Before we knew it, there was Heidi in the Lincoln Center tent, decked out in a…uh…bright red suit and squeaking “hello everybody!” Gretchen was first. Dressed in a sheer black dress that advertised a big ol' pair of granny panties (foreshadowing!), she shed some tears and said her collection was called “Running Through Thunder.” Hmm, thought I, as the looks made their way into my vision. “Sleeping Through Thunder” or “Stumbling Aimlessly Through a Tornado and Covering Yourself With Whatever Debris You Happen to Encounter” have a nice ring to them, too.
Andy was next. He wore a version of those atrosh Jackie O raver pants that almost got him booted all those weeks ago. What else to say about Andy? Well…how about…A for effort? While there were some pretty details in his collection and he tailored it all perfectly, overall, I found it to be monochromatically muted and uninspiring. The clothes were neither hip nor innovative. They had none of the edge that Andy wielded so easily in previous challenges. Did he kill off the warrior woman? The happy-ending tea hostess too? (Oooh... maybe they killed off each other?) And good gawd were those deely bopper headdresses distracting. Andy made a good showing, but not good enough. I sure wasn’t surprised when the judges took about 10 seconds to agree that he was out.
Mondo was the last of the three to present in the tents. When he came out and thanked his family, the camera cut to his parents sitting in what looked like the third row. Huh? Gretchen and Andy’s families get front row and Mondo’s posse doesn’t? Odd. He dedicated his Day of the Dead-influenced collection to his grandmother (aww…). And when the show was over, there seemed to be a consensus from spectators (including Betsey Johnson, natch) that Mondo was the strongest. Victory ahoy!
But then came the judging. After the Holy Trinity, plus guest judge Jessica Simpson, bade Andy farewell, they got down to that tough decision. Despite a few tepid reservations about Gretchen’s lack of bold color and underwhelming choice for a first look, Nina proved to be the designer’s most vocal fan. She praised Gretchen for turning up the volume with the styling and cooed over a number of pieces — including these patchwork pants that I thought were jank. MK also chimed in on the pro-Gretchen chorus, raving about the relaxed elegance or something or other in her proliferation of brown and burnt orange.
Meanwhile, Heidi and Jessica held fast in Mondo’s corner. Frau Klum loved the black polka dot dress that closed Mondo’s show, the bedazzled skull t-shirt, and oversized tunic dress. (Neither of the latter two were my faves.) Everyone seemed to agree the first look (my favorite) and the strapless plaid dress were divine. But then Nina and MK started pouring on the haterade. Tag-teaming, they contended that Mondo’s collection was too teenager-y, too costume-y, too circus-y. They complained he didn’t listen to them about toning down the kooky playfulness. They claimed he needed to learn to edit. To grow. To develop more sophistication. MK said he could have used a black dress — the very thing that Mondo decided not to present.
NEXT: Heidi goes down swinging wildly.