After September's Project Runway finale show at Fashion Week, our best guess for the eventual winner was Valerie Mayen, whose rainbow-bright rompers and cocktail dresses looked too well made to be a bogey collection. So much for our psychic abilities: Valerie was eliminated weeks ago, leaving us with no horse in tonight's race. And although we have picked the eventual winner three seasons in a row — and did correctly call that Gretchen Jones and Andy South would make this final three — we are also the women who didn't think Christian Siriano, arguably the show's most talented alumnus to date, would win at all. Will our hot streak continue, or are we once again off our game? Please join us as we cross our fingers and lay odds on which of the three remaining designers has the goods to go all the way in tonight's finale. (Beware: If you haven't yet perused the collections of the final three, this post contains spoilers.)
Mondo Guerra: 5-1. When we saw this line in person at Lincoln Center, we admittedly didn't give it much consideration — the episodes where Mondo hit his hot streak hadn't aired on Lifetime yet, and without that perspective, his collection seemed like a bag of gumdrops on a Willy Wonka growth hormone: more in-your-face fanciful than genuinely delicious. Now that we can view it with the same context the judges had, we notice things we didn't before — like Mondo's genius at playing with patterns and his fearless eye for color. Unfortunately, his leggings and skull T-shirt look more like, say, a garish Katy Perry than a courageously glam Cate Blanchett. And his high-waisted pants don't fit as well as a similar pair he already made on the show — doubly problematic because those better-constructed trousers were the centerpiece of a moving and unforgettable episode in which Mondo revealed his HIV status, and thus will never be far from anybody's memories. Ultimately, we think this collection may not exhibit fashion vision as much as it simply provides cute examples of skills Mondo has deployed better in the past but we also think that his history of excellence, obvious talent, general overall awesomeness, and a lack of any real challenge from the other two will sway the judges in his favor.
Gretchen Jones: 8-1. Admittedly, we're not overly fond of Gretchen's aesthetic (although we like her more as a person than we did when the finale was filmed, at which point fan feelings toward her were probably at their nadir). For their part, the judges complained in the penultimate episode that the three-piece sample from Gretchen's collection was more clothes than fashion, and we doubt anything they'll see on the runway will change their minds. Gretchen's line is all flowy Southwestern patterns and funky jewelry and then a couple of randomly bare midriffs and three looks featuring grungy granny panties. For all the flack April Johnston took for making white diaper booty-shorts early on in the season, we can't fathom why Gretchen dipped into that well and emerged with dingy gray hot pants in search of a shanty to call home. However, she also made a few pieces that seem legitimately wearable, if not earth-shaking, and for the most part she cleaved safely to the aesthetic that got her to the finale. That just might be enough to squeak through — especially if the judges decide that Mondo's headpieces were too Carmen Miranda Goes to the Craft Fair.
Andy South: 12-1. Although we're enamored of Andy's new hair extensions, we're not entirely sure we feel as positively toward his Fashion Week collection. On one hand, he either completely reworked or replaced the swimsuit that he presented to the judges in the penultimate episode, to much better effect, and we love the green pleated cocktail dress he created as part of the challenge in the same episode. Unfortunately, both of those are far fresher and more modern than the rest of his line, which ended up skewing surprisingly old (even despite the sculpted metal antennae framing his models' faces). After all, do you know anyone under 65 who wears shiny green cigarette pants to lunch? Neither do we. And we all know that there is no harsher condemnation than Nina Garcia deeming something insufficiently modern. Hey, at least when he has to go home to regroup, he gets to do it in Hawaii. (For more from the Fug Girls, visit GoFugYourself.com)