Mondo Guerra's Take on 'Project Runway': Fashion Week or Bust

The "All Stars" champ critiques the designers' collections heading into Fashion Week.
Tim Gunn raises a glass with the final five designers of season 12.

New York Fashion week is so close, the remaining contestants can almost taste it. But for one designer, it was a bittersweet departure. 

Tim Gunn made home-visits with each of the semi-finalists to check on their collections.  And then the competition intensified as three of them battled to join Bradon and Dom on the big runway.

The Collections

Last week Alexandria, Helen and Justin didn't quite convince the judges they deserved a place at NYFW, so they each got a chance to show what they could do with more time.

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Alexandria von Bromssen

Alexandria kept her nose to the grindstone and created at least 30 garments for her collection which she called "Neo Nomadic Punk."  Heidi Klum said she "absolutely loved" her looks and wanted all of them.  Nina Garcia said they looked flat and Zac Posen said that while it had a luxe quality, the collection needed more impact for the runway.


Helen Castillo

Helen tried to communicate vision with her collection, inspired by clairvoyance.  Nina liked her LBD but said her dress in the print seemed "tortured" and that her braided hair chokers were "spooky."  Zac added that the print dress seemed like "a concept that never came to fruition."  Heidi said her girls looked sad and "stuck."


Justin LeBlanc

In his collection, Justin told the story of his journey from being born deaf to being able to hear for the first time at age 18.  Heidi said she "blown away" and glad Tim Gunn used his save on Justin.  Zac said his use of 3D printing was innovative but warned not to go overboard with accessories and that his hair concept needed a re-think.  Nina said there was something "very poetic" about Justin's collection.

The Judges' Decisions

Both Alexandria and Justin intrigued the judges enough to want to see more, earning their places at the NYFW finale.  And while Helen had an impressive winning streak this season, she fell just short of Lincoln Center and was auf'd.

Mondo's Last Word

First off, how much of a trooper was Tim Gunn for "carrying on" even after his nasty tumble on the subway stairs?  Another example of why he is my hero.

About the face-off between the three hopefuls...

When I saw Helen's looks walk, I tweeted that her first dress looked like "she farted in it and it got frozen in time."  Everyone has an opinion, and apparently Helen thought mine stunk.  We had a few Twitter exchanges before she blocked me.  Sorry, girl -- I still love you.  But I have to agree with the judges.  It just wasn't a "wow moment" for me.

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I really liked Alexandria's collection.  She went into the fight as an underdog but emerged a real contender, in my opinion.  Her easy, edgy point of view really came through.  The familiar silhouettes re-imagined in luxe, feminine fabrics and textures worked.  But I agree with the judges that Alexandria needs to turn up the volume with her styling at fashion week or people might fall asleep.

The clear standout for me was Justin.  His collection expressed so much artistry and innovation--it was a real showstopper.  Love the story and see the inspiration reflected in his designs.  And his accessories were so cool.  All three looks delivered drama and intrigue but his unconventional look was insanely good.  Even though there wasn't technically a winner for this challenge, Justin finished first in my book.

There we have it!  Dom, Bradon, Alexandria and Justin are the final four.  Next Thursday, Project Runway will crown the season 12 champion.  Who will win the title and take home the biggest prize package in the show's history?  Tell me your predictions in the comments.

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