Three designers show collections during New York Fashion Week at Lincoln Center. But only one of them gets to be "in" when all is shown and judged.
So who triumphed on the eighth season of Project Runway?
Was it the wee Mondo Guerra, whose first name says it all when it comes to his talent? Or did Mondo get too "costumey," allowing Andy South's Laos-inspired separates to squeak by into the winner's circle? Or, did love-to-hate-her Gretchen Jones manage to elevate her urban-safari collection to runway-worthy high fashion?
You're gonna love this.
Gretchen upset the endlessly creative Mondo in the show's final moments, with the judges ultimately deciding that the 28-year-old from Portland, Ore., was just a bit more ready to make a splash on the sales racks than her fellow finalists.
"Thank you so much," the down-and-out designer, who had made clear how broke she was coming into this competition, said tearfully.
"My God, I needed this so bad, in so many different ways," she said later. "And I certainly know that Mondo and I gave them hell. Now I truly feel like I'm supposed to be doing what I'm doing."
And she's already won herself two celebrity clients!
"Your designs are amazing and I can't wait to buy them," guest judge Jessica Simpson congratulated Gretchen, "and I know that my sister is going to rock them impeccably."
But where there's a winner...
"I honestly believe that everything happens for a reason," a bummed-out Mondo—whose look betrayed a bit of surprise when Gretchen's name was called—said afterward. "This experience has just proven to me what I am capable of achieving."
The judges were impressed by the majority of Mondo's playful collection, from the top of the models' bow-bedecked heads to the tips of their bootie-clad toes, but his grand finale was the controversial full-length polka-dot dress.
And that didn't sit well with Team Gretchen.
"I'm obsessed with that dress!" exclaimed Jessica, prompting Heidi Klum to suggest that they both wear it to the same party some time.
Then a real battle ensued between Jessica and Heidi, aka Team Mondo, and Nina Garcia and Michael Kors of Team Gretchen. Kors, in particular, was pissed that Mondo didn't slash the sleeves and/or shorten the polka-dot dress.
"Can someone hand me my boxing gloves, please?!" asked Heidi as the four of them debated the merits of the fantastical Mondo and the hip-and-stylish Gretchen.
"I personally would buy more pieces from Mondo," Jessica said quietly. "I don't think it looked like a circus."
Interestingly, the judges gave it away during deliberations that Andy was out, agreeing that, overall, his "intricate and sophisticated" collection had "no oomph, no bite."
The judges took care of the bite instead, as Nina dared Heidi to put the polka-dot dress on right then and there. "You wriggle into that puppy!" Michael Kors demanded.
No wonder Heidi called this one "the toughest decision in Project Runway history."