Project Runway: Out of Season

Fashion Week has come and gone, the runway collections have been shown, a winner has been chosen, and the losers have been sent home. Now all that's left is the reaction, and what a reaction it is.

Like a foul stench of hipsters and toxic waste out of an abandoned New Mexican pueblo, Gretchen Jones won (spoiler alert!) and, it seems to me, no one is happy about this. In fact, I've heard more than one person say that they're going to quit watching the show. This morning I was greeted with an irate email from my mother, and she summed it all up pretty succinctly.

I cannot imagine what they were thinking making Gretchen the winner. I think they thought if they didn't pick her no one else would, whereas Mondo will have someone back him because his stuff is awesome.

They have done me in though. I am not watching next year. The hour and a half episodes and the lousy choice of a winner makes it not worth watching. They're not looking for the best designer, they are looking for another Micheal Kors. TJ Maxx has enough Michael Kors designers already!

I do love my mother, but Gretchen winning was one of the:

Things We Hated:

  • Gretchen Jones Winning: So many things about this upset me. First of all, I wasn't that wowed by her collection. It all just seemed way too Williamsburg Hangover Brunch to me. It was like things that girls who want to look fashionable but don't have much money either make for themselves or rig together from a bunch of things they bought at a thrift store. Yes, she improved the styling over her showing last week in the semi-finals, but it was just a snooze. Everything looked far too similar, and I just didn't see the innovation or the craftsmanship. Like Queen of Tangerines, HRH Michael of Kors, and Nina Garcia, Fashion Director of Marie Claire magazine said, she is on trend. Gretchen is so hip she's beyond hip, but what I worry about is that she is going to be Flock of Seagulls. You know the guys from Flock of Seagulls are still rocking that one ridiculous look from 1983 even though it's 27 years later. We have no indication that Gretchen can do anything beyond what she keeps showing on the runway. Ms. Kors feels that she's thinking about "the future of fashion." I don't know that Gretchen is that bright or has that much vision. I would say she'll have to show us in the future, but I have a feeling this is going to be the last we ever hear of Ms. Gretchen Jones

  • Mondo Losing: Like most other people, I think that Mondo deserved to win. Some of his pieces were amazing and memorable, and he definitely has a viewpoint that is his own. Unlike Gretchen's, you won't find his clothes already being made by amateur seamstresses in partially gentrified neighborhoods with Etsy accounts. Mondo is Mondo, and like it or not, he should be rewarded for his individuality. Like NGFDMCM said, though, it was very juniors at points. The skull T-shirt, while amazing, was very Heatherette circa 2003 and more appropriate for Miley Cyrus than, I don't know, someone old with good style. Tilda Swinton? I think the criticism was valid, but on a whole, he was definitely better.

  • That I Liked Andy's Collection: When I first saw Andy's collection back in September I really liked it. Upon further inspection, I have changed my mind. Also, it looked like catfish. Sorry, guys.

  • The Reunion: Why did they have the blessed reunion at the beginning of the show. I'm sorry, but reality show reunions, as a genre, are pretty fucking stupid. I didn't even watch the Jersey Shore one last night and that's the greatest sociological experiment of our time. Why do you think I'd want to look at a bunch of designers who I can barely even remember? At least put it at the end end of the show so I can skip it. Well, I still skipped it, but it was more annoying to fast forward on the DVR than just press stop and delete.

  • Sack Shoes: When talking about the Great PiperLime Accessory Wall of Made in China, they finally showed a pair of shoes. They were gray pumps that looked like they were made out of sacks with draw strings at the ankle. They were the most hideous monstrosity I had ever seen. It was like some designer grew up wearing burlap bags on his feet and decided to make a luxe leather version of them. No wonder no one ever wants to use this fucking wall.

  • Hair & Makeup: The episode is already bloated at 90 minutes, now it's at 120 minutes. And why the extra time? So we can see some totally inconsequential bullshit about how the models are going to be styled. Maybe I'd care differently if I actually styled my hair (well, I do trim my mustache) or wear makeup, but it was boring and unnecessary. I hate you Gloryhole Paris!

  • Jessica Simpson's Face: Just everything about her being there was personally offensive to me.

  • Fake Designers in the Audience: Anyone who follows this show with more than even the most passive interest already knows that 10 designers showed collections at Lincoln Center for Fashion Week. We (barely) understand that they edited out everyone who didn't make the finals, but then why are they showing those designers sitting in the audience? I was in the audience, and they were not. They were back stage weeping in their lattes because Gretchen was about to rob them of the crown. It's one thing to massage reality to fit their narrative, but it's another thing to flat out lie to us so blatantly.

Things We Loved:

  • Mondo's Outfit: For their final runway show, the evil Gretchen Jones was wearing some shear apron with a pair of granny panties underneath. Andy South was dressed like a raver in the drum-and-bass room of Twilo in 1998. Mondo, our dear Mondo, looked beautiful. In a shiny tailored suit he looked absolutely perfect. He was well-dressed, different, and with enough flair that he was still...Mondo. And how did he get his hair to do that intricate curlicue? We stand in its thrall.

  • The Runway Photography: They must have used different (better?) cameras to film the outfits on the runway this year. The images were crisp and detailed and you could really see the nuance, shine, and color of the fabric. Well done. Now if Lifetime would only get an HD channel.

  • The Square Tunic Dress: Every year there is that one dress from the finale that you will always remember. For me, it was Mondo's square tunic dress that he said was based on an Aztec temple. I didn't see that, but with the pink around the edge, the geometrical pattern, and the strange shape, I'll be thinking about it for seasons to come.

  • Gretchen's Jewelry: If I saw a woman wearing some of Gretchen's jewelry on the subway, I would think that she worked in fashion and was very hip. I hate to admit it, but she did a good job.

  • Mondo's Journey: I hate when reality stars are all like "I'm on a journey," because it's such bullshit. They're really just trying to get famous or win a prize or something. Mondo showed up a shy wallflower who felt like an outcast who no one would talk to and floundered in the first several challenges. But as he gained friends and confidence he really flourished as a designer and even found the strength to acknowledge his HIV-positive status. It was quite a transformation and a very powerful narrative. Or maybe it was clever editing.

  • Jessica Simpson's Face: When discussing the designers, Ms. Kors compared Mondo to Mexican food (obvs) and Gretchen to Chinese food and then asked Heidi which kind of food she wanted. She said, "I want it all." Then Jessica Simpson laughed. Yeah, it looks like Jessica wants all the food too.

  • Judges Fighting: The heated discussion between NGFDMCM and Her Highness Micheal Kors, Empress of Tangerineland taking on Heidi Klum and Washed-Up Pop Singer over who should win was very interesting to watch. I must say that both sides made very valid points, but I think what did them in was that Heidi "Bad Haircut" Klum and Jessica "Mom Jeans" Simpson were taking on two fashion professionals. Having them advocate for good clothing is like having J.Lo and Steven Tyler judges a singing competition. Oh, wait. Anyway, good fight, everyone.

And in the end, Kors and Garcia were the champions and they anointed Gretchen Jones—the shit talker, the designer adviser, the group hijacker—the winner. Was it because Lifetime wanted a female to win? Is it because she obviously needed the money to keep her from killing herself or going to debtor's prison or whatever happens to hipsters who get fired from their job as a bitchy barista at an organic coffee shop? Who knows. Who cares? Because she jumped in victory, and we all vomited. Now we sit here, with her collection nothing but a vague blur of flowing skirts and cheap animal prints, wondering if we can even bother investing year in this deteriorating competition.

Meanwhile, somewhere back at Parson's, Grampa Gunn is shuffling through the workroom, his eyes red and his cheeks like a muddy hillside with rivulets carved out of it by sudden flood. With head bowed low and his hands fisted up in the pockets of his cardigan, his slippers scrape on the ground as he he works his way toward the one lamp that is left illuminated. There's a dummy with a long, backless dress propped up next to it, a silver and brass chevron necklace glinting in the front. Gramps puts his palm under the metal, feeling it's cold sting and the tiny pinches as he raises it slightly from the mannequin and eases it down his hand. With that he remembers all the bad consults he had with Gretchen, the time he went so far as to cry ignominy after she ruined her teams' collection. With a half-thought idea and a shallow regret, he reaches for the light switch under the table where she laid so many bolts of fabric, but he can't look at it. His head crumples into his shoulder and the cotton yarn warms his face as two more tears—both from his left eye—leak out. He finds the switch and with a loud snap, the light goes out...possibly forever.