Season 15 Premieres September 15 at 9/8c

Nick Verreos' Blog

Positive Tears of Fashion

By Tracy_Goldenberg 10/01/2010 05:00AM GMT

Hello, "Project Runway" kiddies: I am in the midst of finishing up my NIKOLAKI Spring 2011 Collection, which — along with my design partner David Paul — we will debut at tonight's fabulous 3rd Annual Style Week Orange County. But even all the alterations, fittings and last-minute craziness couldn't stop me from watching this week's "Project Runway"!

Get the Kleenex Out
Well, hope you had the box of Kleenex out, because this was a MAJAH tearjerker of an episode. Amongst all the usual "Project Runway" shenanigans: a new challenge, surprise guests and more Gretchen "Two Cents" critiques, we had a HUGE revelation from one of the contestants, my little darling Latin Urkel, Mondo Guerra. So shall we just get started?

Custom Print-a-Thon!
There are seven designers left, and Heidi Klum lets them know that they will be "starting from scratch" for their next challenge. Ummm, OK. Can you tell me more? Nope. But Tim Gunn will. Back at the Parsons Workroom, the designers find that there are HP computers set up with childhood photos of themselves. Monsieur Gunn is there with Executive Director of HP Global Marketing, Traci Tracta (she's kind of fabulous!), who tells the contestants that for this challenge, they will be designing their own fabric to make their next Runway Creation: Yes, they have brought back the HP Design-Your-Own-Fabric Challenge, Tim reminds them. I am not a fan of the let's-rehash-old-challenges, but…I am fine with this one because really, it's kinda cool (did I just sound like a 15-year-old Justin Bieber fan?).

Mondo Comes Out
The contestants begin to work with their HP TouchSmart Technology Computers while viewing old photos, which brings back personal pain, struggles and inner issues. Nicole Bobek April talks about her parents' divorce, Gretchen is influenced by her Southwest upbringing, Christopher has San Francisco on his mind, and Mondo, well, he tells us about his difficult coming-out story and that he has been holding a secret for 10 years; he is HIV-positive. Say what? Yep. Oh dear, you just know what's coming after a few commercials (get that box o' Kleenex ready!).

Mommy and Boyfriend Heaven
View more photos from this episodeCut to Tim Gunn returning to the workroom, saying that he has some "special guests": The designers' MOMs! Gretchen was scared that her mom would not be able to show up since she said she was rather incapacitated and had no "means" to get to NYC. But of course, she was there. Also there was Michael Costello's son, who looked like a "Mini-Me" of him — along with Mommy Costello. Cutie Christopher was the only one who was "Mom-less": His partner came in lieu of Mommy Christopher, who was not available for the "will-you-fly-from-SF-to-NY-Economy-Class-for-your-son-to-be-on-TV" request, I guess. Thanks, Lifetime, for keeping that man-on-man kiss. Well, of course, the tears of joy began flowing like a monsoon in Bangladesh. Tim tells the designers that he will suspend the workday so they can spend quality (TV) time with their loved ones.

One-Afternoon Turnaround?
Sorry to sound like such a jaded "Reality Show" been-there-done-that contestant, but ... of course they gave them the day off: The fabric company needed that time to produce the darn fabric that they just created the print for! One-day turnaround is REALLY CRAZY. Trust me. It is UNHEARD of! I wonder if they actually got to spend more than just an afternoon with their loved ones. If it was truly just an afternoon, I need to get the name and address of that printing company, ASAP!!!

Gretchen's Critique Corner Is BAAACK!
The following day (I think!), Tim makes his visit and surveys the designers: April tells Tim that her print is divorce-ridden, and he suggests to "step away from the emotions," and Andy South is in a "Memory Bubble," struggling to focus (uh-oh!). In addition to Tim, we also have Miss Gretchen and her "Critique Corner" telling us what else is wrong with everyone's creations. Gotta love her (not so much!).

Latin Urkel Wins Again!
It's Runway Day, and the GORGEOUS Rachel Roy is on hand. I just LOVE Rachel Roy. I host TONS of Macy's events and I just can't get enough of her line: She has that Contemporary market NAILED. On the good end of the runway show are April, Gretchen and Mondo. During the judging, Nina Garcia tries to push Mondo to ESSSPLAIN what the story behind his print was (I have a feeling she knew!). He finally "comes out" and admits to being HIV-positive to everyone, which leads to the designers (and myself) succumbing to a hyperventilating flow of tears. He wins (of course!) with his oh-so-flawless pants — that mitering of the "positive" print, as well as the fit, was impeccable! Even without his "coming out" story, the minute I saw his look come out on the runway, I knew he HAD to be the winner! Congrats, Miss Mondo! Once again. Can you say "Finalist"!!!

View Mondo Guerra's design portfolioBye, Andy … Oooops, I'm Wrong — Again!
And now to the bottom: Christopher's was BA-BA-Boring and dated-looking. When your outfit looks like something Barbara Walters might wear on "The View," it is time to reassess your design strategy. But Valerie's and Andy's were definitely worse. Andy's gray print was not fashion-forward, and the entire styling/ensemble reminded me of a tacky girl at 2 am on Hollywood Boulevard. He should have gone home! But the judges chose Valerie and her (as Michael Kors described) "bad ice-skating costume" as the one to be sent home. Well, once again, I disagree with the judges. It should have been Andy. I know that they say that, for each challenge, the judges look at the outfit in front of them and NOT their past creations, but I doubt it. Because this is the SECOND time Andy gets away with a REAL mess of an outfit (hello, remember those cameltoe pants!?). I just wish the judges would "play fair" and be a little more consistent and, heck, truthful.

Team Mondo
In the end, the superb taste of Mondo's "Coming Out" scene overrides the Why-Is-Andy-Not-Gone Argument. This was a great episode — it was so "For Your Consideration, Emmy Voters" and yes, a major Get-Your-Kleenex-Out Moment. For a hot fashionable minute it made me forget all the unnecessary drama. Uncle Nick "hearts" you, Mondo. I did back at the casting and I still do now.