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Project Runway All-Stars Season Finale Recap: And the Winner Is... [Updated]

I’m pretty certain there was heated disagreement among the five judges. (Was it possible Isaac Mizrahi was kicking Tommy Hilfiger’s shins just below camera range?) And honestly, any of the three remaining finalists could’ve/should’ve won — depending on what parameters were being considered. But whatever the case, we’ve finally got a winner in the long, not-as-fun-as-it-sounded-on-paper season of Project Runway All-Stars (alternate title, Project Runway: Lifetime Tries to Redeem Its Key Reality Franchise After the Horrors of Season 8).

Not surprisingly, after the runway had been stomped, the hemlines had been assessed, and host Angela Lindvall had dispensed air kisses (and tickets for weekend getaways to Paris) to the second runner-up (Michael Costello) and the runner-up (Austin Scarlett), we got the result that was almost always a foregone conclusion: Mondo Guerra is the All-Stars champ.

A few thoughts on the six-piece collections — which the designers inexplicably only had four days to create (since apparently the show’s producers have forgotten that fabulous, over-the-top fashion — the kind that takes, well, at least a month to create — is what makes this franchise tick):

* Mondo | I loved the sight of Joanna Coles running a lint roller down Mondo’s back — and the peculiar little designer getting skittish about the too-close contact with the All-Stars mentor. Mondo’s best pieces were definitely the Rorschach-test dress with red cuff (which drew raves from Neiman Marcus’s Ken Downing), the red-silver-black lamé dress that moved with exceptional fierceness, and that opening look — the silver mini with magnifying-glass (or was it stick-figure) logo and polka-dot bow blouse. And frankly, there was nothing of Mondo’s that came down the runway that I disliked (not even the playful oversized pockets and buttons.) Overall, Mondo’s collection had a brightness and energy — and a real sense of cohesion — that made it the worthiest of winners, so even if the judges were contractually obligated to give him the win, I’d say he earned it.

* Austin | I’ll admit I winced a little (again) at Austin blathering about his collection being inspired by a centuries-old vampire living in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn and borrowing clothes from her “Hasidic dandy friends.” But dang that bloodsucker inspired a pair of killer looks: the laquered lace dress with the flirtatious flip front and that wedding dress, which resembled the lightest, airiest, wedding cake ever — with frosting sculpted to look like cascading petals. Georgina Chapman was right: Millions of women would want to wear that coming down the aisle. But yikes, those pink hip-expanding wader-pants were ridiculous, and Georgina correctly questioned the volume and cinching of that oddly proportioned black and burgundy gown, too.

* Michael | My favorite ridiculous moment of the judges’ deliberations came when Tommy Hilfiger excitedly noted Michael’s resort-wear collection was ready to go “into the store and out the door,” and Isaac Mizrahi gave him a side-eye of utter disdain. Oh honey, please, you designed for Target. Let’s not get too highfalutin! But in all seriousness, Michael’s exquisitely fitted, sensual garments did have a certain commercial quality that had to excite Mr. Neiman Marcus. I loved his black-and-white zebra-giraffe dress, and that gathered gauzey top over the sexy shorts was a hot look, too. I wouldn’t have been upset had Michael taken the whole ball of wax, to be honest, even if I had to agree with Georgina that perhaps his designs didn’t capture any big ideas beyond “pretty.” I mean, do they have to, really?

Anyhow, with that I turn things over to you: What did you think of the Final 3′s collections? Who do you think deserved to win it all? And did you find All-Stars to be less satisfying than you’d expected? Sound off below, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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63 Comments
  1. Tarc says:

    Yay! Finally Mondo won – as he should have on his regular season.

    • Danielle H says:

      DIdn’t even watch this, since I stopped watching Runway awhile back, but all I could think was that he should win this no matter what. Great to hear!

    • eggy says:

      So happy Mondo won! That being said, I hope Michael finds somewhere to sell those finale pieces, because I would buy every last one of them.

  2. susela says:

    They chose the right designer! Mondo’s looks were edgy yet wearable and he had a cohesive collection. His look was very smart; he’ll do well.

  3. jugger says:

    I liked season 8 (more than 6 and 9, at least) and thought Gretchen was the deserving winner when considering ONLY the final runway.

    • eggy says:

      I didn’t have a problem with Gretchen’s personality, but I thought her designs were SO BORING. What Mondo did was something we hadn’t seen before on PR. He absolutely deserved the win over the worlds beige-est clothing collection.

    • Frederick jones says:

      Wait, you are joking; right? Or are you being paid to say that? I know……you must be Gretchen’s mother.
      Gretchen winning Project Runwsy was a travesty and a complete mistake. Everything she put down the runway was horrifying. She hasn’t been heard from since, you know.
      Michael Costello is ruling the stars on the red carpet now, so he ‘s already a champion in my book.
      You…just go away.

    • elleg929 says:

      Gretchen put giant diapers and webbed shoes down the runway. Gross.

    • I winder what Gretchen’s doing now? Is she still designing? Is she successful? Any chance that you can follow-up on past winners Mr. Slezak?

  4. Nicole says:

    I wish he hadn’t won- he was a whiny beeyotch in his original season, and he was a whiny beeyotch here. He should not have won in his original season.

    • Leah says:

      He ABSOLUTELY should have won his first season! What does it matter if he’s whiny? His personality has NO bearing on whether or not he designs awesome clothes (which he DOES). Some would say his personality is moody and tortured BECAUSE he is so talented….I don’t know if I agree, but I do know that he has GOBS of talent.

    • Dave In Alamitos Beach says:

      Um, I’m pretty sure that Michael Kors, Isaac Mizrahi, etc. are “whiny beeyotch”es as well. It kinda goes with the territory. Mondo was/is clearly in a class of his own.

    • jj says:

      I agree. Especially when he said Austin looked like Kermit the frog. Omg.

  5. Nicole says:

    I was more of an Andy fan in season 8, but I never got why people readily swallowed up all the heavily-edited clips of Gretchen being a bitch, without even trying to accept the possibility that there were tons of clips that were left out- they are editing several days’ worth of footage into a cohesive 1.5-hour show. These types of shows almost always do better where there is a single villain for people to focus on. I’m positive everyone (even Mondo…shocker) had their bitch moments, no more or less than Gretchen did.

    • alison@yahoo.com says:

      The reason people readily swallowed up clips of Gretchen being a bitch is that when she opened her mouth something bitchy and nasty came out. No one dubbed in that mean-spirited words, the eye rolling, the imperious manner, put-upon sighs. Yes, it’s possible that for every nasty spew there were 10 supportive, sweet natured, kind things uttered by Gretchen that were not presented in the show. But really, had she not voluntarily given them SO MUCH to work with, they wouldn’t have been able to give her the bitch edit. There’s no such thing as reality in reality shows, but at the same time, people who don’t want to be portrayed badly can watch their mouths and their actions.

    • Deb says:

      People’s perceptions of Gretchen were created when she insisted on criticizing other designer’s clothing as if she were a judge or mentor rather than a competitor. You cannot edit into video what participants do not say…and Gretchen loved to talk.

  6. Bob L. says:

    Mondo wins — As the saying goes; Better late than never!

  7. RyanD says:

    Stop trying to make granny-panties happen Gretchen. It’s not going to happen.

  8. Tammy says:

    MONOS OUTFITS ARE GROSS!! I AM MAD HE WON!!!!!, his outfits wanta to make me want to throw up!! these shows are all fixed!!! I would not want to where his clothes if someone paid me!! They just feel bad for him because he short and weird!!?!!! It Is
    fixed!!!!

  9. Jessica says:

    I never had a problem with Gretchen winning. She had three wins that season. Her final runway collection was great and Mondo’s gave me heartburn. I was sad for Mondo, who was extraordinary, but it was clear he would win All-Stars the second the lineup was announced. Kara Janx? Jerrell? Elisa? Sweet P????? Please.

  10. susan says:

    I figured Mondo won when I saw him commentating on evening dresses during the Oscars.

  11. kay says:

    Once again they pick a winner that is NEVER going to be as succesful as the ones who lost. Mondo is quirky but really what shopper at Neiman is going to buy that stuff? Austin should have won in season 1 and should have won here. Micheal and his derivative drivel shouldn’t have made it in at all. The only winner that they ever got right throughout was Christian Siriano!

  12. sb says:

    Definitely not as fun as it sounded on paper, although I wouldn’t mind seeing Georgina take over for Nina or Michael K, I missed Tim and Heidi This was my pick for final 3 from the start and so happy Mondo got his long deserved win. Gretchen’s win for thrift store chic still makes me mad.

  13. Pam Sewell says:

    I feel they gave away the winner on Oscar night because Nina Garcia was on the red carpet and so was Mondo…So when I thought about it I knew who was going to win, it was obvious…

  14. sarah says:

    Michael should have been 2nd. Austin is not a designer for women. Maybe drag queens. His stiff is awful!! Izzac clearly favored him throughout…what a joke. I can see his stuff @ drag queens r us.

  15. smidnite says:

    Let’s face it; this was the most obviously preordained winning since American Idol Season 4, when Simon told reporters that Carrie was the best as the audition rounds were airinf on TV.

  16. Sarah says:

    I am thrilled Mondo won. If I had the figure and was 6″ taller I would wear that Rorschach dress in an instant. I wanted either him or Austin to win. Michael’s collection was fine but I felt the serengeti resort-wear didn’t show anything about him as a designer. I really needed the All-Stars to be great to make up for the horrible ending of season 8 and the sub-par designers of season 9 (a winner who can’t make sleeves!). This wasn’t as fun as I hoped but I may give season 10 a try for a few episodes.

  17. unicornwasp says:

    I’m pretty sure Mondo did red carpet commentary last year too, though.

  18. Jessica says:

    Wow, Alison, calm down. Gretchen was a normal person who had a lot of stuff to deal with. You’re so judgemental. Her clothes were cool. Maybe you don’t get her. Fine. Maybe you don’t know anything about reality tv. Why so much rage? It’s kind of misplaced.

  19. kellen says:

    Project Runway All-Stars Finale Recap: And the Winner is… Extremely Predictable!

  20. RD says:

    I’m glad Mondo won-he has a vision which works for today’s fashion.As for the series as a whole,I really think the ridiculously short deadlines killed a lot of the creativity and the ‘wow’ factor was sadly missing,for the most part as a result.I also missed Tim and Heide A LOT.But Georgina Chapman can definitely stick around!

  21. Rachel says:

    I gotta say, for as rude as she could be I really did prefer Gretchen as a designer over Mondo as a designer. (I preferred Mondo as a human being, but you know, win some lose some.) I think it probably was contractual that he win this season, so I almost didn’t click the article, but I was curious. Good for him, he really is a solid designer. I just needed to say that Gretchen-gate wasn’t all that shocking to me.

  22. Leah says:

    I am glad Mondo won. He is very talented! That being said, I would have been happy with ANY of them winning. Mondo, Austin, and Michael were some of my absolute favorites during Project Runway. They all are so different (design wise), so it must have been hard to pick a winner (unless it really was fixed, which wouldn’t surprise me).

    I really wish they would have had more time to do their final collections, though. I don’t think it was enough time to really showcase their talent!

  23. Gisele Glen says:

    Seriously I love Mondo but he turned into a crazy person this season I was rooting for Austin I liked how positive he was even though he was going through some stuff he did not let it come out in the way he acted or spoke to people.

  24. Melissa says:

    Mondo should have won, i really felt liek this whole show was because they realized she shoudl have won a created antoher show, with a bigger prize for him to win. we all know Gretchen sucked, i had a hard watching the seasons after that, because i felt the show was then rigged to have a contraversal winner to try and get ratings or something…

  25. Dave In Alamitos Beach says:

    I like Michael well enough, and I really, really think Austin is good in his particular niche, but Mondo is actually someone who could be successful. He designs clothes that people might buy. He’s a little bit “out there” but not too extreme for most people. I’m quite interested to see where is inspiration takes him next.

    As for the show itself, it did seem a little bit like it was produced on the cheap. The best things about it were the judging (surprisingly sane and cogent), and Joanna who was completely different than I was expecting and who came across as the Devil/Angel Wears Prada.

    My favorite moment of the entire series was hearing Joanna coach/mentor Mondo during his runway show. She really treated him like an equal.

  26. Goat Girl says:

    Thank Gawd Mondo wasn’t robbed a second time. But what a sad depressing way for him to finally get redemption…. No Heidi, Nina or Michael or months to make another fab collection and no real runway show at Fashion Week. This whole season felt like Project Runway: Step Children or Project Runway: Bargain Basement. At least Mondo got the money and all the goodies he deserves. Take that Gretchen, Michael, Nina and evil Producers who robbed Mondo in Season 8!

  27. tomitweets says:

    I was good with whomever of these three won! I think Mondo got the prize he should have gotten his season.

  28. I honestly love Michael and I would’ve been happy with him winning but I jumped up and did a “woot woot” when Mondo won. I feel like Michael didn’t make what he was doing clear to the judges. The judges kept saying how they “knew” Mike’s style and that he had his “niche” clients and he wanted to create a collection that was totally different from his norm (come on, animal prints, really?) that showed his diversity as a designer. He made beautiful stylish clothes that were not chic, flowy red carpet gowns. He lost his shot at the finale in his season because his collection was too predictable and that is why he did what he did. Mondo is more Avant Garde and Mike is more timeless but both of them did beautiful collections. Austin on the other hand… he is so hit or miss for me. I wouldn’t want him making a collection for a store unless he had a stylist with a ruler standing over him to smack his hand when he got carried away. He threw everything and the kitchen sink in this collection and it bit him in the butt. His wedding gown was breathtaking and the lacquered laced dress was perfection but everything else felt either tortured or forced and none of it fit together as a show.

  29. Do you know who does Project Runway well? — Australia! I watched their last series and it was way more interesting than what we have in the states right now.

    I was happy that Mondo won but thought his Season 8 runway show was more dynamic.

    I was impressed with Michael’s editing and thought his collection was the most cohesive.

    Austin was simply Austintatious!

    Anyone could have won and I’d be gruntled. . .

  30. Laura says:

    Mondo is one of my fave designers ever on PR. I love his clothes and his personality. I think I loved him from the first epi of season 8. Like many others, I was floored when Gretchen won.

    Mondos clothes have a def point of view, originality and as Georgina said-/wit. I also wish I was younger and taller cause I would love to wear his designs.

  31. Sadie says:

    They chose the right winner, though I would have switched the first and second runner-ups around. I adore most of Michael’s designs because they are “chic” and sophisticated, but average women could wear them. He designed a couple of gowns that were better than anything else I’ve seen on the runway all season. I think Mondo really stepped up for the finals and did the best 4-day collection, but I think a lot of the stuff he did throughout the season was not up to the standards he displayed on Season 8. I love Austin, but for me his styles are hit and miss – whey they hit they are stunning, and when they miss they’re a hot mess. Also, I’m not feeling his color palettes – he’s pulled in some of the worst colors I’ve seen on that show. That said, I think he has the potential to blow the others out of the water if he’d just get his head out of his dream world, spend a little less emotional effort on trying to chanel his inner female, and FOCUS his talents. His stunning could blow the fashion world away.

  32. Ali says:

    Well Tommy Hilfiger is just showing up on all the reality shows these days, huh. I agree that this season did not at all live up to my high expectations but I still love PR. Also, wasn’t quite as enamored with Mondo as I was a couple years ago and enjoyed Kenley’s refreshing more laid-back persona so much that I was in fact rooting for her for the finals. Yet all season, you just knew it was Mondo’s redemption and he was the destined winner. I was really impressed with the final runway shows of all three. Looking forward to purchasing some Mondo pieces from NM this summer.

  33. craftpat says:

    Austin should have won – bottomline! – Austin has been in this business and worked
    hard to make his mark and find his BIG BREAK for a very long time, All those judges loved his work, and even said he could give them what they wanted. They all very well know they could have redirected his collection and put what he did into a sellable collection on the floor of Neiman Marcus !! Austin is clealry the better designer?? – is the far better person to be in “the BUSINESS” – Austin if you are reading this –
    I am on your side my dear – YOU GO GET EM!!! YOUR DESIGNS ARE DIVINE!!!

  34. Norma says:

    Mondo is ok, Austin is good, but Michael designed clothes that all ages can wear! It’s time to realize that not every women is twenty and a size 2,

    • RyanD says:

      You mean the guy who was constantly criticised for designing for models, and how you couldn’t wear a bra with any of his outfits?

  35. ladyhelix says:

    My least favorite part of the show is the backbiting – so I did find solace in how well Michael did and how he was treated respectfully by most of his peers in this round.

    It heals a bit of the sting of the S8 ‘women behaving badly’!

    • D says:

      Yes. He seems to be a real teddy bear and those vipers on Season 8 almost tore him apart!

      • marjorie says:

        I agree with you. I hope they are ALL eating dust because he left them there. I love how with every thing they threw at him he stay true to his self. You go michael

  36. I think it’s completely silly that Michael didn’t win. I watched him every week thinking “Wow that’s stunning” and his collection was no different. He is the ONLY one who actually put together a collection instead of random looks. Really, really disappointed.

  37. Shel says:

    I felt Austin should have won. I am not UNhappy that Mondo won, because I do think he is a great designer and had been completely robbed in Season 8. I did not think Michael should win – not even sure he should have been in the Top 3, frankly. I liked both Mondo and Michael, personally, better in Season 8. Sure, maybe it was editing, but I don’t think so – not entirely. They were both much more self-absorbed and self-important and witchy during this show and it turned me off.

    Austin’s collection may not have been as “cohesive” as the others (by 2 looks IMO), but producing that wedding gown in four days alone was a triumph – a complete masterpiece. And, sorry, Mondo’s last dress did NOT look like it was a cohesive partner of his other looks – the judges even thought it was the “surprise” 6th outfit. And Michael’s was almost too cohesive – and I found it interesting that the dress I really liked (the very fitted one) was actually sewn by his assistant.

    I absolutely was disappointed with All Stars by the end. I liked a lot of the designers, but not all of them were All-Star-worthy. Rami never should have gone home when he did. But, there were some amazing fashions and some really great, imaginative challenges. So, what went wrong? I think it was the judges and mentor. At the beginning I thought, “Oh, new judges, new perspective, this might be really interesting.” But…it wasn’t. Within a few weeks, I was dying for Heidi, Tim, Michael and Nina. They are stars and were badly missed.

  38. I wanted Michael to win. I loved his collection and agreed that it was ready to go in the stores and out the doors. I must have missed the part that said it had to be a haute couture collection. In 4 days?!?! And there have been winners of Project Runway who have showed collections that lacked over the top drama. Need I mention Season 6′s Irina (the all black tshirts and pants collection)? And what happened to her? She looked really thin. I hope she is well.

  39. sybl says:

    Never got all the praise for Michael. He’s good at jersey ready to wear. I thought this show was about fashion.

    I’ve always felt that Mondo is the best designer I’ve ever seen on the show of every season, and that he was robbed in his first appearance. I thought Austin did some great work if you like that baroque style he prefers, but I’m glad that this show was essentially created to correct a grievous wrong done to Mondo. Good for him. Hope he’s a great success. He ought to be.

  40. Pennagirl says:

    Michael, Mondo and Austin. In that order. Michael’s collection most women could wear. Mondo’s collection was too tight…I love how the judges always harped on Michael’s clothing only being for models. Yet Mondo’s was the same.

  41. Pennagirl says:

    Mondo was going to win as soon as the public was given the participants list.

  42. Carolyn Turnbull says:

    I am such an austin fan. i feel he got robbed by the omarosa-type machinations of that otherwise forgettable designer who CLEARLY cu up her own daughter’s pic in season1. so he wuz robbed again. i thought mondo’s creative collection was no more cohesive than austin’s. perhaps they flipped a coin. sorry michael…. have no idea how you even got to #3!