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!Follow @MichaelSlezakTV