in it, so I knew Michael was a goner. I thought it was a little messed up to air that before the end of the episode and ruin the overdramatized elimination.

  11. MichelleNL | | #11

    I am so sad that Michael didnt make it....

    I lived in the South West growing up and i dont like Gretchens work.... the jewelry is cool but the cloths :S they are so wrong! if she wins then i dont think that there will be a next season of project runway, and if there is i wont be watching it!

    So for me its only Mondo and Andy in the race to win!

  12. Misspt | | #12

    Gretchen's dress with "horse poop catcher" in the back beat Michael C's abilities? Come on...He was hands down better than she was this season.

  13. User avater
    Soli | | #13

    Gretchen in top three = epic fail.

    I'm done watching this show.

  14. User avater
    thomy | | #14

    What a shocker that Michael was voted out. His pieces were cohesive, interesting and very well made. Yes, using the same color palate for all three pieces was a misstep but one that could have been easily corrected and learned from. Gretchen on the other hand, can not correct the lack of originality, interest, or drama. Andy's work is very segmented in that I think it will appeal to a small group of consumers and he needs to develop an eye for appropriate. The green dress was beautiful but I think he used the shorter length in a way that made it feel as though he was trying too hard. Mondo's pieces were cohesive but not in a way that made them seem interesting. The mix of patterns is intriguing but he lacks making the pieces interesting as far as design and construction. The polka dot dress was dramatic and well made and beautiful but it did feel a bit too fun. I think a smaller polka dot would have given it a more elegant fee. Just my thoughts.

  15. User avater
    BarbaraJChilds | | #15

    Michael should not have been eliminated. Yes the 3 he showed were all the same color but he told MK that he also had grey in his collection.
    Gretchen's collection is uninspired and that bikini that Andy sent down should have made the cut choice between Andy and Gretchen.
    Also, Michael won the episode where April was out. PR used to automatically send the final episode winner to the tent for showing their collection. I am very unhappy with the judges choices in this last episode and the way that have changed the show.

  16. designing | | #16

    I faithfully watch Project Runway, and I think the judges might of made a mistake, and I have liked Michael's outfits all a long. I'm not to fond of Gretchen's clothing line. But I wish the judges would of kept Michael on and Gretchen off. Some of her stuff is good, but I don't think she should be going to Fashion Week. I do like Mondo's ideas and creations. I always look forward to what he will come up w/ next.

  17. cjssewnsew | | #17

    all season the judges talked about how everyone throwing him under the bus..but in the end they threw him under the bus. Gretchen 's line reminds me of Angel Heart Designs .... Mondo should win it ..but Andy might pull it out.Remember the 1st show thought Kerastan would of won but Jay won.

  18. shaniqua | | #18

    Seems like a weirdly weak final 4 this year. I remember seasons when I had no idea who would win and, even if I didn't like some designer or another's style, I was blown away by skills. Not so much this year. I wouldn't want to be responsible for sending any 3 of these to fashion week. Someone's liable to question Heidi/MichaelMichael/Nina's taste level.

    That said, I think they made the best choice. If nothing else, they have variety. Mondo makes his exciting stuff for juniors, Andy's got his tacky warrior thing and Gretchen is doing her own earthish thing. Michael C's collection looked to me like it was put together by someone who had no idea what a collection is. And his meltdown made it pretty obvious that he's nowhere near emotionally ready for the world of fashion. It was as if it never once even occurred to him that he might have to stand in front of cameras and get eliminated. So the moment of extreme relief, achievement, joy, etc of the final three, a moment that always pauses to acknowledge the wonderfulness of the one who got eliminated, was instead and completely all about Michael C. I'm not saying he could have helped it, I'm saying I wouldn't chance handing the $100,000 prize to someone who couldn't help it.

  19. Rosebud24 | | #19

    The last two eliminations have me bummed. I liked Michael's designs most of the season. Yes they all had misses. I sew for myself and occasionally have flops. I hope he continues to design. I would like to know what has happened to some of the prior designers from Project Runway. We need an where are they now show.

    I have also enjoyed the show after this with former contestants on the road trip doing designs for people.

  20. stsimon | | #20

    Why the judges' shock that Michael used the same color for for all three (gasp) of his pieces? I've seen plenty of collections shown at Paris, Milan, and New York that have 25 outfits in the same dreary color. Color is not Michael's strength, but at least his pieces looked like runway fashion, unlike Gretchen's whatever-the-cat dragged-in outfits.

  21. kathywa | | #21

    I still can't believe that lousy look by Gretchen made it past the judges. Michael C's collection, what I saw of it, was awesome. It seemed to me Ivy's and Gretchen's elitism rubbed off on the judges.

    I cried along with Michael. I do hope some angel provides him a start in his career. He's great!

  22. cynsew | | #22

    What were the judges thinking when they kept on Gretchen. She should of been kicked off long ago with her attitude. I don't get it. Michael C's outfits were gorgeous and Gretchens looked like K'Mart brands. I know longer feel like the judges are doing a "honest" job. Lets be fair or you will loose your viewers!

  23. sandyfromtexas | | #23

    I cannot understand what the judges have seen in Gretchen's creations. They are dated and boring. I just give up on this show - Mondo is the only designer worth looking at. Where are the good young designers hiding? Please, get some new judges and creative thinkers.

  24. User avater
    RevDi | | #24

    Heartwrenching. I've watched finales where it seemed the entire collection was black. So Michael's palette was too limited? Please!
    Gretchen's collection was revolting. What was that dingleberry swinging back and forth on that one dress? That was one of the most unflattering things I've ever seen. Andy's silver jumpsuit was riding so high up his model's crotch I was surprised she wasn't screaming. Doesn't fit count any longer? Mondo was Mondo - chic and interesting. But with Nina's "circus" remarks he may be out and this may be the year Project Runway crowns the Queen of Thrift Shop Chic. With a fashion icon like Jessica Simpson as judge, who knows?

  25. User avater
    MissPat | | #25

    There is no question about it, the judges have lost their collective minds. I really don't care who wins now and probably won't even watch the final show. Gretchen should have gone home weeks ago along with the other less-than-stellar designers. I won't wear her designs(?) to clean the house. That being said, I would wear anything (well almost, not sure about the feather skirt)Michael C designed. His clothes appeared to be timeless, very tasteful and beautiful. Maybe too nice and attractive for the runway shows. Have any of you looked at Michael Kors Fashion Week designs? Wouldn't buy any of them either. I don't think real people are considered when the designs are judged. I think that Mondo has the best chance to win but Andy could do an end run and surprise us. Should the unthinkable happen and Grethen was named the winner, that would definately be the end of Project Runway for me.

  26. jeanc529 | | #26

    Does anyone understand what the big deal is about about only the last three contestants standing getting to Fashion Week? It appears (by Googling Fashion Week and Project Runway) that 10 of the contestants actually showed their work at Fashion Week, including Michael Costello. The show would have us believe that only the final three got to go. I don't get it.

    And I agree with most others that Michael's designs were better than Gretchen's--and that Mondo should win.

  27. WAK | | #27

    Gretchen doesn't deserve to win. Her clothes are awful and she is horrible person. I am rooting for Mondo.

  28. veras | | #28

    So...let me get this straight: it's OK for someone to design an all-one-color-as-long-as-it's-black collection (and even win) but Michael C was booted because he used one color that's not black? Seriously? What ridiculously small minds are running this thing?! Michael C should have gone on and Gretchen should have gone home ages ago. Or even Andy if they felt they needed a "token" woman on the team. Sheesh.

    Regardless, it's all academic because Mondo is worlds ahead of all of them and if he doesn't win I'll make an Alec Baldwin-type promise and say if they don't select Mondo to win I will NEVER again watch PR. Seriously.

  29. bobbyb626 | | #29

    Mondo relies on the fabric pattern or print to do all the work. And he's a genius at that. Andy is clever but his clothing is too costume-like. Gretchen's work looks like it stepped off the set of Rhoda or Holly Hobbie. Michael C's work needs refinement and a bit more diversity and he could use Mondo's print mixing expertise as inspiration. He deftly cuts the fabrics and has an innate feel for the life and will of the chosen fabric - even if he can't tell you if it's jersey or georgette. He needs to get a thicker skin and stop the crying. The fashion biz is too tough to be like that. Regardless of his elimination, he'll go far.

  30. User avater
    IggyJingles | | #30

    I was very disappointed that Michael was "auffed" in favor of Gretchen. Her items looked like something from Chico's catalog from 1984. Her puffy at the hip/narrow ankle cropped pants are just about the least flattering garment for any woman's figure. She showed the nadir of casual sportswear. Her print mix didn't seem fresh to me either.
    I dare say Mondo is the favorite to win. I hope he keeps his quirky headgear - this is supposed to be haute couture, not worn on the street. I'm looking forward to seeing what else he has done with his Dia de los Muertes screen print.
    The other eliminated designers showing at the PR fashion week show are decoys so that the press and attendees don't get to preempt the results before the broadcast. They aren't in the running for the prizes, although if there were any buyers in the audience, it's still a great opportunity. The question is really who does make up the audience, other than family and friends. Are they actual fashion industry people and haute couture customers, or a seat fillers from Central Casting?

  31. sewrn | | #31

    What were they thinking?! My goodness, I have seen better clothes than Gretchen's at a thrift store. and poor Andy is just a frustrated costume designer. I loved MC's work personally and thought he endured way more abuse this season than anyone should have. He was much more graceful under it than I would have been. Who else out there wanted to slap the stew out of Ivy and Gretchen for their catty comments all season?

  32. LadyJaneinMD | | #32

    Someone said that Gretchen is still in the running because she creates drama, and drama equals ratings. Unfortunately, that's true, but I'm with all of you. Mondo is the clear winner (I've never seen such an obvious winner before!), and I hate Gretchen's looks. However, I also admit that I probably hate Gretchen's designs because I dislike her so intensely. I was sorry to see Michael go, but I think he'll go far anyway.

  33. WAK | | #33

    I will never watch the show again. They got it all wrong. Soli is right, done with this show.

  34. User avater
    swanpeg1 | | #34

    I can't believe Michael Kors and Nina Garcia think anyone is wearing little trunks, or that is the direction fashion is going. I don't know if I will watch another season. Valerie's first red dress would have been a clear winner on the billboard instead of Gretchen's jumpsuit that who could wear? It was downhill from there with Ivy sniping as though she had any talent and the judges redirecting designers in a confusing way. Since I haven't seen anything from the talented Seth Aaron, Emilio, or even Christian from earlier challenges, I wonder how much of a boost this gives fledgling designers. Mondo has clearly been the most talented sewist of the group, with other contestants consulting him early on for patterning advice. Gretchen shared her advice, often unsolicited (at least as shown by the editing) to negative effect on other designers. Of course fashion is cutthroat, but who buys anything "designed" by Michael Kors? I have liked his children's shoes, but don't believe for a minute that he designs them. Oh well.
    The biggest benefit of Project Runway is the renewed interest in sewing, and I do appreciate that.

  35. Orli | | #35

    Without a doubt Mondo or andy should have won !!!

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