Season 8 was the first season of "Project Runway" that I got the opportunity to work on, so my love for Mondo Guerra is most definitely there, even if I haven't written him weekly love letters (okay, okay, or haikus) on this blog. On Friday afternoon, I finally got the chance to have a convo with Mondo — who I've admittedly been at events with for the past two years but am always too shy to chat up. While small in stature, the designer is intimidating in person, always wearing a super cool, crazy outfit, flanked by fabulously-dressed Gaga-lookalikes (his "Little Mondsters," he explains). But really, Mondo is one of the funniest, nicest people I've ever chatted with. Maybe it was because he admitted he was doing the interview in his underwear. Maybe he just really wanted a poem, but either way: my haiku for the deserving "PRAS" winner and below that, my interview with him.
of my grinning houndstooth-ed dreams,
next time I'll say hi!
Lisa Raphael: When all is said and done, what is the most exciting part about the win for you?
Mondo Guerra: One of the most exciting parts was being able to share the experience with Michael Costello.
Tell the fans a little bit more about your friendship — did doing "All Stars" together hurt or strengthen your relationship?
We talk or at least text each other every day! "All Stars" definitely strengthened our friendship. I mean, we were holding each other up throughout the season. I think people kind of got the impression that I was taking advantage of our friendship, but that isn’t the case. I really do value our friendship and Michael understands me quite a bit and I understand him. He understood that I had to take a step back and I wasn’t trying to be disrespectful to him or Austin, I just needed some space.
In one of the videos on myLifetime.com, you talk about the inspiration you get from people who send you letters. Where do you find that pick-me-up at that eleventh hour?
On this particular challenge, it just came from all that anxiety and depression and anger and not wanting to be in the competition. I took all of that negative energy and really applied it to something positive, which was the collection which came together really beautifully and I created this “therapy” with everything I was going through. Playing with the ink, and the Rorschach print and being able to do some more artistic stuff, it was very fitting and I think it came off really beautiful.
My favorite dress was the tight number with the Rorschach print on the front with the one red sleeve. Was there any significance with just the red peaking through on the sleeves of some of your looks? I really liked that detail.
Yeah, I had this idea to make it kind of clinical. This is a little morbid, but it was kind of like blood. You got that right? It was cool because initially I was going to put this blue color into it, like this grey-ish blue because it reminded me of walls in a clinic and the old chairs you sit in when you wait. But I ended up leaving that out. I thought it was really strong to be just three colors.
Yes! It was really cool and I bet having Mila there helped pull the black-white-red aesthetic together. I don’t know if you read her exit interview on the blog, but she brought up your friendship and how we didn't really get to see that on camera.
I didn’t read the exit interviews because I didn’t want to hear who the other designers wanted to win! [Laughs] Mila and I had a great friendship. I think they wanted to keep Mila as this cold, distant person and she’s actually not that person at all, she’s really fun! She’s very calm, and she’s very professional and she doesn’t have to put on a showcase to impress people because it’s not about her, it’s about her work.
I went to the finale runway and I knew who the top three were at the time and I knew your collection immediately when I saw it come out. I think anyone in the audience who saw knew it was you. Did you kind of see this as a continuation of your Season 8 Fashion Week collection?
The Rorschach dress was kind of a tribute to the original bubble dress I created for my Fashion Week collection in Season 8 — which I got a lot of sh*t for from the judges but the audience loved it.
But Heidi and Jessica Simpson both wore it.
Right, so it’s like whatever. You know who gave me the courage to go there? It was Georgina. She said, "You know, it’s okay to revisit places that you’ve been before." So there are definitely some things that can be recognized from past work.
Are we going to see a lot of your finale collection in the collection you're now working on for Neiman Marcus? Are we going to see your purses or other accessories?
Yeah, I think we’re definitely going to revisit some of the looks that we saw, at least similar silhouettes. The price points are a little bit more boutique-based but we are definitely putting in some items — I talked to Ken about how there should be some pieces in the collection that are a little more accessible, one size fits all. So bags, special-edition t-shirt because not all the fans and the lovers of fashion can afford a $150 skirt so we wanted to make something really accessible to that customer who wants something and takes part of that experience but can’t necessarily afford to pay the amount that it's marked at. So you’ll see some pieces like that. I mean, yes, the other pieces will definitely be "Mondo" — you’ll see a lot of print, there are going to be polka-dots again, as well as houndstooth and stripes. People have been asking for certain things and they like what they saw on the show so I’m kind of playing off of what I’ve already heard. As much as I’m doing it for myself, I’m doing it for the fans of "Project Runway" and the fans of my work.
Don't miss Mondo's video exit interview and view his portfolio of work from this season and past collections here! PLUS, stay tuned to the blog for exit interviews with Austin and Michael later this week!
I'm happy to inform everyone that we can officially add "throw awesome parties" to the list of things Nanette Lepore rocks at (on top of designing gorgeous, feminine frocks, being a wonderful guest judge, saving the Garment District, having beautiful hair). On last week's episode of "Project Runway All Stars," the NYC-based fashion designer hosted the episode challenge, which was for the four remaining designers to create a look within budget, using her fabric. The winning look would be sold in her stores, 100% of the profits going to the Save the Garment Center Organization.
To unveil the winning look, Nanette and her sweet staff hosted a live screening of the episode where four "Project Runway All Stars" designers were cut to the three that would make it to the finale. With the Final Four in attendance, you didn't know what to look at the television screen or Austin, Kenley, Michael and Mondo! Torn between my official Lifetime duties and my responsibilities as Austin Scarlett: The Scarlett Harlots Fan Club press secretary, I alternated between the two.
When "Project Runway" Season 8 runner-up Mondo Guerra was announced as the winner of the night's challenge, there was applause for him, and hugs for the show's 4th place finisher Kenley Collins. But the night's grand finale was yet to come, as the winning dress was showcased on models (including the designer's daughter!) and racks throughout the store. Mondo's dress and the alternating, luxe fabrics were gorgeous in person. Nanette even took a second to show me the two small changes she made to the dress including adding darts at the bust and a black tie in the back to give the garment more shape.
Visit Nanette Lepore's online store here to shop Mondo's winning dress! Due to super popular demand, the dress sold out instantly but you can now place an order and the dress is expected to ship out by May 15 just in time for summer, so what are you waiting for?! Order now!
How would you make the ultimate outfit with Mondo's dress for Nanette Lepore? I'm thinking neon wedge heels and a sparkly clutch for night of flirting-and-dancing or black gladiator sandals and a vintage leather satchel for day/brunch with my girls — are you with me?!
Photos by Mark Irlando (Thanks, Mark!!)
On the "Project Runway All Stars" Finale next Thursday, March 22, at 9 pm/8c, the top three All Stars will present their signature collections to a VIP Runway show crowd! But we wanted to give you, our biggest fans, a sneak peek from each designer to see what you can expect from their collection.
Peruse one piece from each designer below, and let us know from these sneak peeks who you think is going to take home the big prize!
Attention NYC “Project Runway All Stars” fans! Shop the styles of some of your favorite designers from this talent-packed season, including Kara Janx, Michael Costello, Jerell Scott, Mondo Guerra and Rami Kashou at this week's "PRAS" sample sale! All of the designers' creations are discounted up to 80% off, with prices starting at the low, amazingly affordable price of $25. The dress to the left is a Kara Janx frock that will be selling for $50 (original price $250!!). So, um, see you there?!
Who: Kara Janx, Michael Costello, Jerell Scott, Mondo Guerra and Rami Kashou
What: "Project Runway All Stars" Sample Sale
Where: 242 West 36th St (between 7th & 8th Aves)
New York, NY
When: Wednesday, March 14 at 11am – 6pm
Bonus: The All Stars themselves will actually be at the event, and nothing is better than a shopping party meet-and-greet with your favorite "Runway" stars!
Comment below or Tweet us pics with the threads you end up scoring at the sample sale!
Godspell Photo: Jeremy Daniel
We finally made it!! "Project Runway All Stars" premieres TONIGHT at 9 pm/8c on Lifetime! While you're watching (and voting for who you think should be the winner of tonight's challenge) live-tweet with "All Star" designers Austin Scarlett (@austinscarlett), Mondo Guerra (@lovemondotrasho) [West Coast only], Kara Janx (@karajanx) and judges Angela Lindvall (@angela_lindvall), Georgina Chapman (@marchesafashion) and Isaac Mizrahi (@isaacmizrahi), plus our "Runway" blogger pals Tom and Lorenzo (@tomandlorenzo) and the folks at Marie Claire (@marieclaire) .
We'll be live Tweeting from the official "Project Runway" account each week make sure to check back on the blog to see who'll be joining us. Click here for a complete list of the All Stars on Twitter!
Whose triumphant return are you most excited to see on tonight's "Project Runway All Stars" premiere?