Project Runway Season 8 Final Collections (+ "And I Call Myself a Blogger…")

I meant to write something about the Project Runway season finale, but finding time to collect the images proved more difficult than expected.

Since it’s been a week, I’m not too worried about spoilers. If for any reason you haven’t heard about the winner and don’t want to know, stop reading now.

I’ll get right to the point and state without any of my typical wishy washyness that I was shocked and in total disagreement about the winner.

I liked some of Gretchen’s work during the season challenges, but I really didn’t care for her final collection. While it was done very well, it was boring. With only 10 looks to send down the runway, the contestants have typically maximized this visibility by going for more couture and a dramatic show. Gretchen went for high styled (after some feedback from the judges) wearability and a focus on what is “now” in fashion. All of that is fine – but there was a repetitive feel to her fabric choices and design and a complete omission of “gasp” moments – either in a good way or a bad way. Whether a collection aesthetically appeals to me or not, I at least expect to gasp in admiration or horror at least once or twice. But this winning collection at best made me go “meh,” and at worst elicited an “ugh.”

I didn’t care for the much praised jewelry she designed (which shouldn’t have been a major factor in the win since it’s about the clothes right?). And I didn’t understand that pink lipstick at all. Bottom line I was SHOCKED that she wasn’t the first to leave the runway after the judges reached their decision.

I honestly thought the clear winner was Mondo.

I could see some of the criticism he received (the weird head pieces and such theatrical styling for his larger than life designs), but I absolutely disagree that it looked like a circus. It looked like a runway show. Heidi made the astute point that almost all of the pieces could be used in everyday outfits (one of his tops with simple black pants, a black turtle neck with one of his skirts, etc.) The presentation of the collection showed the whimsy and inspiration behind the designs and while I’m certainly no fashion expert, that’s exactly what I thought runway shows were all about.

There were only two looks that I totally didn’t get. The first looked like something an old lady on a Carnival cruise would rock as “fun” evening resort wear. It was just wacky:

But in reading some thoughts from more knowledgeable fashion bloggers, I can see that this impression comes from the “tunic” element of the top. It may have looked better in a slimmer silhouette (although you’ll never force me to admire dangling gems on clothing).

The other one was a color blocked number that I have to admit has started to grow on me:

This was actually one of the most talked about and raved about pieces in the collection. The only thing that I can say in my defense is that I do tend to have fashion tastes that can border on “conservative dowager” at times. But cut me some slack – I grew up in DC!

All in all, I thought Mondo put on the best show and showed the most creativity and talent.

My favorite in terms of personal style aesthetic though was Andy.

I loved all of the rich fabrics and detail work…

…and I didn’t even mind the fact that there was little variation in colors. BUT I immediately saw that as a weak point for the competition. That and the head pieces that the judges found confusing and distracting during their pre-show critique. I liked the idea of the story he wanted to tell and could sympathize that he really couldn’t tell that story completely with only 10 looks…but it didn’t change the fact that these “problems” contributed him not making it to the top spot.

But I really never expected him to take last place. Ah well – better and more expert writers have covered this… Specifically Tom and Lorenzo from Tom & Lorenzo – Fabulous and Opinionated. Which brings me to the question of how I could have been blogging and watching Project Runway for the past couple of years and NOT KNOW about this site? It’s pretty fabulous as promised and I’m now addicted. It’s also the source of all of my images (far easier to navigate than the Lifetime website). They even featured images of all of the decoy collections from Fashion week. Here is a favorite look of mine from each:


To be honest, I didn’t really love her collection. It was interesting – but as I said, I’m kind of a DC Ann Taylor girl at heart so there wasn’t a whole lot in there that spoke to me personally.


Um…yeah. This was very glitzy – kind of resort wear meets roller disco. All of the pants were SO tight – but he did have a couple of pairs (above) that had some rather innovative details.


Sigh. I really liked Christopher on the show – but there was nothing very exciting about his designs and his Fashion Week show followed suit. Some pretty and wearable stuff. But nothing very memorable (a point that Heidi once made). I thought the look above was definitely the best.


I actually really liked Ivy’s collection, but I don’t see it as having “top three” potential. There was very little in the collection that gave me pause, but it seemed like a specifically “resort” line. In fact, I could see this being everything that someone packed to wear on their honeymoon in a fantastic warm weather location. Puerto Banus in Spain maybe? I was there for several days of my own honeymoon and could definitely see some of these looks wandering around the pool or heading out to dinner.

Michael C.:

This collection was very pretty and not nearly as dull color-wise as the judges made it out to be when he presented his mini collection. In fact, I would have enjoyed this show far more than the one Gretchen put on… But there were a few things that made me cringe (particularly the see through top of his finale look). The look above was a departure from his usual “effortless dress” and definitely the the one that made you look twice (fun fact: Heidi said during the mini collection judging that she’d wear that top).

Michael D.:

While I do think he’s talented, this wasn’t a collection that appealed to me. But then we’ve already established that I have old lady taste, yes? I liked this dress a lot – great understated drama (and pretty sexy to boot).


This was a super cute look from Valerie’s collection. I liked her work in several of the challenges, but her final collection wasn’t one of my favorites. SHE was definitely one of my favorites though. From her “put your panties on” comment to her moving exit speech (“Scarecrow, I think I’ll miss you most of all…”) How can you not love Valerie?

All in all, I’m a little thrown by this season, especially the last few weeks during which I agreed with Heidi and thought Nina and Michael were smoking crack (the world has turned upside down!). But I’m rather die hard about the things I love. So I’m in for Season Nine. And you?

Note: For tons of pictures, recaps and interviews visit the opinionated and fabulous Tom & Lorenzo!

3 thoughts on “Project Runway Season 8 Final Collections (+ "And I Call Myself a Blogger…")

  1. Christy

    Heck ya I'm in! And I've never heard of that fabulous site so I can't WAIT to go check it out later today! I hadn't seen any of the decoy pictures so I'm quite eager. Nap time can't come soon enough. Kate you know I'm you're biggest fan – you really SHOULD be a fashion blogger! I love your voice! It's so fun to read. I too was SHOCKED when Andy was booted first. Should have been second. Mondo should have won. Sigh. I couldn't stand Gretchen and just hated her runway show — the pink lipstick?! Ew. The clothes? Boring. And I know — I couldn't believe Heidi was the reasonable one at the end. I can't wait for next season!!! I would love to buy Mondo's clothes – I hope he makes it regardless!

  2. Let The Tide Pull Your Dreams Ashore

    Just saw your Jeff West Banner…love that store. I did a post over the summer after I visited the shop! xx

  3. Karen

    Love TLo. I could go on for hours how Mondo was robbed, but will try to restrain myself ;) Tim has said that Heidi actually left the judges area, came to ask him to plead with Michael & Nina! It's bad when Heidi is the voice of reason.


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