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I Hate You with the Fire of a Thousand Suns

By Figgy | TV | November 1, 2010 |

By Figgy | TV | November 1, 2010 |

How do I even start this? Do I pretend like I’m not still being consumed by uncontrollable rage, that I’m not thinking of never watching the show again, that I’m not, in the words of just about every “PR” viewer in the world, done with the whole thing? Well, I can’t. You must know I was a fiercely biased viewer while watching the show and while writing this, though I’ll try my best to remain neutral—at least ‘til we get to the final judging. But let’s get on with it, because there’s a lot to cover and boy, do I have issues with the finale.

Previously, the judges toyed with Michael Costello one last time and sent him home, after making him their puppet for an entire season. Andy, Gretchen and Mondo got a pass to Fashion Week.

The designers awake and are dragged off to the Runway, where we find out that they’re being met by all the previously eliminated designers for a mini-reunion. In the first of what will be many irritating things about this episode, the reunion is pathetically short and non-violent. There’s really only one highlight: Heidi, fishing for drama asks the designers what it’s like to be recognized out there in the real world. The only good stuff that comes out of this is that Heidi ends up asking Gretchen what it’s like to be called a bitch, and Ivy and April finally call her out on her two-faced attitude to people, and she cries. It’s stupid, because you can tell she didn’t learn a damned thing. There’s a couple of short, boring montages and then it’s over. It truly was that pathetic. They clearly edited the hell out of it, but there was just nothing there. Why not give it its own half hour show and make the finale just an hour long? I don’t understand this stupid format at all.

The finalists go back to the workroom to finalize their collections. Tim comes in for consultations as the designers wonder how to take in the judges’ critiques from last week. Gretchen, for example, decides to listen to the judges and style her girls in the exact way that they told her to, even though it goes against her aesthetic. Smart move. She also tells Tim that she’s taking out the sack dress from last week, because she thinks the judges thought it was too casual—wait, how is any of her stuff not casual? Mondo doesn’t seem willing to change anything, because he believes that his looks are complete and really show his point of view. He shows Tim a fairly plain black gown that he was putting in the show but that he’s now taking out in favor of the 11th look he made, and Tim tells him it’s a good idea. Take note of that. Andy shows Tim a couple of bathing suits he’s made, and how he’s taking out the one he showed last week in favor of this braided thing that Tim says looks like there’s hair growing out of her crotch. Oh, goodness, it does. More like tumors, but the point is that it’s just ugly.

The designers do their hair and makeup consultations, and Andy makes the bad decision to keep in his stupid, silly-looking headbands. Then they have model fittings and it’s all very unexciting.

The designers chill at home and talk about how exciting it is to be there. Didn’t we go through this last week? There’s tears, fears, and I am just very bored.

They finally leave for Lincoln Center, and we’re now 2 hours away from the show. Mondo’s list of models has been messed up somehow and he’s freaking out a little bit, but he looks cute and these things always work out anyway. We see celebrity guests, including crazy Betsey Johnson, and Anthony.Jessica Simpson, our guest judge, looks horrible. She needs to fire her stylist. And as much as I hate that she’s the guest judge (because let’s face it, she knows nothing about fashion and always dresses horribly) I do think she’s a cute girl. But she just looks awful. She does turn out to be a decent judge, but still, Jessica Simpson is the best this show could do? I think it’s just another sign of how much this show has gone down in quality.

Heidi comes out in a cute salmon-colored suit. Very nice. She lies that she got attached to the designers, and she starts the show. I’ll do it like this: a quick rundown of each look (in case you need reminding), and a summary at the end. By the way, the notes on each look are what I wrote down as I watched, so I honestly haven’t changed anything based on the end results.

Gretchen is up first, and she’s wearing black short shorts under a see-through skirt. Ick. She gets all choked up about having her mom there. Her collection is called “Running Through Thunder,” which just sounds ridiculous to me.

1) Grey bloomers, grey mid-riff baring top, multi-colored jacket that looks like an oil spill, and one of her oversized, ugly, crafty necklaces. I like the hair on the model, but that’s about it. Those panties are truly hideous and I have no idea who would buy them or why.

2) A flowing dress in a brownish print that’s not too bad. I admit it’s quite pretty, but doesn’t look terribly expensive or like it took a lot of work to make. The bag is ugly.

3) Ick. It’s one of her patented two-toned leggings in grey and shiny leather. I hated these every time she did them on the show and these are the worst I’ve seen. The top is in the same fabric as the previous dress, and it’s kind of shapeless. The combination of colors is just terrible.

4) Then there’s a very 70s pair of high-waisted pants, and a simple oil-spill top. It’s just ugly pants and a top. That’s it.

5) A shirtdress and booty shorts in dirty gray, paired with ugly flats. This is putting me to sleep.

6) She has another flowy printed summer dress that looks almost exactly like the second one, but shorter, uglier, and with that horrible tail-thing on it that looks like a hammock. On your butt. I don’t get that at all.

7) The leather-coat that looks like plastic, paired with more ugly bloomersa. That thing is so horrible and I do not understand how Nina Garcia loved it. What the hell is it even supposed to be? A raincoat? Trashbag?

8) Cropped pants and a small top in a boring print. The whole thing is very 70s and completely dated and unexciting. There’s nothing there that we haven’t seen before.

9) Shiny leather shorts that again, look like garbage bags, paired with a flowy top in yet another ugly brown print.

10)Possibly the ugliest look of all: a flowy printed dress in a shit-brown color with a monstrosity of a leather bodice and a cut-out back. I do not get this dress, other than it’s just plain ugly and old-looking.

I feel like I just watched the Ugly-Anthropologie Collection, or a show for a catalogue called “Indians of the Canyon”. I don’t think the styling was very good at all, aside form the big hair. The one dress was nice, and maybe some of the tops, but overall it was very drab and decidedly boring. It wasn’t a big show at all, and some pieces were downright ugly. I can see someone buying her clothes, but there was just no high fashion on that runway.

Andy is next. Before we cut there’s a big laugh over something? Anyone know what that was? Anyway, Andy comes out wearing gigantic parachute pants like he wanted to do for Jackie Kennedy. Oh, Andy. Love your hair, though.

1) It’s kind of a short jumpsuit, with nicely pleated pants in a metallic gray with a weirdly-shaped vest in his swampy pea-green shiny fabric. I loved the pants, but hated the vest, and that fabric is a bit strange in color.

2) ) Second is a more muted look of dark grey pants and a very boring top. This one honestly surprised me, because it’s so very basic and just flat-out plain. And paired with the silly headdress, it just looks a bit ridiculous for a runway show.

3) Third is a gray pair of pants, a flowy top and a cropped jacket. Come on, Andy. Three gray looks one right after the other? And just the most basic, flat shapes and silhouettes? This is terribly disappointing.

4) Next is green pants and a top in a sheer gray fabric. I liked the use of the green here, but the proportions in the shorts are weird.

5) His tumor-like bathing suit comes out, accompanied by a big flowy robe. The color is surprisingly boring and the shape of the bathing suit is just weird.

6) Third is a very basic grey dress with some fringe, that we later find out is actually little chains. It’s a very cute, sexy dress, but extremely plain. I think it would have worked if the rest of the collection had been very over-the-top, but next to everything else it’s just a snoozefest.

7) Gray pants in a fabric that honestly just looks like pajama fabric, and a cute little ruffled blouse that actually has some shape. I don’t know why he did so many ugly pants.

8) The ruffled shirt and draped shorts that we saw last week.

9) Long green pants and a weaved-top. I hate the color of the pants (when would you wear something in that bright a color?) but what’s interesting here is that there was a big controversy over the shirt. Apparently it looks exactly like one found in a Japanese pattern book, and people were wondering if it was considered cheating. Could this be that cheating comment that we saw Heidi make in the previews? It’s never addressed in the judging, so, maybe. I don’t think it’s a very pretty blouse, anyway.

10) Last is his 11th look, his green dress that looks like a shiny lettuce.

Well, I was definitely disappointed in Andy. Gone were all the structure, the hard, exciting silhouettes we had seen from him before. He had some nice pieces, but overall the collection was too monotonous, specially when it came to his use of color. The headbands were ridiculous and he should have scrapped them entirely. Mondo was right: there was no volume or texture to his clothes, and everything looked very flat. I think he was definitely hurt by having to make everything in two weeks. I was really looking forward to his collection, but this could have been one of the decoys. Too bad.

Mondo is last, but definitely not least. The crowd goes a little crazy over him, and who can blame them? He says he was inspired by his Mexican heritage. He really does look adorable in his little suit and fancy hair.

1) One of the looks he showed in his mini-collection—the shirt and polka-dot top with the bits of pink showing through. She’s carrying a truly awesome bag that I covet.

2) Shiny silver shorts paired with a beautiful little cropped sweater in a black-and-white pattern. There’s a bright blue belt and more color popping out in the headbands, which really do look gorgeous this time around, because everything looks much more sophisticated.

3) Third is a little wackadoo, but very cool—some patterned leggings and a huge shirt with a skull-clown that has a lot of shiny stuff attached to it. I love both the idea and the execution, and the pairing of the garments is kind of perfect. I also like how the herringbone pattern looks like Space Invaders, but that’s just me.

4) It’s the pixel-skirt and bright teal sweater look from last week. I still think the top looks a little strange (particularly near the armpits), but I love that skirt and the pops of yellow and pink here and there.

5) Next is my favorite: a sleeveless dress with a big bubble skirt in a square pattern, paired with fishnet tights. It’s a gorgeous look, specially with the little pink belt, and the headband is definitely perfect for it.

6) This one I didn’t quite like: high-waisted black shorts (which are nice) and a top with bright, shiny big sequins attached. It looks a little like a piñata, but I can definitely see someone wearing them.

7) Seriously high-waisted pants, a cute-sequined t-shirt and a little black jacket that seems a bit strange. She looks like a high-fashioned circus ringleader. With chola earrings. It’s really too much, this one, but the separates are nice, except for the pants. But I think even they could be easily translated into a ready-to-wear look.

8) A top in his oversized polka dot pattern paired with a grey metallic skirt. I love that top, because the pattern definitely works here and isn’t as extreme as the gown.

9) Gorgeous tunic dress in pink, black, silver and blue. It’s very geometric, and the combination of colors is just beautiful. I can see a million girls fighting over that dress.

10) The polka-dot gown from last week, completely unchanged.

I’m not gonna lie: I loved this collection. It’s what I’ve always loved about this show: big, colorful fashion turned into a spectacle. There were some beautiful, wearable pieces and gorgeous separates. The styling was over-the-top, but it accented his looks and hell, it’s supposed to be a show and to be a little ridiculous. I think he’s the only one of the three (and maybe the only one this season) who really understood what it meant to put on a show. No one else but him should win. Which, of course…just…OK I’ll wait for that.

Betsey Johnson loved Mondo’s collection, of course. Then they interview Jay Manuel from America’s Next Top Model, which just makes me sick to my stomach because no one in their right mind should ask this clown about fashion. Ever. Another sign of end times for this show.

And now, the judging. Get ready, because this is by far the longest judging, and definitely the longest discussion by the judges, that we’ve ever seen. And, well, it’s infuriating beyond belief. But let’s take it one step at a time.

Andy tells the judges that his inspiration was the Buddha Park in Laos. Kors liked that he used something so personal, and didn’t fall into the Asian-costume pit that could have happened, but he didn’t feel that there wasn’t a lot of diversity in his collection (very true). They all love his 11th look the best, which I think is a problem, because he did that almost as an afterthought. Nina says that she feels that someone took over him because Andy was lost in the collection. I completely agree. Jessica liked the boring fringey dress.

Gretchen. Nina says she did a fantastic job and she liked the prints (really?) and that she had a lot of nice separates. She liked the hideous leggings (REALLY? WHY!) , and that it all looked very usable and ready-to-wear. For someone, I guess. Mostly she likes that Gretchen listened to their advice on the styling. Oh, great, so let’s give her the win. Ugh. Kors says that he liked the vibe of the girl, that it was relaxed and easy. He didn’t like the leather, but loved the jewelry. Again, really? Heidi liked the feel of the show, but that it was a little monotonous with the prints. Jessica says that the garments wouldn’t really pop in a department store, and I agree. But I think they’d look perfectly at home at a very specific sort of store—one of those foofy “outdoor” types where a ‘rancher jacket’ costs $1800 and the point is to look like a really rich hobo.

Mondo. Kors says that it was very Mondo: eye catching and dramatic. Heidi loved the balance of quiet and loud, and specially loved the tunic dress and the big skull shirt. Nina liked the cohesiveness of it: his colors, his prints, his showmanship. But that she says that it was a bit overwhelming in the mix of pieces and maybe a little juvenile. Pshaw. Jessica says that his personality showed through: that it was different, unique and exciting. Heidi and Jessica both want to wear that polka-dot dress, but Heidi wonders though why he picked it again when Nina and Kors weren’t crazy about it. This is where Mondo is doomed, I think: He didn’t listen to Nina and Kors. It’s ridiculous and absurd, but there you go. Kors says that he needed a plain black dress to break up the color—like the one he discarded because it would’ve looked totally out of place. These people. Ugh.

The judges deliberate. They like three pieces out of Andy’s, but…they don’t really mention anything else. Jessica says that maybe he was playing it safe. Very true. Nina says that there were no ANDY pieces and Jessica wonders if the judges scared him. Kors finally says that the headpieces were silly looking, and that there was no oomph. Heidi flat out says that they all agree that Andy is out. That sucks for Andy, and I think he should’ve gotten at least more discussion. Those bastards.

Heidi says that she really likes Gretchen as a designer, and Nina likes that Gretchen really knows what she wants, and that her clothes are trendy. Really? Even I, who know nothing about fashion, know that those things aren’t trendy at all. They’re the kind of clothes that are always around somewhere, but modern? Hell, no. Kors really likes that she listened to them. They mention that a lot, and I think that this is when my heart sank, because they (Kors and Nina, anyway) were praising her far too much. Just ridiculous overpraising.

Heidi really likes the fun Mondo has with clothes, and Nina calls him extremely creative. And that’s not good enough for you? Kors wonders if he’s at the pint where he knows how to edit, but Heidi thinks he had a wonderful mix of over-the-top and wearable. Heidi says that they DID encourage the prints and the loudness during the show but Nina and Kors get snippy and say that they told him to tone it down. They’re both right, which just shows that these people are always contradicting themselves. Nina says he didn’t listen to her. Don’t be so damn petulant, Garcia. Didn’t you adore him last week?

Kors says the question is which one is new? Jessica wonders if Gretchen’s just gonna be Ready to Wear stuff, and Nina adamantly says that that’s fine! Wearable is fine! BUT NINA. Since when has that been the point of this show?! Since when has it been OK to make it to the finals and WIN by making “sellable” clothes?! What is going on here! Nina is outright fighting with Heidi over the jewelry how she wants to SELL clothes and Gretchen’s would sell. So would Mondo’s! What the hell is she talking about? And again: SINCE WHEN has this been the point of this show?! When did “sellable” become a winning point?

Heidi says that they shouldn’t pick someone just because their clothes would sell , Nina says that she WANTS TO SELL CLOTHES and Heidi says—Argh. Here’s the point: Heidi is right and Nina is wrong and they are making me furious. Why is Heidi making so much sense and why is Nina being such a hideous monster? Ugh, Nina calls this the ‘cousin’ collection to Seth Aaron’s. BULLSHIT. Also: When the fuck did that even begin to matter?! And, didn’t you give Seth Aaron the win only SIX MONTHS AGO? For putting on a big show? Guys, I’m beating my head against the desk right now. Kors gets on Nina’s side and then sounds like a total idiot saying that she is on trend but doing something different. That doesn’t even make any sense. I had to pause the show here because I was so damn furious. I could not believe this shit. I knew then that Gretchen was going to win for doing something that is supposedly “on trend”, thus not innovative in any way, shape or form, because suddenly this show stopped being about the next great designer and became about the one Who Will Fit in Now. No. Fuck you, Nina and Kors. You’re so wrong it hurts.

Kors even makes some bizarre comparison to himself and John Galliano—one puts on a show and the other makes incredibly basic boring shit. Well, I said that. The point here seems to be that Kors is jealous of John fucking Galliano, which is just ridiculous. And for that, he’s going to give Gretchen the win. And Nina Garcia? Who the hell knows. She just wants to sell magazines with hideous, boring editorials in them, I guess. This is just ugly, absurd and horrible to watch. At one point Kors SCREECHES at Jessica to “read a magazine!” and Jessica looks like she wants to slap him. I can’t believe I’m siding with Jessica Simpson. I’ll never forgive this show for that.

Heidi says, in a very stern German voice, that she LIKES Gretchen’s clothes but that they’re not exciting. That’s exactly it. Jessica says that she’s sticking with Mondo. But, unfortunately, Jessica Simpson has no real clout in this panel. It’s the magazine editor and the pathetic second-tier designer. Nina says that yes, Mondo’s very exciting, extremely creative, extremely fun—but you’re not gonna give him the win because he didn’t listen to you? Jesus, this is absurd. Heidi points out that it seems to her that they’re damming him for everything they praised him for the whole season, which is ABSOLUTELY true, but Kors and Nina just stay petulant and refuse to budge. Heidi says that both she and Jessica would wear the polka dot dress. Nina taunts “I WANT TO SEE YOU WEAR THE POLKA DOT DRESS, KLUM” and bitch is gonna get a stiletto to the head. This is fucking exhausting, and while I agree with Jessica that it’s fun to watch them fight, it’s so infuriating that I don’t even care.

Heidi asks if they’re looking for the next couture designer, or someone who will do ready-to-wear? well, that’s the big question here, isn’t it? And I always thought that this show was about the first, and that is why this kills me.

Anyway. The designers come out on stage. Andy is dismissed pretty quickly, and Gretchen is given the win. I don’t think I’m exaggerating here: this is the death-toll for this show. I mean, good for Gretchen. She’s gonna get some much-needed money. But this is just flat-out ridiculous.

Look. Gretchen isn’t a bad designer. I hate her aesthetic, yes, but she makes clothes that people will wear and she can sew. But she’s not the next great fashion designer at all. Mondo is. Mondo has vision, creativity, fun with fashion. Which are all praises that were sung by the judges, by the way. But they didn’t give him the win because…well, I still don’t get it. It came down to Nina Garcia completely turning around on him, hating him because he didn’t listen to her, and because in some deluded part of her brain she thought his clothes wouldn’t sell.

And just the fact that this show has turned from giving the win to the most exciting designer of the bunch, to what could be considered the safest? It’s ridiculous, and it goes against everything that this show had claimed to be in the past. Hell, it goes against everything the judges had said this season. Plus it’s terribly unfair that this wonderful, talented designer was given the ax because, basically, Michael Kors wants to beat John Galliano and sell more clothes. But I don’t understand how Gretchen will help them do it. That collection was middle-of-the-road at best. Look at those individual pieces—do they look like they belong on a PR finale runway?

I just don’t know, guys. I’m still angry and disappointed for Mondo. I feel bad that Gretchen is almost universally hated right now, but there’s a reason for that. Everyone wanted Mondo to win—though please tell me if I’m wrong about that. I’ve spent hours looking through every blog on the show and the commenters have been entirely on Mondo’s side. Do I hate Gretchen? Not really. I think she was just a one-note, completely forgettable designer, even with all her pathetic trash talking. No, I hate the judges more, and the show for bringing her so far. And I think I might be done with the whole thing now. If this is the direction the show is going, I don’t want to go with it. And if Tim Gunn doesn’t come back? There’s no reason for me to do so.

So, it’s been fun recapping this, and I’ll definitely miss it and the comments. See you next season, maybe!

Figgy is a displaced Honduran living in Dallas, TX, and she wants you to make it work.. You can read more of her ramblings at her blog or follow her on twitter.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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