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Project Runway, Oct. 28 – An Unsatisfactory Conclusion

Gretchen tells Tim that that the judges had hated her eleventh look, so she’s tossing it. She wants to connect with the women who will buy her looks, but she needs some fantasy. She hopes to accomplish this with high heels and bright lipstick.

Tim sends in Collier Strong and Peter Butler for make-up and hair consultations. Mondo and Andy both ask Mr. Butler for a sleek look, while Gretchen, mindful of the judges’ critique, wants a dramatic style. The models come in for their fittings during the consultations. During the make-up consultations, Mondo wants dramatic eyes, while Gretchen asks for a “sun-kissed” look. Gretchen has already decided which of her models will wear which outfit, while Andy is still deciding. Mondo is upset because two of his models haven’t shown up for their fitting.

As the day winds down, the designers talk about their experiences. It’s the usual natter about how they’ve “grown” and how they’re so excited to be on Fashion Week. They then head back home at around midnight.

On the “morning” of the show, the designers get up at 3 a.m. – after maybe two hours of sleep. They get dressed and ready to go to the show. Mondo is wearing a suit rather than his trademark shorts.

The designers go to Mercedes-Benz. Gretchen hugs the runway. The finalists have two hours to ready themselves for the show. Andy is frantically sewing a pair of gold pants for one model. Mondo is distraught because some of his models are still missing and the runway order is all wrong. Tim notices his nerves and advises him to calm down. Andy is still working on those pants.

Mondo is finally forced to use an alternate model who has short hair, and he worries aloud about how that will affect the cohesiveness of his look. Andy concedes that the pants are going to be a disaster, so he switches to a skirt.

Heidi, who is wearing a red pantsuit, introduces the audience to the Project Runway finale. The cameraman helpfully shows us that some of the eliminated designers are in the audience. Heidi introduces the audience to the judges, including guest judge Jessica Simpson. Sometimes, I don’t mind a celebrity acting as a guest judge. There are times, like the fifth season’s Olympic wear challenge, in which a celebrity guest judge is appropriate. But at Fashion Week, I want to see an actual designer acting as the guest judge.

Gretchen is up first, and she tells everybody that her collection is called “Running Through Thunder.” Her favorite color, surprise, surprise, is brown. She sends down brown outfit after brown outfit. She also likes separates, as she makes shorts with shirts, pants with shirts, and skirts with shirts. Only her second and sixth pieces are dresses, and even they have the casual, Bohemian vibe Gretchen is known for. They’re certainly not my idea of evening gowns. Her seventh look is the horrible tunic and shorts combo from last week, and it’s the only piece with any bright color in it, since the tunic has yellow trim. Her eighth look is the print outfit from last week. Gretchen used leather in some outfits, most notably the pants in the third look, which are made of blocks of leather and cloth. Some of the models are also wearing necklaces that Gretchen had designed herself.

Andy goes next and tells the audience about his collection’s Asian theme. His favorite colors are apple green and silver grey. He’s also decided to make his models wear mobiles on their heads for some reason. Like Gretchen, he’s decided to concentrate on separates. His only dresses are his sixth and tenth looks, and both of them are one-shoulder minidresses. The tenth look is the pleated green dress from last week. He also, unfortunately, included the swim suit that Tim had disliked; it’s the fifth look. It’s covered – barely – by a gauzy, translucent robe.

Mondo goes last and talks about his Mexican heritage. As might be expected, he has apparently not met a color he doesn’t like, although he does seem partial to black and white. He also likes prints, as we all know. Like his peers, he’s partial to separates. He uses the spotted gown from last week as his tenth look. His fifth look is a balloon dress with a massive black and white plaid. His ninth look is a black tunic decorated with aqua and hot pink color blocking. His first and fourth looks are pieces that he’d used last week. The first look is the outfit that had combined two tops of prints, while the fourth had paired a turquoise shirt with a checked miniskirt. The third outfit arguably shows his Mexican heritage most clearly; it’s a two-toned beige tunic decorated with a stylized skull over leggings.

Backstage, people talk about which designers they’d liked best. Joanna Coles wants the green bolero from Andy’s first look. Nicholas from Season 8 is also rooting for Andy. Betsy Johnson loves Mondo, as do Edith Head editor Cindy de la Hoz and Marie Claire editor Zanna Roberts Rossi. Zanna also likes Gretchen’s line, and so does Jay Manuel.