Previously on Project Runway, Mondo outed himself, Ivy was a stone bitch, Mayor Michael Bloomberg whored New York City, and the designers were unable to find inspiration in the second greatest city in the world (Miz Shoes respectfully bows to Paris). April did her same old same old and was aufed, but so did Andy, Gretchen and Michael Costello, who made it to the final four. The room is so small now, that Andy and Gretchen are pretending to like Michael C, at least for the cameras.
They get sent home with 9K and 6 weeks to make 10 looks. They will all come back to NYC to show pieces and one of them will not be showing (for teevee or money, but forever and ever on an internet search). Go home and create.
First we have to hear the deep, inner thoughts and reflections of our designers. Blah, blah, blah. And now, it’s Tim’s Travelogue Time. First up, Andy’s mountain top fish farm in Oahu. It’s an amazing place. Tim is freaked out by the catfish. Andy’s mom is a love. His is the immigrant story. He cries. He can machete the top of a fresh coconut. Miz Shoes loves Andy despite his treatment of Michael C.
He is working from the inspiration of the Buddha Garden in Laos, including hand-woven fabric from Laos and photos of his grandfather who was an elephant herder. There is nothing made, because the fabrics just arrived. There is a drawing of a pair of pants that looks like fish scale armor. Interesting. He has two weeks to finish his collection.
Next is Michael Costello in Palm Springs, California. Tim meets Richard and checks out the collection: feathers and the sunset skies. Feather skirt that looks like clouds, fringed top with sequined pants. He’s designed TOO much. Tim tells him to edit. Michael has a table full of friends in black t-shirts who all look like him. Richard (his boyfriend) outed Michael to his parents, and Michael’s parents as homophobic jerks to Tim.
Mondo in Denver! His studio is a Mondo space with a checkered floor. His inspiration is a marriage of vintage Mexican circuses and Day of the Dead iconography. He’s made a long evening dress in over-sized polka dots and black blocking. Mondo’s parents are totally blase over the fact that he’s gay. They tried to butch him up, but whatever. Mondo’s gay. He plays the piano. Miz Shoes says that Mondo’s “It gets better”-type confessional is tantamount to openly declaring him the winner. Miz Shoes also says that the PTB should just declare him the winner and put the audience out of the misery that has been Season Eight.
Finally, Gretchen in Portland. Gretchen’s life has fallen apart. She is perplexed to find she has come home to find out that she’s been dumped, has an empty bank account, an empty home and an empty life. Gretchen is not ashamed to share these darkest, deepest, most intimate moments with the one person she can share them with other than her mother and the millions of viewers on the other side of the confessional camera, Tim Gunn. Tim should be ashamed. Miz Shoes is embarrassed for Gretchen, but still finds herself shouting “I hate you, shut up” over and over at the screen whenever her face and Valley Girl flat drone come on. Miz Shoes may not be able to be objective about Gretchen. Miz Shoes would like to remind her readers that she had Gretchen pegged as insufferably self-absorbed halfway through episode one. Gretchen is inspired, as always, by herself and her childhood in the great southwest. BlahblahblahGRETCHENblahblahblah. Gretchen needs to be “authentic”, so she makes some authentically ugly costume jewelry that would look too cheap to be sold from a blanket on a New York City sidewalk.
Mondo claims the big room at the Hotel Sponsor. Michael arrives next and they have a joyful reunion, soon joined by Andy with a Pocahontas/Naomi Campbell weave. Gretchen brings the downer. Tim Gunn brings the Evil Velvet Bag, but in an attempt to rehabilitate the Evil Bag’s rep, the only thing to come out of it is Hotel Sponsor Resort Vacations for each of the designers. It doesn’t matter though, because the next thing Tim tells them is that they will be showing three looks from their collection: two that they brought with them and one that they will be creating in the next two days with $300.
Gretchen knows what she needs is casual to offset what she refers to as the sophistication of her collection. Mondo is a little lost. Andy is looking for a special shade of green. Michael is floundering. Andy goes back to his existing green fabric and pleats the shit out of it. Mondo makes a jersey color blocked dress, and at the end of the day, he hates it and decides to make something else the next day.
Sewing. Cutting. Tim. First he visits Michael Costello and finds that Michael is choking. Gretchen has made a little sundress with a diaper drape over the butt. She’s also making a bag. Mondo shows Tim the dress that looked too Junior. Gretchen opines about Mondo’s looks. Andy shows Tim the green pleats. Tim is happy. Mondo is unimpressed. Carry on, Mondo, Gretchen, Andy. Don’t choke, Michael, who now chokes harder. Mondo gives him a pep talk. Like that will work.
Day of Show, Gretchen is wearing a great burnt orange velvet tunic. She still needs to shut up. Scrambling in the workroom. Scrambling in hair and makeup. Gretchen wants the models to look like her and she wants to be the models. And it’s show time. Mondo cries. Andy cries. Gretchen cries. Michael C cries. Miz Shoes rolls her eyes. Heidi taunts the designers and introduces the judges: Michael Kors and Nina Garcia. There is no guest judge.
Andy sends out a silver cocktail romper, a dumbed-down version of his winning resort wear bikini and cover up, and the little green dress of pleats.
Michael C shows the fluid, drapey chocolate gown, a badly proportioned feather skirt and top and the sequined pants and fringed top. Gretchen calls it chicka chicka bow wow. Her work is brown. And more brown and animal prints and black and chartreuse and it is grim and not pretty.
Mondo sends out an impeccable collection, of course, and Miz Shoes wants the hot pink Evil Clown Day of the Dead purse with dingleberry fringe. So Mexican! So fun. Mondo is up first for critique. He easily explains his work. NinaGarcia beams at him. Heidi wants the polka dot evening gown. NinaGarcia says the polka dot dress is too close to farce, but NinaGarcia beams at him again anyway.
Andy talks about the Buddha park and how his fabric was made for him. MKors loves the green pleating. NinaGarcia is concerned about his range, and slams the bathing suit. He apologizes for not showing a better range in his mini collection. The judges slam him for not showing all his wow pieces today. They slam his styling. They slam him for the sake of slamming him.
Michael C is attempting to show that he can make structured. Of course the effortless gown is loved for being effortless. Heidi loves the blouse made of fringe. NinaGarcia calls him on his use of one color. MKors takes Michael to school about the concept of a collection. Heidi calls out his taste level, without saying “taste”. He, too is taken to task for not choosing the best of his collection for this.
Finally, Gretchen gets her turn in the barrel. She has delivered range, but NinaGarcia calls it “crunchy granola” that says that not only did Gretchen NOT pique her interest, but that “the only glimmer of hope I have of somewhat polish is this” and points to the diaper under the open-fronted tuxedo jacket and pimp hat. She flat-out says that she doubts that Gretchen “has it.” Heidi says that her models are schlumping along and MKors says that the girls do not look like a fashion show. Everything looks cheap. Gretchen challenges MKors’ opinion and says that she didn’t bring her best looks out.
The judges call the designers idiots for not figuring out that doing just that is exactly what they should have done. Gretchen is a phony. They are all over stressed. Heidi loves Gretchen’s granola, and MKors say that there’s nothing wrong with granola as long as it is fashion show granola. Mondo, on the other hand, walks too close to the line of not being taken seriously, according to NinaGarcia. MKors is concerned about Mondo being too over the top. Michael C is applauded for his draping, but the judges think he’s too inexperienced. And they worry that he may have edited out some of the better pieces. Andy gets praise, despite the underboob cape over the bikini. He used beautiful colors. Heidi finds him iffy. We hear a lot about the need to put on a “show” at Fashion Week, as if more than half of the discarded designers aren’t showing throw away collections.
Heidi says that this was a hard decision to make. Mondo, you are in. Be sure to keep on this side of the fine line between fashion and folly. Gretchen, Heidi loves your crap for no reason anyone else can fathom, so you get to go to fashion week, too. Mondo and Gretchen call each other ‘gurl’ and Miz Shoes tells the teevee to shut up.
Andy, you chose the wrong shit to show us. The last minute look was your best. Michael, a color isn’t a collection. We are afraid that you may not have anything new to say. Andy, you are in. Michael, we’re so sorry to crush your dreams. The next seven minutes are the longest, hardest to watch in Project Runway History (TM). Frankly, Miz Shoes did not need to see the depth of Michael C’s grief for that long, that up-close and that personal. Andy feels a little guilty for taking the last spot from Michael, but Miz Shoes believes that what Andy’s really feeling guilty about is what a shit he was to Michael C for most of the show.
Next week, a reunion AND the final show? Can that be right? And will Gretchen finally shut up and leave my consciousness forever?