Mondo, Gretchen or Andy?

Project Runway's dirty little secret

Project Runway's dirty little secret

News_Project Runway_Michael Costello_Oct 2010
Michael Costello was on the runway during fashion week. Courtesy of Lifetime
News_Project Runway_Mondo Guerra_Oct 2010
I think Mondo Guerra will win it all - even if his collection is a little too pop-arty. Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz
News_Project Runway_Andy South_bathing suit_Oct 2010
This outfit from Andy South is a little too Las Vegas, but the rest of his collection was more sophisticated. Courtesy of Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz
News_Project Runway_Gretchen Jones_Oct 2010
Gretchen Jones zzzzzzzzzz
News_Project Runway_Andy South_Oct 2010
Andy South Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz
News_Project Runway_Michael Costello_Oct 2010
News_Project Runway_Mondo Guerra_Oct 2010
News_Project Runway_Andy South_bathing suit_Oct 2010
News_Project Runway_Gretchen Jones_Oct 2010
News_Project Runway_Andy South_Oct 2010

On last week's episode of Project Runway, Michael Costello dissolved into shrieking sobs when he found out he had narrowly missed the opportunity to show his collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

Judges Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and Heidi Klum instead chose glum Gretchen Jones, whose granola-influenced earth mother collection looked far inferior, as the third designer to vie with Mondo Guerra and Andy South in tonight's season ender of the still-addictive reality series.

It was riveting — and increasingly embarrassing — TV as Costello continued to weep 'n wail that he wouldn't get to realize his dream of showing at fashion week.

But on the day that Project Runway filmed its fashion week finale last month, Costello was front and center — along with Michael D., Casanova, Ivy, Christopher, Valerie, and April — all who had been kicked off weeks before.

Even though tonight's finale makes it look like only the final three contestants showed their collections at fashion week, 10 out of 17 of this season's contestants saw their styles parade down the runway in front of hundreds of spectators, including guest judge Jessica Simpson.

I have attended several Project Runway finales which featured three finalists — with a fourth one thrown in sometimes to confuse us. But as producers got mired in a messy dispute when they moved the show from Bravo to Lifetime, they increasingly got off schedule. Even though most of this season's shows had been filmed before fashion week arrived, the schedule was so out of synch that 10 designers remained at that point on the broadcast.

So all 10 pretended they had a chance at fashion week, even though only three knew they were finalists. It made for an interminably long fashion show that observers thought would never end.

The New York magazine website has photos of all the fashion week Project Runway contestants, including Costello's collection and those of the three finalists. It's fun to look at all of them and pick favorites. (Surprisingly, I liked mean girl  "Poison" Ivy Higa's collection a lot.)

Of those still in the running, Guerra's collection is a little too pop-arty and includes too many shorts and odd color combinations, but I predict he'll be the season winner over South's more sophisticated looks and Jones' snoozer styles.