project runway 8 gretchen 320 'Project Runway' winner makes it work despite split judgesSo “Project Runway’s” most dramatic rose ceremony, err, finale ever concludes with an appropriately exciting, nail-biting final runway and judges deliberation.

In the end Gretchen Jones takes home the hard-fought win over Mondo Guerra and Andy South after offering up a collection full of feminine signature looks that the judges felt showed she had her finger on the pulse of what was coming next in fashion. So she started and finished the series with wins.

Before we get into the frantic preparations, though, we’re treated to a mini reunion/sobfest. Most of the highlights are about the drama from the season. Seriously, waterworks everywhere.

Ivy is still irked, but her anger is directed at Gretchen this time. Wait, weren’t they friends? It’s no surprise that Mr. Nice Guy Michael Costello is the first to defend Gretchen. Then Mondo steps in. Then they discuss how Mondo befriended Michael C. Now it’s a lovefest.

Okay, enough of that. Since the designers made an 11th look last episode, they now have to toss one out of their collection. Tim Gunn gives last-minute advice, such as cautioning Andy that his bathing suit looks like hair is growing out of the crotch, and everyone’s making half-hearted peace with the horrible last-minute adjustments necessary.

On to the show:

project runway gretchen loo 'Project Runway' winner makes it work despite split judgesGretchen – This is so her, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s earthtone-y and feminine with some parts fitted, some parts flowy. There’s some fun with fabric blocking, assymetry, proportions and patterns. The cleavage-revealing jacket with the hat still stands out as one of her more interesting designs/stylings. Perhaps a splash of accent color is needed though, like a bold red or turquoise.

Gretchen, according to the Judges – Mostly praise. Nina says it’s a complete ready-to-wear collection with better styling, but felt a bit monotone palette-wise. Michael doesn’t like the techier accents, but loved the jewelry, as does Heidi. She didn’t care for the repetitive patterns though. Jessica Simpson also wanted a popping piece.

Andy – Wow, this 23-year-old has learned design maturity. His collection feels much more cohesive and edited. The palette is calm greys and metallic chartreuse and has a great mix of textures. He has incredibly well constructed pieces, which is necessary because they’re very geometric. The Buddha influence somehow works to balance his spacey accents like the head massager-hat orbiter. He camouflages the hair bathing suit a bit with an artfully fastened wrap, and his 11th look pleating dress is still insane in its intricacies. The grey, edgy one-shoulder flapper-esque dress is lovely.

Andy, according to the Judges – Michael Kors loved the one-shoulder dresses and the first pants, but thinks it was all a bit one-note. Heidi liked the overall sassiness, but Nina actually thinks Andy sold out a bit and lost his edge. Also, she thinks he went overboard with the orientalism and wanted more modern touches. Jessica loved the one-shoulder also.

In deliberations though, the judges agreed that he would be the first one dropped since he kind of missed his edginess.

Mondo – There’s really a bit too much to discuss with all the mixing of prints and really deliberately chosen accessories. He does use a few solids, but with metallic sheens. We see his silkscreen Day of the Dead Clown t-shirt matched with patterned tights and there’s an odd pink tunic color blocking thing that we’re not entirely sure works. The polka dot dress finishes the collection. There are enough separates in there to work for different women.

Mondo, according to the Judges – Michael and Nina are still against the costumey/circus aspects and definitely want editing, solids and sophistication. It slants “young.” Both Heidi and Jessica are digging Mondo’s p.o.v. and love the polka dot dress that is a bone of contention. Everyone likes the pink tunic thingy.

Basically Michael and Nina align on the Gretchen side, while Heidi and Jessica go with Mondo. So is it just about taste? Or is about how well they design? How they’ll evolve in the future? At one point, Nina actually makes the “rawr” catfight sound and claws her hand. It’s insane.

Finally, they give it to Gretchen. We’re expecting that the general public will not be happy with these results.
So, tell us. Happy? Angry? Ambivalent?

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Photo credit: Lifetime

Posted by:Hanh Nguyen