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 E10

What an episode! I was prepared for this week’s challenge to be dramatic and feelingsy, but it was truly emotional and even inspirational. You’ve just got to watch it for yourself to understand how moving it was, but Mondo has transformed from a quirky but talented tap-dancing designer to an honest and brave soul who knows how to find inspiration in life’s blessings and curses. The best part? Unlike most Project Runway drama, this didn’t feel scripted or over-produced. It just felt raw and real.

But enough about the feelings – we’re here to talk about the designs. This week, Project Runway brought back a terrific challenge from last season, giving the designers the opportunity to create their own prints. No twists and turns – just prints (and feelings). So let’s start the show!

Andy – Bottom 4

This late in the game, there’s no excuses. I don’t care if you’re distracted by your family or your feelings or your personal life – you can’t just give up on a challenge the way Andy did yesterday. Andy hasn’t always made the best choices in this competition, but until this challenge, he stayed true to himself. You could feel Andy’s spirit in every design. But this outfit lacked the vision that makes Andy unique. And Nina was right – this, like too many other garments on the runway this season, is clothes, not fashion.

Andy is at a disadvantage because of his truly awful model, but that’s also no excuse. That mullet blouse was uninspired and unflattering, that vest is disgusting, and those shorts make her look thick-thighed and not at all fashionable. And the print? Sad, boring, and unoriginal. I wouldn’t have eliminated Andy simply because of the strength of his prior work, but if I were basing my decision solely on this challenge, Andy would have been the sure loser.

April – Top 3

Another dark, sexy and intriguing look from April, who I love more and more every week. I like that she’s rough around the edges, with her gloom-and-doom aesthetic and general badass attitude, but she is clearly a gentle soul with a good heart underneath it all. This print, based on her parents’ divorce when she was 13, was stunning. The tree going up the model’s arm is beautiful and very unique, and her incorporation of the print into the design was rather brilliant. I love the silhouette and the styling, and I respect April for being the only designer besides Mondo to create real fashion for this challenge. She was my choice for the runner-up.

Christopher – Bottom 4

Christopher’s designs get more boring every week, and this garment is living proof. The print looked pretty cheap on the runway, but it’s even worse in close-up. It lacks emotion and personality and just looks incredibly amateurish. It’s my least favorite print of the group. I keep being stunned that Christopher is sneaking through when the judges admitted that there’s nothing memorable in his portfolio from this show. I’m still hoping he’ll turn it around and churn out something awe-inspiring, but if he’s planning on pulling out all the stops, I hope it does it soon.

Gretchen – Top 3

I hate the colors. I hate the print. I hate the cut of the shirt. I hate the ruffly collar. I hate the butt-flap on the pants. I have HAD it with Gretchen’s “disco-earthy” (aka “dated-matronly”) aesthetic, her over-confidence, and the judges’ refusal to critically view anything she designs. Nina gave her a “you can do better” speech, but it was more of a “you’re so amazing that we know you can do better” speech rather than a “step up your lousy fucking game” speech. And which one of the crack-smoking judges said that Gretchen is by far the best stylist of the group? That’s the furthest thing from the truth. Mondo is clearly the best stylist, with April riding close behind him. Gretchen has some strengths, but I really don’t think styling is one of them.

Michael C – Bottom 4

Oh, lord. Is Michael C still in the competition? I wrote him off so many weeks ago, I get frustrated just having to look at his face. This print is almost as bad as Christopher’s, and this design was downright ridiculous. As always, the styling is as dated and tacky as can be. So even though we still don’t actually know who Michael is as a designer, because everything he makes is completely derivative and lacking in any sort of originality, HE’S STILL HERE. Because although he’s never the best and usually pretty terrible, he’s also never the worst.

Mondo – Winner!

Incredibly moving inspiration aside, this look was the clear winner. I’m happy the judges said what they did about this outfit before Mondo told them his story, proving that they loved it as fashion AND as a message. Nina and I made the same moaning noise when the model took off the jacket, revealing that fabulous polka-dotted lining. The blouse is draped perfectly, and those pants are simply fantastic. Yes, they’re crazily high-waisted, but they look incredible and fit like a glove. Mondo truly is a master at the art of mixed prints, and he is deserving of his third win in a row.

Valerie – Eliminated

This was far from the worst of the week, but copying your own design from earlier in the season in such a half-assed way is definitely a dealbreaker. Valerie deserved the auf-ing just for thinking she could get away with such shenanigans. Valerie was sweet and talented, but she let the pressure of the competition get to her too early on, and she lost her way. (This is the direction Andy is headed if he doesn’t get his head together.) I don’t think the print was as bad as the judges thought it was, but it certainly wasn’t my favorite. I feel that this garment is over-worked, over-designed, under-edited, and far too stiff and unforgiving. Other than that, I didn’t mind it, but sweet Val got what was coming to her after several consecutive weeks of unimpressive looks.

Need more fashion? Of course you do! Check out my coverage of New York Fashion Week, plus the best looks from Milan Fashion Week and London Fashion Week! For more updates, follow me on twitter @democracydiva.

Project Runway S8 E9

Okay, who else is ready for the “Shocking Twist: MAKE MORE STUFF! WITH NO EXTRA TIME!” gimmick to be up? I understand the contestants need to be challenged, but if you expect someone to make a high fashion gown, at least give them more than a day to make it. It’s not about being kinder to the designers – it’s the simple fact that everything on the runway looks like shit when the designers run out of time. Throwing a ready-to-wear look on top of the challenge just decreased the quality of every garment.

And is it just me, or is a total oxymoron to instruct the designers to create a high-fashion couture look… to advertise an $8 eyeshadow? I get that the winner’s $20,000 needs to come from somewhere, but please. Don’t pretend something in a L’Oreal commercial is going to be Parisian couture. It’s an insult to your viewers.

Alright, I’ll shut up. Let’s start the show.

Andy – Top 3


I absolutely loved this when it first went down the runway, but the more I look at it, the less impressed I actually am. I still love the fact that Andy made pants, and more importantly, pants that fit well. Christian Siriano is basically the only other designer in the show’s history who can actually construct a pair of pants. At first I appreciated how over-the-top it was, but viewed in photos instead of on TV, it’s basically a bunch of fan-like objects placed on top of an ordinary black suit. And that feels like a bit of a cop-out to me. But Andy has stood by his point of view week after week, which I respect. And in the hot mess on that runway, his stuck out as one of the few with any creativity whatsoever. He’d still have made the top 3 in my judging, but only because everybody sucked this week.

Ready To Wear (RTW):

Sexy, simple, and relatively well-made, considering the constraints he was under. It feels a little Gaga, which I love.

April – Safe


I feel like I should be sick of April’s goth-chic aesthetic by now, but I’m not. It doesn’t make for great television, because it’s hard to see the details in all her black outfits, but when you review them in photos, each garment is intricate and unique. I’m digging the leather-and-lace train in particular. It’s like Lady Gaga meets Twilight, which sounds like it should be terrible but actually sort of works! It’s not exactly couture, but it’s intriguing and creative, and for that, I’d have put April in the top 3.


Like Andy’s RTW look, April’s dress doesn’t move mountains, but it’s cute enough and isn’t falling apart at the seams. I hate that necklace, though.

Christopher – Safe


I didn’t hate this when I first saw it, but I hate it more every minute I look at it. The white draping around her waist is sloppy and unflattering, and in the immortal words of Michael Kors, it looks like she’s pooping fabric. That dirty rose water pink is awful, as is the “nude” underlay that clashes horribly with the model’s skin tone. The shoulder piece is nice from the back, but a little underwhelming from the front. But the hair and makeup really drag this down into the dumps. Christopher seems like a wonderfully sweet person and a good designer, but he may just be too boring to continue much further on the show.


Oof! That is some sloppy sewing. The dress is only slightly more boring than April’s and Andy’s RTW looks, but the snooze-worthy fabrics and truly shoddy construction make it seem like a much hotter disaster. And I’d have put him in the bottom 3 for two poorly made and drab-colored garments down the runway.

Gretchen – Top 3


Since this season began, I’ve never liked anything Gretchen designs as much as the judges praise it. Sometimes it’s just a matter of personal taste – the 1970s aesthetic that’s all over Gretchen’s mind and the New York Fashion Week runways right now is really not my style – but sometimes, I just want to tell Michael, Nina, and Heidi to put down the crack pipe and open their eyes. This is ugly, dowdy, matronly, and not even remotely couture or high-fashion. I don’t think it feels expensive or chic, and the back, which the judges creamed their pants over, looks beyond tacky to me. I’ll concede that the feather work is nicely done, but this is not a garment that a real woman wants to wear.


Gretchen, I’ll give you $20,000 myself if you just make something that doesn’t feature a slouchy sweater, oversized sleeves, or droopy fabrics of any kind. Gretchen’s strong construction skills would make me judge her as safe, but no way in hell would she be in the top 3 if I were in the judge’s circle.

Ivy – Eliminated


Well, it was about damn time. Ivy’s been churning out ugly after ugly since the beginning. But I must say, even I could not have anticipated just how ugly this was going to be. I knew the colors were tacky, the concept was too literal, and it wouldn’t be remotely high fashion, but I didn’t think it was going to look THIS bad.


And THIS was so bad, it was almost funny. The lack of a hem, the so-called draping, that awful neckline – I’d have sent Ivy home for either one of these looks, and she solidified her fate with two equally horrible garments.

Michael C – Bottom 3


Before I noticed the wire hem, the never-ending train and the way the Bordeaux fabric shimmers, I didn’t hate this. I thought it was so derivative of Christian Siriano and other similar designers that it was practically copyright infringement, but I didn’t think it was ugly. But those three details (hem, train, shininess) killed it for me.


Again, it’s every Alice + Olivia cocktail dress that Barneys sells, proving once again that Michael C has not an original thought in his head, but at least I could see a young woman wearing this. I actually would have made Michael C safe, not thrown him in the bottom, but I swear if I see one more zipper on this fucking runway, I’m going to lose my mind.

Mondo – Winner!


I didn’t love the front, but this was by far the best look on the runway. I hate that the bodice sits so far away from her chest, and the black satiny fabric he used for the front looks cheap and tacky, but the back is simply stunning. I agree with the judges that the length is a problem (too short in front, too long in back), but the back of this dress is the only thing on the runway that I would call high fashion. As always, Mondo mixes prints and colors with impeccable skill, but what amazes me is the geometric, architectural shapes to this skirt. It’s not simply draped in back – it’s practically origami folded in such a complex and beautiful way.


Simple and chic, but supremely body-conscious and much more show-stopping than any of the other RTW looks. If his win wasn’t solidified with the couture dress, this certainly would have given him the win in my book.

Valerie – Bottom 3


Oh, lord. This dress is as basic as basic gets. The only actual design aspect is that sad little shoulder piece; the rest is an endless nightmare of white. Did she really think she could just wrap white fabric around her model and call it a day?


I still get queasy just looking at this hot mess. It certainly gives Ivy a run for her money in terms of suckery. Valerie should thank her lucky stars that Ivy screwed up so badly, and she should watch her back, because if she doesn’t make a 180 soon, the judges are not going to forgive her.

Up next: London Fashion Week! Milan Fashion Week! And so much more. Stay updated on twitter @democracydiva.

New York Fashion Week’s 10 Best Looks

10. The Retro Swimsuit


Vintage-style swimwear is one of my favorite fashion trends. Bandeau tops, high-waisted bottoms – I’ll take that over a barely-there string bikini any day of the week. And in this gorgeous color, with the matching sweater and shoes? Who could possibly say no to this?

9. Lady in Red


From the way Project Runway is going, I’m not sure Valerie will actually make it to the top three, but her collection said otherwise. Architectural and feminine, like season 2 winner Chloe Dao. I hate the fake-looking wigs she used on every damn model, but this dress is truly stunning. It’s got complexity and intrigue but still feels classic.

8. Mad Men Meets Babydoll


The fabric choice is mod-chic, but the babydoll length is totally 90s. I love the sleeves and the way it flares out, flattering her teensy waist. A classically beautiful shape and print.

7. Architectural Chic


Totally modern, totally gorgeous. All those lines would be overwhelming if the dress wasn’t broken up by the clean white stripes in the middle. And that white sheer underlay? Delicious.

6. A Skirt for the Ages


Well, looks like I’ve found my new lawyer-chic ensemble. A crisp button down and a skirt with serious attitude is all a professional woman needs. That draping is so meticulous and it completely modernizes a classic outfit. I love the black bow at the waist, and I like that the skirt has some volume without making her look hippy.

5. Color Me Fabulous


Marc wins the award for best use of color. He didn’t hide behind taupes and whites – Mr. Jacobs went all out with gorgeous, rich, unique colors (and it happens to match my Ted Baker purse perfectly). Say what you will about the prairie-girl silhouettes – those colors are the only ones I want to wear this spring.

4. A New Silhouette


I’m just obsessed with the shapes of these pieces. Totally fresh and totally Vera. And that hair is so perfect for a Vera show – a pumped-up, volumized classic.

3. Hervé Strikes Again

Hervé Léger Spring 2011

Hervé Léger is beloved by celebrities for making skin-tight, incredibly body-conscious dresses. His infamous “bandage dresses” have been worn by the likes of Elisabeth Moss, L, Kim Kardashian, Anne Hathaway, Victoria Beckham, Blake Lively, and countless more starlets. He also nailed the number three spot in my post last season about the ten best looks from Fall 2010 (for a dress later worn by Lea Michele). And he’s back with a vengeance this season, with more awe-inspiring designs that show off a woman’s body like never before. Gorgeous, architectural, and above all, totally smokin’.

2. The Perfect Print


Fabulous silhouette and fit, but it’s the print that makes this truly unique. Those colors are beyond incredible. I hope this print shows up all over the runway this spring.

1. The Modern Classic


That fade from nude into navy is gorgeous. Such a dramatic effect in such a simple and timeless dress. Voluminous on the body, angelic on the top – a beautiful dress for any woman.

Need more NYFW? Check out the worst looks, the hottest trends, and the best collections from New York Fashion Week. And for all your overseas fashion needs, don’t miss out on the best of London Fashion Week and Milan Fashion Week!



Project Runway S8 E8

This episode was, in the great words of Heidi Klum, a snooze-fest. Design an American sportswear look with the great Jackie O as the inspiration. Could’ve been great, except that most of the designers choked and came up with something boring and irrelevant to the challenge. And in response, the judges were so unreasonably mean that the show became uncomfortable to watch. Oh, well. Let’s start the show.

Andy – Bottom 3

Believe it or not, the worst thing about this look is not the way those pants ride up her ass. It’s that Andy deluded himself into thinking that Jackie Kennedy would actually wear this. The shirt is as nothing as nothing gets, the vest is boring and strangely proportioned, and those pants… Sigh. I might be able to forgive Andy for making a great pair of pants that Jackie would never wear, or an awful pair of pants that Jackie would wear, but this… this is inexcusable. You don’t get to fuck up on the inspiration AND the execution without hearing some truly heartbreaking jibes from Michael Kors. The judges were incredibly harsh this week, but after staring at these pants, I’m not sure I can blame them. But I agree with Nina – as horrible as these pants are, at least Andy is the type of designer who will surprise us. As far as I’m concerned, that’s reason enough for keeping him on the show.

April – Safe

Okay, I get it. Black is a thing. Some designers can get away with entire collections of nothing but black. But April, you’re not there yet. And this is like the eightieth black outfit you’ve made on this show. Step out of your comfort zone and into the world of technicolor, please.

That being said, the dress is cute. I like the two different black fabrics sewn together – it looks expensive and stylish. I can’t really tell what that thing over her shoulder is supposed to be, and I’m not quite sure what about this dress is Jackie O, but I think it’s nice all the same. But I’m still wondering if April can design for any customer except herself.

Christopher – Top 3

Gorgeous dress, fugly coat. The dress is soft and elegant, and I love that it’s a little bit Grecian, like Jackie in the Onassis years. But holy hell, it looks like she’s wearing road kill around her shoulders. It’s about as subtle as Lady Gaga’s meat dress.

Gretchen – Safe

Obviously Jackie Kennedy’s style spanned the decades, but the reason she is an icon is because of her classic 1960s style. That’s why they brought on January Jones, the star and fashion icon of a show set in the early 1960s, as the guest judge. So can someone tell me why Gretchen went hardcore 1970s for every part of this look? The tacky print and the looseness of the skirt, the revealing top, the oversized sweater, and that goddamn camel color she loves so much – it’s screaming disco, which is not what Jackie was about. It just makes me feel like Gretchen really can only do one aesthetic – modern takes on 1970s fashion in butt-ugly colors. I can’t support that style in general, but certainly not in a Jackie O challenge.

Ivy – Top 3

I liked the neckline of the white top, and I felt that overall, this look felt like Jackie O. But it lacks the elegance and glamour that she embodied – it’s like Ivy designed for the poor man’s First Lady instead of the real deal. And I think the back of that jacket is just a mess. But this is the first look Ivy’s designed all season that I didn’t absolutely hate. So, I guess that’s something.

Michael C – Safe

It’s not sportswear. And it’s not Jackie. It’s an evening gown with a denim trench. Michael C has more lives than a cat, but his time is coming, kittens. We’re getting down to the fun part of the season – where all the people on the show actually have talent. And while Michael C and Ivy may have been able to hold their own against AJ and Casanova, they simply lack the talent of designers like Mondo and April. They’ve both shown way more bad looks than good ones, and I’m dreaming of a double elimination in which Michael Kors just vomits all over their designs.

Michael D – Eliminated

Tom & Lorenzo called this a Monet – cute from afar, but a total mess when you get closer – and I think they’re absolutely right. Everything is reasonably cute, if a little cheap looking, from far away. But look closely – everything is actually kind of a mess. I don’t hate the jacket as much as the judges did, but there’s no excuse for those ill-fitting tank tops. My biggest pet peeve is when designers spend so much time and effort on one part of their look that they completely ignore another part of it. This problem was an epidemic in this challenge – it happened with Andy’s boring white shirt, it happened with Valerie’s black skirt, and it happened here, with those sad, droopy shirts. And while a modern tween might rock that skirt, Jackie Kennedy would not have done so.

Mondo – Winner

Do I even have to say anything, dear readers? THIS. IS. AMAZING. This is by far my favorite look of the season, and I’m pretty sure it’s in my top 5 best Project Runway designs of all time. The shock of purple as the lining of the coat was simply brilliant – it’s Mondo’s keen eye for detail that takes this look from great to incredible. That top is classic American sportswear in the best sense of the term. It fits so incredibly well, and it was a stroke of genius to take the cuffs of the sleeves and do them in vertical stripes instead of horizontal. And my faithful readers know by now that I’m obsessed with sleeves that hit right at the elbow – Mondo’s picking up on a great trend.

And that skirt. I could write a love sonnet in iambic pentameter about that skirt, but I’ll spare you. The print is stunning and it fits her like a dream. I believe Jackie Kennedy would actually have worn that exact garment, and I can’t say that for any other singular item on this runway.

Valerie – Bottom 3

I think the judges were unreasonably hard on Valerie this week. Yes, she was stupid to completely overlook the skirt and make something so basic and boring. But I see nothing wrong with the colors of the vest and jacket that the judges complained about. And did they really get on her case for making a jacket over a jacket when the challenge forced her to make outerwear even when she’d already made the jacket? That’s just unfair. Obviously she didn’t want to do two layers of outerwear, but she had no choice, and I think the vest was a smart idea. It kept her from getting too bulky. And while I agree that the collar is a little sad, I think the vest itself is pretty cute. I don’t know exactly where Jackie O fits into this outfit, but I’m glad we get to keep Valerie around a little longer. I know she’s got more to show us.


Up next on the blog: Your weekly fashion recap, focusing on who wore what to which fashion show! And of course, I’ll be working on the best and worst New York Fashion Week! Get all the updates on twitter @democracydiva!

Project Runway Recap: S8 E7

This week’s challenge was to create a resort look. The catch? After the contestants designed their looks and went fabric shopping, they then had to partner up and construct their partner’s design. But the judging was conducted based on who designed the look, not who constructed it. Drama ensued: Ivy is neurotic, Michael D can’t sew, Valerie needs some love from the judges (or a Xanax), Casanova can’t speak English but has good vision, etc. But who gives a shit about anything except the clothes? Let’s start the show.

Andy’s Design – Top 3
(Constructed by Valerie)

These pictures don’t quite show the unique and intriguing silhouette of this sexy swimsuit, but this was mega-hot. It’s so rare to see a truly interesting swimsuit, and Andy gave us just that. Perfectly constructed and brilliantly designed, I had shockingly few complaints. First was the color of the cover-up, which came across much uglier on television than in these photos. Second was how long it took the model to untie that knot and reveal the swimsuit – designers, models should not spend the entire walk down the runway trying to undo a bow. Drama = fully clothed, then one pull of a string, then voila! Sex. The judges gave this some love, but it was my pick for the winner.

April’s Design – Winner
(Constructed by Christopher)

The top half of this is fierce, fabulous, and totally deserving of the win it received. I’m all about those funky straps, and I even like the zipper in back, though I will throw up if I see one more zipper on this runway. And though some bloggers and critics think the sheer material is too lingerie for resort wear, I think it’s just sexy and fabulous.

But that panty? Dear readers, I cannot support that panty. It’s just. So. Big. Everything sexy about the straps and sheerness is forgotten when we see the world’s giantest grandma panty. Maybe April was trying to lessen some of the sex appeal by making the shorts bigger, because she feared it would be downright slutty, but a panty that starts at your bellybutton is a friend to no one.

Casanova’s Design – Eliminated
(Constructed by Gretchen)

Ugly pants and a matronly top. Isn’t this what Casanova designed in every episode? It was not nearly as bad as Ivy’s design, but I understand why the judges eliminated dear Casanova for this – it’s like he hasn’t listened to a word the judges have said to him throughout this competition. But I didn’t think the biggest problem was how matronly it was – I thought the problem was that this is the furthest thing from resort wear that I could imagine. Nothing about those ugly office pants is resort, and that shirt could not look less relaxed – it’s physically restraining her arms from moving. Resort wear is about relaxing vacation wear, whether it’s swimsuits or evening wear, but whatever Casanova designed here, it was not resort.

Christopher’s Design
(Constructed by April)

The shorts looked like a funny length on TV, but I’m liking them better now. And I’d wear that shirt tomorrow. I’d have considered putting this in the top 3.

Gretchen’s Design
(Constructed by Casanova)

This is one of the ugliest garments I’ve ever seen. The model looks absolutely gigantic, from the sagging bustline to the giant tummy to whatever that ungodly bubble is protruding from her back, to that butt, which is so sadly hidden beneath miles of crap. I’d have put this in the bottom instead of Mondo’s look. At least Mondo’s was fun – this is just sad.

Ivy’s Design – Bottom 3
(Constructed by Michael D)

I’ve seen designers get eliminated in week one for pulling out trash like this. How is it possible that Ivy has not been eliminated yet? Seriously, look through her work on this show, and you’ll realize that a) she’s terrified of color, b) her construction skills are weak at best and c) NOTHING she makes is fashionable. NOTHING. Everything is shapeless or styleless or colorless or all three, like this sad, sad garment. I know Michael D can’t sew, but that’s not the biggest problem here – Ivy didn’t design anything. She may as well have pulled out a few yards of fabric, wrapped it around her model, stapled it together, and sent her out on the runway. This is unacceptable.

Michael C’s Design
(Constructed by Mondo)

Trashy. The boobs don’t fit, the belt is fugly, the print is tacky and WHAT IS WITH ALL THE GIANT PANTS. Who is telling all the designers this season to just construct giant fugly pants and zippers? I’ve had enough. Even though this would probably be worn by a Jersey Shore cast member in Miami, at least it’s identifiably resort wear. So it gets a pass.

Michael D’s Design – Top 3
(Constructed by Ivy)

Can someone remind me again why this was in the top? Because I hate basically everything about this. It’s like the mother to April’s outfit. It’s so heavy, it feels overworked, and it’s almost as far from resort wear as Casanova’s design. The fit is atrocious and the material looks cheap.

Mondo’s Design – Bottom 3
(Constructed by Michael C)

When this first hit the runway, I really enjoyed it. Because in a sea of blacks and neutral colors, somebody had the balls to throw some color and joy into resort wear. Is this too junior for any real woman to wear? Yes. But at least Mondo had fun with this challenge and took a risk, showing multiple pieces in multiple patterns and colors. No matter how tacky it is, that will always get my respect over something like Ivy or Michael D’s designs.

Valerie’s Design
(Constructed by Andy)

This was cute but forgettable, and deserved its spot in the middle of the pack. Again, those shorts are a bit on the ginormous side, so they’re not very flattering (it just looks like arrows pointing to her hoo-ha) but I love the cover-up dress/jacket. Even though it’s basically falling apart at the seams, I think it’s still pretty gorgeous from the back.

Check back later today for your weekly recap of all things celebrity fashion. And of course I’ll be keeping up with all the New York Fashion Week shows and working on some epic posts for you! Follow me on twitter @democracydiva for updates.

Project Runway Recap: S8 E6

This week’s episode of Project Runway was about as awful as last week’s was wonderful. A snoozefest of a challenge – reappropriating ugly-ass bridesmaids gowns for normal women. It led to the predictable drama of contestants being dumbfounded at the sight of a woman over 115 pounds and everyone cringing over the tacky-ass fabrics they had to use. Snore. And once again, the judges managed to piss off the entire blogosphere by giving another undeserving win. Let’s start the show.


Design: I’m not saying it’s ugly or poorly made, because it’s not. But honestly, who besides a sex worker would actually wear this? I think the straps are gorgeous and the whole look is flashy and fierce, but there’s something so streetwalker about those chains and the skintight black seemingly-leather shorts. Also, really? ANOTHER butt zipper?

Execution: Pretty great, particularly on the top.

Styling: If Andy can tone down his stripper-chic style into something a little bit more accessible, he’ll really have something. Until then, I still like his new mohawk.


Design: Another funky and youthful design that has April’s name written all over it. I’m a little bit concerned about how she really only designs things that she’d wear, but girl knows how to rock some blouse embellishments, and I like that. On TV, all the intricacies of the blouse really pop, and from the front, the dress is rouched nicely and fits her well. Loving the sleeve length, too.

Execution: From the back, this is clearly a bit too short, and the zipper points like a crooked arrow to her no-no zone. It looks much rougher in general from the back than from the front, which is problematic. But it’s a fine job overall.

Styling: LOVING the dramatic high pony and classic heels. They really make this girl look like a model.


Design: I feel like socialites must have worn this to St. Tropez in 1984, and I don’t mean that as a compliment. The top is nice enough from the front, but the back just looks like a mistake. And blue satin skintight pedal-pushers? Are we serious?

Execution: Satin is an unforgiving fabric that shows every pucker and every mistake. Lucky Casanova got a “real girl” who looks like a model, or the judges might have noticed.

Styling: The hair looks stupid from the front, and those shoes should be a criminally punishable offense.


Design: This my choice for runner-up, as it’s one of the only garments on the runway that’s actually wearable. I mean, it doesn’t hurt for your “real woman” to drop out and Lifetime magically pulls out this glamazon for you to use, but Christopher did a hell of a job. I’d wear this dress tomorrow.

Execution: From the back, it looks shorter on one side than the other, or perhaps the hem isn’t straight, but it’s a minor offense. Very skilled handiwork overall.

Styling: Less is more. Simple shoes, a funky bracelet, and sex hair is all you need.


Design: I think the top and bottom are both great garments, but you’d have to be nuts to wear them together. The hand-painted shirt is exquisite; if it were a little longer in the front, I think any woman could rock that with a pair of skinny jeans. And the skirt is a dream. But it was a mistake to pair them with each other.

Execution: Everything looks just slightly unfinished – not sure if that’s intentional or not.

Styling: Gretchen needs to tear herself away from those tacky boots – she’s used them before, and they only make things uglier.


Design: Sorry, I just fell asleep looking at this picture. This is just so blah. Very housewife/country club. But shiny.

Execution: The top looks nice, but it’s all draping and no sewing. And once again, Ivy has proven that she can make a really ugly pair of pants.

Styling: The hair is Hillary Clinton meets Nancy Pelosi. Would you want to see that on a runway?


Design: Where do I begin? The length and cut of the sleeve is ugly. The pieces on the skirt look like they were added at the last minute and make the whole dress look sloppy. And I think it looks like a morbid 80s prom dress. AND THERE’S ANOTHER BUTT ZIPPER.

Execution: It’s about a mile too short, and nothing about this looks well-made.

Styling: That hair and makeup belongs in a burlesque show in rural Alabama.


Design: One day, there will be a designer on this show who can look at a larger woman and craft something beautiful instead of something insane. I’m holding out hope. I can’t say it any better than Michael did: She went from bridesmaid to bat mitzvah.

Execution: Where the lace meets the pink in the back of the dress – it’s a disaster area. And that black netting looks about as cheap as can be.

Styling: What the FUCK is that hair? (Cute shoes, though.)


Design: An absolute winner in my heart, Mondo took a tacky disaster and turned it into this mod wonder. I would live in this dress. Unbelievably cute, great use of color-blocking, and totally body-conscious and flattering.

Execution: Nearly flawless.

Styling: I know everyone hated this Jersey Shore styling, but I stand by Mondo’s decision. I think that weird little man was inspired by this girl’s Jersey City roots (and her orange fake tan) and decided to run with it, Snookie-style. I love that she looks like she’s straight off the Seaside boardwalk.


Design: Every mistake you can make was made here. The top is a disaster, and the green ruffles are absurd.

Execution: Everything looks homesewn.

Styling: Combat boots and stick-straight hair? I love the 90s just as much as the next girl, but come on.


Design: I love Valerie, but I judge her for not knowing how to design for a normal-sized woman. Because on a 5’10” size zero, this dress would have looked fucking awesome. But all the color-blocking just serves to point to different body parts in the least flattering of ways. And the back is flat-out tacky.

Execution: It’s just too tight, especially the straps in the back which look like they’re straining to rein her in. This woman should sue for defamation – her body is way better than this dress makes it seem.

Styling: The hair looks like a cheap wig, the purse doesn’t match, and black shoes would have been better.

Judge’s Top: Christopher, Mondo, Michael C (winner)
Diva’s Top: April, Christopher, Mondo (winner of my heart)

Judge’s Bottom: Valerie, Michael D, Peach (out)
Diva’s Bottom: Casanova, Michael D, Peach

Check back for more fashion and fabulous later this week! And don’t forget to follow your favorite diva on twitter @democracydiva!

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