Project Runway All Stars: Episode 12 Finale, part 2: Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!

Mondo wins, and the rent in the fabric of the space-time continuum caused by Gretchen’s Season 8 win has been patched. And now Heidi can make the tons of money off Mondo that she thought she’d make off Gretchen. What, you think they went through this farce of a season out of a sense of fairness?

That being said, I’m delighted Mondo won. Congratulations!

And in the woman-on-the-street interviews, I was amused by the woman who said she wanted to pick up Mondo in his short pants and put him in her pocket. I thought the Pocket Mondo was a TWoP thing. Hey – maybe she’s a TWoP person.

There’s the usual pre-show stuff. Austin’s wearing a sequined jacket; Mondo tells him, “Does Liza Minelli know you went through her wardrobe?” It’s ok though, because on the ride to the show, Austin is getting a fashion orgasm. Just don’t get it on your jacket, Austin. He’s wearing a scarf of pink netting under the jacket, and I keep thinking all night it looks like a rash.

The show is in Gotham Hall, which would be beautiful if the ceiling and elegant chandelier weren’t rendered tacky by the lights and rigging. It’s still a poor substitute for Fashion Week. Since a lot of people have been invited, does this mean everyone got to show a collection?

The judges are Georgina, Isaac (who must resent that someone else has top billing), Tommy Hilfiger, and Mr. Neiman Marcus.

Ok, his name is Ken Downing, but his function is to represent Neiman Marcus as the winner gets a boutique in “selected” stores.

Austin introduces his collection: It’s called Austin Scarlett: a vampire from the 18th century lives in Williamsburg and sometimes borrows clothes from her Hasidic dandy friends. Is Austin trying to piss off Williamsburg? I’m pretty sure there are no Hasidic dandies, but then again, I’m pretty sure there are no werewolves, so I guess I can go with it. I see the 18th century, the Fragonard and Madame Pompadour he referred to last week, in the ruffles and tulle; the vampire in the black leather. I’m not sure where the Hasidic comes in, other than the hair.

Coral cropped pants with gathers, shirt with spangled black jacket (much like a shorter version of the one Austin is wearing, in fact). I have no idea what the pants are actually called – those steal-a-bottle-of-wine pouches that taper down – but Anthony used them back in Season 7 on one side of a dress; I wonder if he had input into this. Not my style, but I can see it appealing to some people, and it’s very “edgy” as they say; I think the pants cut at the knees are a terrible length, but that’s what they are. Oddly, as “edgy” as this is, I can see something blocky and thus possibly Hasidic in it. But it makes the model look like she has chunky legs.

Black lacquered lace dress with a pick-up flounce on one side; very nice. I never knew lacquered lace existed but that’s what the judges call it. It’s kind of a Kenley dress, isn’t it?

Sleeveless coral wrap blouse with bows on the shoulders, black leather skirt with pink tulle in the back godet. Overall it’s ok but not something distinctive. I’m not a fan of floppy bows. To me the tulle in the back looks like she has toilet paper stuck to her skirt. To make it worse: pink toilet paper. Don’t make me go there.

Red Carpet mermaid gown in metallic black and red fabric. It looks like there’s a short dress and a long dress under it. It’s more Michael – or even Jerell – than Austin, but yeah, I can see him doing this. Very constructed, but with neck ruffles. The fabric strikes me as way too gaudy, the design is over the top.

Black leather halter top catsuit with purple tulle ruffle at neck.This is his Sixth Look, made from leftovers. I hate it, but I suppose it’s fine if catsuits are your thing. It doesn’t strike me as Austin at all.

White ruffly wedding gown with black belt and gloves; really gorgeous. And pure Austin, except for the black gloves which Anthony did back in the Night at the Opera challenge, when I commented he was channeling Rami. Maybe there’s just nothing original left to do on PR.

My overall opinion: the black lacquered lace and the wedding gown were spectacular. The rest was between meh and eww. The incorporation of the inspiration is inconsistent. For that matter, to use a question the judges sometimes use: would the same woman wear the hypersexy catsuit and the elegant, feminine wedding gown? Or the elegant, classy lace dress and the ugly-edgy gathered pants?

The judges all full of praise. Georgina says there are many special pieces, with good ideas. Isaac doesn’t see it as a collection, more like a Best Of retrospective of many years They all love the wedding gown and the black lace dress. They say there’s a youthfulness to his couture glamour. That’s interesting: Mondo is known for youth without glamour, and Michael is known for glamour without youth. Thing is: in Austin’s collection, the youth and the glamour are in different looks, I think.

Mondo: Front and center, time to claim your birthright. He announces his Therapy theme.

Polka dot blouse with patent leather print miniskirt; too busy for me, but ok. I’m not sure about the placement of the dot on the skirt. At least it’s off center. But it still looks like a target in a highly inappropriate place. Which has nothing to do with Isaac’s Target, though Target is usually an inappropriate place.

Checkered dress with circle pockets and big buttons. It’s cute. I seem to be the only one who thinks so.

Sleeveless two-print top over Mila-pants. I hate the Mila-pants. This is his Sixth Look; it’s more like Mila’s Sixth Look. The top works because of the combination of the prints, but it’s a bland shape.

Pantsuit with checkered jacket, ink blot tee, different colored sleeves (which I love), and wide-legged two-tweed pants with pocket flaps. I wish the legs were a little narrower, and I’m not sold on the tee with the jacket and pants, but it’s pure Mondo.

The Heidi dress with inkblots instead of polka dots. And again, the different colored sleeves (I think; I can’t really see the left arm). Hey, when it works, it works. He could have a whole line of this dress with different patterns in that center panel.

Metallic gown in a red, silver and black print with additional print. What is it with metallics? Are they “on trend?” It’s gaudy, more Michael or Jerell than Mondo. I don’t understand it. It’s half loungewear, half gown. But it’s nice to see some color at last.

Overall, not his best, but at least he didn’t crash and burn. The pantsuit, the skirt and blouse, and the checkered dress work, though they aren’t my favorites of his work. I miss the color he’s used in the past. I completely lost the whole “therapy” thing, except for the ink blots, and I’m still troubled (™ Tim Gunn) by the reference to Viktor’s ink blots in Season 9.

The judges judge: Isaac finds it the most cohesive of the collections; he loves the applique on the gown (what applique?). Tommy loves the first outfit, but finds too much detail on the dress and the pants pockets. Mr. NM is impressed by the ink blot print. Angela doesn’t think the lame fits (I agree).

Michael takes us to the Serengeti, because it sounds more exotic than the overused “Safari.”

Beige and brown jumpsuit in a kind of snakeskin-motley pattern. Halter top, loose pants. Looks Anya to me, except for the print.

Fitted animal print dress; long sleeves, backless, so, sorry, Joanna, no bra. There is a vest with it, though, but it’s better without the vest. Interesting seaming on the bustline. I’m no fan of animal prints, but this is nice.

Looser fit animal print dress; nice. Nothing unique.

Loose jacket and shorts in yet another jungle print. Ok.

Ruched animal print top with loose pants; I thought it was a jumpsuit, but he says it’s two pieces. The top is a sort of bustier. It’s ok.

White gown with, guess what, a plunging v, x-back in black. It’s very pretty, it’s very Michael, it’s the sort of thing he whips up as one of four things for every challenge. It’s his Sixth Look, so that’s pretty much what he did, using leftover fabric from the Greek flag dress.

Overall, the animal print was too dominant and often obscured what might have been interesting construction details. Not to mention, if you don’t like animal prints, you’re out of luck. Everything is ok – with occasional touches of nice – but routine.

The judges are, as always, complimentary. Georgina says it’s made well, but is too commercial; she loves the Grecian dress. Tommy says you could put it in stores tomorrow and it would sell. Ken sees a cohesive attitude and likes use of different prints. Isaac gets the fantasy of the prints, but some pieces are mixed in not the most interesting way. He again loves the feel of flesh he gets from Michael’s looks, but warns him it can go cheap fast.

The judges go into private deliberations and mumble some stuff so it looks like they’re really considering all three. Then they pronounce Mondo the winner. Austin and Michael get weekends in Paris as a consolation prize. A weekend in Paris? That sounds exhausting. I hope it’s at least a long weekend.

It’s been a long season. And casting is currently proceeding for Season 10, which will air “this summer”. Doesn’t that just send tingles up your spine?

See you then. ;)

Addendum: I do everything I can to avoid spoilers during the season. So I was pretty surprised, when I checked the TWoP “Spoiler Thread” after the show and found this Gawker article from September 15, 2011, which gave not only the top five and their exact order, but the tip that Rami would go out midseason. But, while I was surprised, it’s par for the course; keeping these things secret is impossible when they’re filmed months in advance, which is why there’s a Spoilers thread to begin with, and why I avoid it.

What really shocked me was this:

According to our source, fan favorite Mondo Guerra walks away with the prize. That makes sense since many are still angered that he lost season eight to Gretchen Jones. Heidi Klum even wore a dress he designed for the show’s finale in a show of solidarity with the designer. Our tipster says the plan was to hand it to him all along, and that angered the other designers, including Mondo, but he took the win nonetheless.

Now, I stated in my PR Preview post that Mondo was the Reason for this Season, and I’ve been unabashedly on his side from the beginning, regardless of his moodiness. If this spoiler is true, I understand his moodiness better now. And I understand his comment to Michael in Part 1 of the finale: “It’s a lot of pressure, Michael.” I wonder if Rami’s ouster was connected to assuring the expected outcome; I also said in my Preview that he might be Mondo’s sole serious competition. He did make a mess the week he was eliminated, but I still cry foul on that whole episode.

I believe the spoiler. I believe that’s why Mondo was so ticked off all season. I believe that’s why it was a bloodless competition. I even believe that’s why Rami was cut early. What I can’t believe is that, now that there’s some kind of semi-almost-kinda-confirmation for my suspicions, I’m still shocked by the deception. And disappointed in Mondo for going along with it. But you know what: in the same situation, with a suave producer whispering excuses like “it’s only tv, nobody believes this stuff” in my ear, would I have really, truly done anything different?

Moral of the story: Sometimes a tin-foil hat is your friend.

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2 responses to “Project Runway All Stars: Episode 12 Finale, part 2: Th-th-th-that’s all, folks!

  1. The spoilers were running rampant all last fall during fashion week. Lots of loose lips, all of them true.

    I don’t think anyone officially came out and told the designers that this was all in the bag for Mondo from the get-go, but it was kind of a given as soon as the cast was announced.

    And speaking of deception – did you notice the bad editing of the runway show? The 3 finalists showed these collections anonymously and the audience had no idea who designed what. The filmed introductions were done with the plastic still on the runway! (See the Lifetime photos) They clearly read these scripts prior to the audience appearing. You never actually see the designers on the runway as the collections walk. All of the designers were present so the crowd wouldn’t know who actually designed the final looks.

    So they went to all of these great pains to keep the spoilers at bay and it STILL didn’t work. Really a disaster of a production all the way around. I am not confident that Lifetime/Bunim-Murray has the competent staff to put together a decent run of this show anymore. And that saddens me.

    • Hi Tbone – always good to hear from you. Thanks for pointing out the runway introductions were staged – so that’s how they pretended to maintain anonymity. What a mess. I’m sad, too – I still remember Tim giving the “all PR has is its integrity” speech to Keith, and what a sad nostalgia that generates.

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