Project Runway Controversy: Was The Wrong Designer Auf'd?

Team Mondo!

In Thursday night’s finale of Project Runway, a much-loved contestant got “auf’d,” but many are arguing it wasn’t the right one.

Mondo, whose quirky, eccentric pieces were the judge's favorite from episode to episode was given the boot.   The winner of this season was Gretchen Jones (whose hairstyle blunt bangs and brown locks oddly mirror Season 5 winner Leanne Marshall).  Her collection, "Running Through Thunder,"  featured flowy, mostly brown pieces.

Critics and fans alike are outraged that the charismatic Mondo didn't win. While both designers put out strong collections (the third finalist, Andy, was easily cast aside by the judges), Gretchen ultimately won out.

In what might have been the most drawn-out debate in “Project Runway” history, Heidi Klum and guest judge Jessica Simpson, fighting in favor of Mondo, pitted themselves against Nina Garcia and Michael Kors. Kors and Garcia fought tooth and (manicured) nail for Gretchen's collection, pushing her marketability and patchwork pants.  

"It drove me bonkers listening to the judges, who've fallen over themselves all season to praise the youthfulness of this or that design, argue that Mondo was too youthful," EW critic Missy Schwartz wrote.  "By the time Heidi named Gretchen the winner, I was no longer shocked. Just sad."

What was curious was the sudden change of heart of Nina’s usually reliable critiques. As Fashion Editor of Marie Claire, she, in the past, has chosen more edgy, editorial designers over designers who have the penchant for making endless amounts of harem pants and one-shoulder dresses. As the Fug Girls pointed out in their recap, “Nina often dings people for making what's hot now and not looking ahead, and then tonight she lauded Gretchen for making … what's hot now.”

Critics and fans are hopeful that this isn’t the end for Mondo, and that we’ll see his bright, funky designs in Fashion Weeks to come.

Selected Reading: The Fug Girls, EW, Lifetime

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