Spoiler alert, for those who haven't seen the finale of Project Runway.
Okay, Project Runway people, listen up. This is the second straight season where I've been ticked off at the winner of your show. Six straight seasons of (mostly) landing it on the head, and now the wheels are starting to come off the wagon.
Last season, it wasn't that there was some clear winner who got jobbed. I just didn't like Seth Aaron. I found him personally annoying, and his aesthetic to be ugly. I had been rooting for his elimination for weeks.
That wasn't the problem this season. I'm not a Gretchen hater. I think she's a very talented designer. And I even didn't really dislike her as a person. She did grate on me early on, but I think as we learned more about her and the struggles she had gone through, I understood a lot about where she was coming from. Her clothes were very wearable and usually interesting, and I can definitely see her selling in your local department store.
The problem this season wasn't that a bad designer won. It's that a truly unique talent -- arguably, I'd say, the single most talented designer that's ever been on the show with the exception of Christian Siriano -- didn't get the nod. Mondo's clothes were exceptional in every dimension -- exceptionally creative, exceptionally cheerful, colorful, bright, and fun. He mixed prints and colors beautifully, which I normally hate and is normally extremely hard to pull off. As Jill noted, as crazy and off-beat as Mondo's collection was, there was not a single item in it that she couldn't imagine someone she knew wearing (at this point I interjected that we had a slight advantage here, having attended Carleton). He instilled himself in every design that came down the runway. And, of course, he was adorable -- though that's just a bonus (Irina was an obvious villain in season 6, but she was also the clear victor).
When I think of Gretchen's career trajectory, it's selling interesting, stylish, wearable clothes at Macy's. And that's nothing to sneeze at, and a lot more than many other designers will reach. But the person who I think actually will do things in fashion -- who can push the ball in new and interesting ways -- that's Mondo.