October 21, 2013 8:00am PT by Mondo Guerra
Mondo Guerra's Take on 'Project Runway': Season 12 Crowns a Winner
You can almost smell the hairspray and feel the adrenaline backstage as the four finalists make last-minute touches to their NYFW collections. It gives me goose bumps just thinking about it.
After they completed their "Tide Washable Fashion" looks and received final advice from Tim Gunn, there's no more time for second-guessing. The Lincoln Center stage is set. The judges, with guest Kerry Washington, are waiting.
All the hard work, all the sacrifice, comes down to this moment. For Justin, Dom, Bradon and Alexandria, it's show time.
Justin's collection showed that you don't have to be loud to make a big statement. His minimal, soft architectural looks were also very modern and feminine. It was cohesive and told a unique story. Justin clearly has passion and vision.
I loved his first look and finale gown and I'm crazy about the 3D-printed accessories. However, Nina Garcia said she wished Justin had shown just two more outfits that had a "wow" factor. It's a tough call, with his clean, crisp aesthetic, to introduce too many elements and remain true to himself as a designer. One thought -- maybe if he had put touches of his unconventional finale gown materials throughout the collection, it would have been more dynamic. Built a crescendo, if you will.
A beautiful, polished exciting collection. Really lovely.
I'm all about Dom's fearless use of color and print. It's something I really respond to. She pushed herself and showed us her vibrant, elevated side. And I loved what I saw. She achieved the "retro-futurism" she was aiming for and captured my imagination.
I particularly liked her printed plastic touches. She transformed a common material into something refined and eye-catching. I love when designers play with different textures. And Dom's finale gown? A knockout. Hard to believe it's hardware and screen. It looks like elegant armor.
I did agree with Zac Posen that the bathing suit was the least successful look. Something about the cut of it wasn't the most flattering. I would have loved to see a plastic coat dress in the silhouette of Dom's avant-garde challenge.
An exuberant show with tons of impact and appeal.
I cringed when Bradon's model spilled coffee on his dress. But the show must go on and he kept his poise and "made it work."
Bradon's collection surprised me. He showed some exquisite pieces. The "coffee-spilled" floral dress and the blue ombre' gown were beautiful. I loved his shorts and jackets too. He took a risk with his opening look and got mixed reactions from the judges. I got the concept but the silhouette seemed out of place within this collection.
Nina said Bradon's collection seemed "disjointed." I think that cohesion was his Achilles' heel, too. For me, the collection also read on the mature side. Not a bad thing, necessarily. Just not what I'm used to seeing from Bradon.
Alexandria von Bromssen
Out of all the designers, I think Alexandria knows her girl the best. I like that her designs are tough but also very soft and feminine. And I appreciate all of the details and nuances she put into her garments. The Lincoln Center crowd applauded her opening look made out of phone books. It was a real showstopper.
The judges all wanted to wear pieces from Alexandria's collection. For the most part, it was cohesive. The collared vest paired with the ruffle-y skirt seemed out of place, though. Probably because it was the only hint of color in the collection. But her materials look rich and easy to wear. She has an eye for quality.
Love the hats. Showing separates was smart, too. This is a cool girl with good taste. Alexandria poured herself into this collection and made clothes that women want to wear.
The Judges' Decision
After a tough deliberation, the judges named Dom Streater the winner of Project Runway season 12!
(Yay for the judges choosing print and color!)
Mondo's Last Word
Tim Gunn wasn't putting it lightly when he said it was anybody's game. The four finalists each showed incredible work and very distinct points of view. But there can only be one winner.
Dom's victory was well-deserved. Not only does she create fun, sophisticated designs, her qualities of character are -- in a word -- adorable. She worked hard and stayed humble throughout the competition and her collection hit the mark. I'm thrilled for her and can't wait to see more.
Of course, it's not news that I was rooting for Justin. But as his mother shared after the judges' decision, he competed with integrity and grace and the whole country fell in love with him. Not a bad consolation prize! I have a feeling we'll be seeing more from Justin.
It's been an incredible season with major talent and major drama. Thank you, readers, for staying tuned with me each step of the way. Congratulations to Dom and congratulations to all of the season 12 designers.
Project Runway All Stars champ Mondo Guerra is back to dish on the designs and drama of Project Runway season 12. His exclusive collection of eyewear with national optical boutique SEE hits stores this fall. He has also partnered with Merck for "I Design," a national HIV/AIDS education campaign that underscores the importance of patients tailoring treatment goals with their doctors. To learn more about Mondo, visit mondoguerra.com.