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Gretchen Jones crowned 'Project Runway's eighth-season winner


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/29/2010 

Gretchen Jones was crowned Project Runway's eighth-season winner during last night's finale broadcast of the Lifetime reality competition series.

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"Oh my God, I needed this so bad in so many different ways -- And I certainly know Mondo [Guerra] and I gave them hell -- now I truly truly feel like I'm supposed to be doing what I'm doing," Gretchen said.

"It's the most exciting thing to ever happen to me. This money is going to take me places, literally, my stuff is in storage. I have no idea where I'm going, but now I at least have the ability to go."

The 28-year-old from Fairplay, CO, who currently resides in Portland, OR, received the grand prize of an editorial feature in an upcoming issue of Marie Claire magazine, the opportunity to sell her exclusive collection on Piperlime.com, a $50,000 HP and Intel technology suite to help her run a business, and a cash prize of $100,000 to help her start a fashion line.

Gretchen defeated Mondo, a 32-year-old from Denver, CO, who currently resides in Denver, CO.

"I honestly believed that everything happens for a reason. This experience has just proven to me what I am capable of achieving. I started off so insecure and self-doubting," Mondo explained.

"I feel this has contributed to myself as a person so much more than I ever expected, and that is such a gift. I didn't win Project Runway, but I won so much more, and I couldn't be more grateful for this opportunity."

Andy South, a 23-year-old from Waipahu, HI, who currently resides in Honolulu, HI, finished third.

"There are no regrets that I have -- I presented a collection that I stand behind and really love -- I set out to show who I am today as a designer and my progression with a sophisticated collection and I accomplished that," Andy said.

"From here, the opportunities are endless. It's just the beginning of so many great things. I'm just so thankful for this opportunity -- to make it to Fashion Week was the real prize."

The second part of Project Runway's eighth-season finale began with the three remaining finalists preparing to present their collections at New York Fashion Week, which was held in September at Lincoln Center.

The finalists' collections would be judged by regular panel members Heidi Klum, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, as well as special guest judge Jessica Simpson.

Prior to proclaiming Gretchen victorious, the judges disagreed over who to choose and appeared deadlocked during their deliberations, with Heidi and Jessica favoring Mondo and Michael and Nina advocating Gretchen.

A polka dot dress Mondo had included in his collection eventually emerged as a key point of contention during the debate.

"When you have four people, there are two people here that would actually wear this polka dot dress," Heidi stated.

"I want to see you wearing that polka dot dress Klum," Nina joked as Jessica laughed.

"You think it's silly, but these are things we would actually want to wear," Heidi argued.

"I'm ready, try it on! You wiggle right into that puppy and you walk out there," Michael said.

"It's fashion, you're selling a dream -- isn't it selling a dream too?" Heidi asked.

"I think she's selling you a dream -- it's just not your dream," Michael noted.

"Can someone hand me my boxing gloves, please?" Heidi asked.

"I'd like to see you guys fight," Jessica added.

"We've never done this!" Michael said.

"So split in the middle," Nina agreed.

"I'm sorry we're just split, we're just split -- We just are," Michael reiterated.

"Those are two totally opposite designers," Jessica added.

"This literally is salt and sugar -- I mean, there is literally nothing similar at all," Michael said.

In the end, the judges' disagreement seemed to come down to one key question.

"But who are we looking for -- the next couture designer? Or are we looking for someone who does very wearable?" Heidi asked.

"This is not just about what we saw today, this is about finding the next great designer," Michael replied.

(Photo credit Lifetime)


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