Project Runway: The Season 8 Scorecard

Are you keeping score? This Diva sure is! Let’s kick it back to the beginning of the season and compare which contestant I thought should be the winner and loser with who the judges picked! Feel free to play along – I’ll link back to the recaps of each episode so you can remember who YOU thought should be in and out. (Thank you to Lifetime for providing the challenge descriptions!) And at the bottom, we’ve got side-by-side pics of each finalists’ portfolios from the entire season! Let’s take a trip down memory lane…

Episode 1: And Sew It Begins

The designers must use a garment from another designer’s suitcase to create a new look.

Diva’s Winner: AJ‘s gritty-meets-pretty cocktail dress

Judges’ Winner: Gretchen‘s sheer-backed, cap-sleeved dress

Diva’s Loser: Ivy, for “making pants out of pants”

Judges’ Loser: McKell, for her tacky dress with even tackier styling

Episode 2: Larger Than Life

The designers must create a look that defines the Marie Claire woman. The winning look will be featured on a billboard in Times Square.

Diva’s Winner: Mondo‘s fabulous houndstooth skirt

Judges’ Winner: Gretchen‘s overpraised jumpsuit

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Jason‘s silver bathrobe and the bullshit symbolism that went with it

Episode 3: It’s A Party

The designers must design an outfit using party store supplies.

Diva’s and Judges’ Winner: Andy‘s heavy metal cocktail dress – and matching glove!

Diva’s Loser: Casanova‘s “transvestite flamenco dancer at a funeral” gown

Judges’ Loser: Sarah‘s blue and silver palm tree nightmare

Episode 4: Hats Off To You

The designers must design an outfit inspired by a Philip Treacy hat.

Diva’s Winner: A tie! Michael D‘s plunging avant garde top AND Valerie‘s cropped white vest

Judges’ Winner: Michael C‘s metallic wrap dress

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Kristin‘s black and pink disaster

Episode 5: There Is an “I” in Team

The designers are assigned to two teams and must create a six piece collection.

Diva’s Winner: Michael D‘s black lace cocktail dress with its breathtaking back

Judges’ Winner: Casanova‘s beautiful lace blouse (and divalicious breakdown)

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: AJ‘s miserable shirt dress

Episode 6: You Can Totally Wear That Again

The designers must create a fashionable look from bridesmaids dresses.

Diva’s Winner: Mondo‘s black and pink mod/Jersey Shore dress

Judges’ Winner: Michael C‘s (super ugly) black cocktail dress

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Peach and her green ruffled skirt

Episode 7: What’s Mine is Yours

The designers must create a resort wear look. (Diva’s Edit: And construct each other’s designs!)

Diva’s and Judges’ Winner: April‘s black lingerie-inspired dress, constructed by Christopher

Diva’s Loser: Ivy‘s depressing top and giant pants, constructed by Michael D

Judges’ Loser: Casanova‘s grandma blouse

Episode 8: A Rough Day on the Runway

The designers must create an American sportswear look inspired by Jackie Kennedy.

Diva’s and Judges’ Winner: Mondo‘s purple houndstooth skirt and striped blouse (my personal favorite look of the season)

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Michael D and his Pilgrim skirt

Episode 9: Race to the Finish

The designers must create a high fashion look and a ready-to-wear companion to appear in a L’Oréal Paris ad.

Diva’s and Judges’ Winner: Mondo‘s multi-print ballgown and fabulous RTW dress

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Ivy‘s ocean-inspired hurricane of ugly

Episode 10: There’s a Pattern Here

The designers must create an original fabric look using HP/Intel technology.

Diva’s and Judges’ Winner: Mondo, his beautiful soul, and his incredible print

Diva’s Loser: Christopher‘s forgettable top and pants

Judges’ Loser: Valerie‘s self-plagiarized plunging cocktail dress

Episode 11: A Look in the Line

The designers must create three looks for Heidi’s activewear line.

Diva’s Winner: Mondo‘s chic but wearable dresses and leggings

Judge’s Winner: Andy‘s skeletal loungewear

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Christopher‘s 11th consecutive snooze-fest

Episode 12: We’re in a New York State of Mind

The designers must create a look inspired by New York City.

Diva’s Winner: Mondo again, for another mixed-print cocktail dress

Judge’s Winner: Michael C‘s overpraised, slutty gown

Diva’s Loser: Michael C‘s eight thousandth uncreative, uninspired, derivative dress (photo above)

Judge’s Loser: April‘s “pregnant witch” gown

Episode 13: Finale, Part I

The designers must create an 11th look for their mini collection to compete for a spot at Fashion Week.

Diva’s and Judges’ Winner: Mondo‘s mixed-print mini-collection, and his newest look in particular

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Michael C‘s derivative, slightly garish, poorly-constructed mini-collection

Episode 14: Finale, Part II

Guest judge Jessica Simpson helps decide the finalists’ fate and the Season 8 winner is finally revealed.

Diva’s Winner: Mondo, for a bright, creative, and truly unique collection.

Judges’ Winner: Gretchen‘s accessible, on-trend collection

Diva’s and Judges’ Loser: Andy‘s underwhelming collection of green and grey looks

By the Numbers:

Diva and Judges agree on 8/14 eliminations and 6/14 wins.

The Finalists’ Portfolios:


Gretchen's Looks, Episodes 1-12

Looking at Gretchen’s season portfolio as a whole, I actually don’t hate it as much as I hate some individual looks. Without the context of the challenge and the comparisons to the work of other designers from that episode, some of this really isn’t so bad. The party favor skirt (top row, 3rd look) is probably my favorite Gretchen design of the season; of course, its hipness and youthfulness stick out like a sore thumb against this sea of muted tones and draped fabrics. But the only other looks I find remotely wearable are the first look and her high fashion and RTW looks (2nd row, last two looks). The velvet dress is much more beautiful than I remember, though I still think there’s nothing high fashion about it. And the RTW look is fairly matronly, but I think that could be solved with better styling. Overall, I’m not as nauseated by her work as I thought I’d be, though the entire last row of looks is so unfortunate, it’s truly shocking that she made it to the finals.

Andy's Looks, Episodes 1-12

There’s a lot of inconsistency in Andy’s portfolio, and the only looks I like are the ones that go over the top, or “Warrior Bitch,” as Michael Kors would say. With the exception of his resort look (2nd row, 2nd look), the only garments I like are black, badass, and enhanced by leather or metallics. Like Gretchen, Andy shone in the party favor challenge (1st row, 3rd look) and the high fashion/RTW challenge (2nd row, last 2 looks). Also like Gretchen, basically everything else is underwhelming. It’s surprising that someone with this Asian-gothic-dominatrix aesthetic would put out so many sad girl/old lady looks – the Philip Treacy challenge and the group collection challenge (1st row, last 2 looks) and the make-your-own-print challenge (3rd row, look 1) are some of his biggest weaknesses because they veer so far from who Andy really is as a designer.

Mondo's Looks, Episodes 1-12

Mondo’s portfolio is the only one that truly feels like it reflects him as a designer, and it has more style, youth, personality, and attitude than Gretchen and Andy’s portfolios combined. His best work walks the fine line between wearable and cartoonish. He rarely goes astray because of not pushing the boundaries far enough – only in the first challenge (1st row, 1st look) did his work suffer from being underwhelming. Usually Mondo’s mistakes were from not editing down enough of his crazy – his Philip Treacy look and resort look (1st row, 4th look and 2nd row, 2nd look, respectively) just went too far. But unlike his competitors, the majority of Mondo’s work is beautiful and intriguing, and every single piece is identifiably Mondo.

© Democracy Diva, 2010.


Project Runway Recap: S8 E13

What can I say, dear readers? The end of another unfabulous season is upon us. Underwhelmed doesn’t begin to describe how I feel about these designers. No one truly knocked it out of the park, and most of the looks on the runway were complete garbage. And we can argue over Gretchen vs. Michael C for hours, but we all know the truth: Only Mondo truly deserves to be at Fashion Week. (Actually, I’d argue April deserves it as well, but that’s a moot point). I’m disappointed by the lack of oomph in these looks. The judges were right to question the designers on why the hell they wouldn’t show their tip-toppiest looks in this challenge. This is the time to truly bring it, and nobody did. Let’s start the show.


This isn’t terrible, but it’s not Final Collection worthy. It’s over-designed – the ruffles on the neckline, and the rouching in the back, and the pleating and the curves – all in a romper? It’s just too much, and more importantly, it’s neither wearable nor high fashion. And if it’s neither, then who the hell is going to care about it? Not this Diva, that’s for sure.

Honestly, I respect Andy’s work, but I would have sent him home for sending this piece of garbage down the runway. Seriously? These people are giving you the opportunity to present your collection at New York Fucking Fashion Week, and this is what you’re showing as your best work? An ill-fitting unoriginal BIKINI and a sheer cape? This isn’t just bad design; it’s pure laziness. You’re going to have to wake up earlier than this to impress us, Andy. You’ve been warned.

I go back and forth between hating and loving this color. I think it’d be great as an accent color, but to do the whole look in this metallic green is a bit insane. The proportions are off, and this look, like the first one, is over-designed, under-constructed and not particularly beautiful. And the hats are cheap Philip Treacy knock-offs.


I don’t hate this. Honestly, if it had been in any fabric other than this truly horrific green potato sack cloth, I think I would have liked it. I like the exposure of the pattern from the front – I think it’s very funky and modern for Gretchen. I love the straps in the back, and although the pulled-up hem is definitely out there, I think that’s a good thing. Unfortunately, Gretchen has no taste, and so this is just another miserable little granola dress, when it could have been anything but.

This personally offended me. How could someone who calls herself a fashion designer look at this and think it’s a job even remotely well done? The mix of patterns is awful; if she’s trying to be Mondo, she’s failing miserably. The pants are so far beyond unflattering, it’s almost absurd. The model’s ass looks absolutely gigantic, like it’s twice the width of the rest of her body. The mustard yellow cuffs are ugly, and that shirt? Look at the back of that shirt! How dare she send something that unfinished down the runway. And if all your models are going to be wearing the same shoes, at least have them be cute. These are disgusting, and Nina was right: these women are on a runway. They need to be in heels, not Birkenstocks.

If there was a challenge to do a modern take on a Rocky Horror Picture Show character, and Gretchen chose Columbia, I think this would have been fantastic. Unfortunately, she thought it would be a good idea to put a black and mustard tuxedo jacket and giant underwear together as an allegedly fashionable look; for this transgression, there is no forgiveness.


This dress sums up Michael C perfectly: Sometimes he gets lucky and picks a fabric that moves really well, even though he did absolutely nothing to make it into anything more than a piece of fabric. Usually the designers cream their pants over his genius ability to let the fabric speak to him (read: he doesn’t know how to sew), but he finally got called out. Because this is boring and derivative; it’s under-designed and poorly styled. Look closely at the fabric where the slit is – that hem, both on the side and on the bottom, is a disaster. It looks like it’s safety-pinned. And I’m shocked the model didn’t trip on all the excess fabric billowing around her ankles. But what did Michael really do here? Because from what I can tell, he threw silk on the model, put a belt on it, added a strap, and called it a day. And that is not designing.

I’ve seen this dress a hundred times on the runway, and this could only pass for a Forever 21 knockoff of the real deal, at best. The top does not even come close to fitting her; further proof that when it comes to actually sewing, Michael does not have the skills of the other designers. And that feathered bottom is a mess. There’s no order or shape to it; the silhouette is sloppy and she looks like Snuffleupagus from the back. And the hair? What woman under 50 does her hair like that?

Of course Heidi liked this shirt, which is probably the sluttiest shirt I’ve ever seen. And these pants are so ugly, I’m surprised Gretchen isn’t wearing them as we speak. Because that bitch loves her some ugly pants.

In Michael’s defense, he did show a full-length gown, a cocktail dress, and separates, which is the formula you basically have to follow when presenting three looks out of your collection, because it shows the most diversity. Unfortunately, his diversity was still butt-ugly, practically plagiarized, and horribly constructed. Good riddance, Michael and your ridiculous overwrought, embarrassing emotions. (Seriously, what was his temper tantrum about? HE KNEW HE WOULD STILL BE SHOWING AT FASHION WEEK. TEN OF THEM DID. In light of that fact, doesn’t he seem just… completely fucking nuts?)


It’s almost entirely black and white, but still incredibly Mondo. The prints are mixed beautifully, and the flashes of pink in the accessories really pump up the volume. Extra points for showing a real head-to-toe look: a head piece, separates, shoes, belts, bags, you name it.

I couldn’t believe this was the look he threw together in two days, because after viewing Mondo’s collection weeks ago, this look was one of my absolute favorites. That color blue is amazing, especially with that unexpected mocha-and-black skirt. The sleeves are delightfully fun, and the yellow belt really made it all come together.

But I could not get behind this. It looks better in these photos than it did on my television, but the combination of the stretchy fabric and the different-sized circles was a mistake. It just gave the appearance of the dress stretching out her features, making her hips and butt much wider than they actually are, like an optical illusion dress. And is this supposed to be formalwear? It’s a full-length, long-sleeved, low-backed dress, but I can’t imagine anyone actually wearing this as evening wear. I’d have preferred it if it went to the knee, and the sleeves went to the elbow, and it was made of a less-stretchy, sturdier fabric.

But forget about me, dear readers. What do you think?

And of course, your results from last episode’s poll:

© Democracy Diva, 2010.

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