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Project Runway, Oct. 28 – An Unsatisfactory Conclusion


The judges argue over which one to crown as the winner. Nina comments she would like to crown both of them, but Michael thinks Gretchen is more reflective of where fashion is going next. (I hope not; I don’t like wearing brown all the time!) The judges deem both Mondo and Gretchen to be editorial, but Jessica would buy more from Mondo. So would Heidi, but she loves Gretchen’s jewelry. Nina comments that Mondo skews young, while Gretchen’s clothes are suitable for a wider age range. Okay, I’ll go along with that – but doesn’t fashion in general tend to skew young? Last I checked, most ultra-fashionable clothes were designed for people under thirty.

Heidi thinks Gretchen is safer, while Mondo is more fun. Nina declares she wouldn’t wear the spotted dress, and Heidi agrees she can’t see Nina wearing it. Nina says Mondo’s collection is too similar to Seth Aaron’s collection from last season, and Michael says Gretchen represents the future. Well, if 70′s looks are expected to make a comeback, that might be true. Otherwise, no. Michael says there is more design in Gretchen’s clothes, and Heidi says they just don’t excite her. Nina comments that Mondo is very adept at mixing patterns, which prompts Michael to throw another fit about the spotted gown. Heidi reminds him that she and Jessica both like it. She then asks for her boxing gloves.

Finally, the judges reach a decision. Heidi tells Andy that he’s out, and he graciously accepts this. He later comments that, for him, getting to Fashion Week and showing on national T.V. were the real prizes.

The judges tell Gretchen that her collection was polished and they tell Mondo that his was fun and energetic. Heidi tells them the judges had had to make the most difficult decision in the show’s history: decide which of them was the winner. Gretchen is the winner. Her mother and sister come onstage to congratulate her.

Like everybody else, I’d been hoping for Mondo to win. One of the things that bothers me about this season in general is that Tim’s mentoring all too often proves to be in vain. He advises a designer to do something – and the designer is then often penalized. Mondo had, for instance, kept the spotted gown in the collection on Tim’s advice. Tim can’t effectively mentor the designers if he can’t guide them as to the judges’ likely wishes.

The judges’ erratic decision-making is also a problem. They throw Michael C. out of contention for his monotonous color scheme– and then turn around and reward Gretchen for sending down a bunch of brown outfits. Huh? Something does not compute. Similarly, the judges penalize Mondo for making youthful clothing, when fashion is a youth-oriented business. That doesn’t make sense, either. (For the record, I’m forty-seven, and I resent the insinuation I’d want to wear brown all the time.)

In short, I think it might be time for Project Runway to get new judges. Tim is indispensable to the show and should therefore stay. I also hope that Lifetime scales the show back to its original hour length. Expanding the show to an hour-and-a-half is a dicey proposition, as Lifetime is assuming that the cast, challenges, and judging sessions will be interesting enough for people to want to devote that kind of time to them. Need I mention that’s not always the case?

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