When we interviewed Mondo Guerra back in July, just in time for the premiere of Project Runway and before an episode had even been aired, we already knew he was going to do well: Just from the designer profiles, it was clear that Mondo was far and away the weirdest, most distinctive designer on the show. (Denver's no stranger, by the way, to lending the some of the weirdest, most distinctive artists to national competition shows -- remember Lilly Scott?) And certainly, he's been holding his own so far -- if the last two episodes have been any indication, though, he's coming into it.
Last week, the challenge was to "create an American sportswear look inspired by Jackie Kennedy," which ended up in Mondo's first win of the season. Toning it down a tad from the outre designs he's capable of, he stepped up with a tasteful, color-coordinated ensemble rooted in a pencil skirt and waistcoat. And that was pretty impressive -- but this week was Mondo's week to kick ass.
In this challenge, the designers got commissioned to create a look inspired by a new line of eyeshadow from L'Oreal, which will be featured eventually in an ad in Marie Claire. The look this week was high couture -- really, Mondo's forte. "I like this challenge," he said on the show. "You can really do something over the top. That's who I am."
Yes it is, Mondo. Yes it is. What he won with was an ensemble that combined a tweed-type winter fabric base with multicolored, kaleidoscopic silk -- one commenter on Project Runway's website remarked that it looked like "a clown's trunk exploded." And that might not be entirely inaccurate, but there's no doubt that, for something so adventurous and unexpected, he pulled it off. The judges had almost nothing negative to say about it. A couple called it "gorgeous."
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But here's the kicker: Unlike most competitions, in which the prize is not getting kicked off the show, the prize for this one was $20,000.
With five out of 14 episodes left to go, Mondo's in an excellent position to take it all the way, but even if the unprecedented happens and he doesn't, he's got 20 grand to withdraw from his bank account in $1 bills, put in a bathtub and throw in the air, cackling wildly. And that's something.
Watch the full episode here.