Project Runway Winner Mondo's Bonus Interview!
Bummed Lifetime isn't have a Project Runway All-Stars reunion this Thursday?! Well have no fear -- TheInsider.com is here! We have a bonus interview with last Thursday night's big winner Mondo Guerra, one of the most beloved designers in the history of the show, where he talked fashion and life. The candid designer opened up about his winning collection, the trials and tribulations of All-Stars and his close friendship with fellow designer Michael Costello.
The Insider: You seemed to have a very intense bond with Michael Costello?
Mondo: I was so happy that Michael made it to the finale, and that we got to share that experience together. Since season eight we’ve become best friends. We’re inseparable, we’re with each other all the time, and we call each other every day. We don’t necessarily talk about the show anymore, because we’ve already finished it, so now we can talk about more important things, like boys [laughs]. But I loved his collection; I thought it was very smart for him to take the very commercial approach to his collection, and do some resort wear, which is very successful for the consumer.
The Insider: You and Austin seem so artistic, but with Michael, I’m always surprised by what he makes because of the way he presents himself.
Mondo: We crack up about it all the time. We’re always correcting each other.
The Insider: I feel like everyone has been rooting for you all season – did you feel that pressure?
Mondo: I did feel that pressure, and I think that was why I had a hard time – because I was doing it for myself, but more than anything I was doing it for all the fans of Project Runway and my fans. What was hurtful was that even on my Facebook and fan pages, -- and I’m such an addict of reading those things, but I can respect their honesty, and I value their opinion, but there was some talk of, ‘we’ve always loved and rooted for you, but after the way you acted last night you lost a fan, and Austin should win.’ It’s like come on you guys, are you judging me on my attitude? That’s maybe not the most accurate portrayal of who I am, but this is a design competition, it’s not 'Personality of the Year.'
The Insider: You have been a very popular designer with audiences since season eight. Do you find it difficult to have such negativity come at you?
Mondo: It is difficult, with us being creative people, you can do your own thing in your studio, but when we go on the show we’re not only willing to expose who we are as people, but also expose our process, and you know what – our process is so precious to us. That process can be really painful when people respond negatively to not only our design, but to who we are as human beings.
The Insider: What does having a guest editor position at Marie Claire magazine entail?
Mondo: Joanna [Coles] and I have been talking about it, and I think she’s really allowing me to have creative license with the magazine. What I would love to do is go to Marie Claire and write a column. I think it would be fun for someone who is an admirer of fashion, and has a consumer point of view. Yes, it’s a great magazine, and we read about trends etcetera, but that’s not reality. Clothes should be fun, and I think people are often so intimidated by fashion. I think it will be fun for me to go in there and give a different approach to how you open your closet and set the tone for your day through your wardrobe.
The Insider: You have said that this season was so much harder than season eight, why was that?
Mondo: Well, all of the contestants have been through it before. With my season, we were all there for the first time, so it was like the first day of summer camp, and we were experiencing that together. It was a fun ride, so on All-Stars, we’ve all experienced it before, and we’re back. The competition is bigger, the prizes are bigger, so it’s a lot more pressure, and not only that, the contestants are so talented, and we all know how to play the game. I think people were more calculated in their approach to the competition, and beyond that, every runway was amazing for us to watch because it was so good. It was intimidating, and especially after Rami got kicked off, it lit a fire, as no one was safe and we all had to work, work, work. Rami going home was really scary; we knew we weren’t safe after that.
The Insider: Do you have any regrets from this season?
Mondo: I think it would be really easy for me to regret certain situations, but I think it was definitely a learning experience. Like I said, watching that one particular episode where I kind of had a meltdown, I was very opinionated – it was a time for me to learn from my mistakes, and I really do take ownership of my actions. It’s the nature of the beast, and I’m moving forward.
The Insider: You also probably wouldn’t have as many regrets since you won!
Mondo: Yes! This is day one.
The Insider: I’ve asked all the other designers, are there any trends you currently hate?
Mondo: Oh my god, you know this trend of like going to the supermarket in your pajama bottoms? I hate to say that it’s even a trend, because it shouldn’t be, it’s terrible. And like flip flops, and a sloppy knot, its like come on you guys, you look like bums [laughs].
The Insider: What are every woman's must-haves?
Mondo: Some things that are timeless are pair of back patent leather pumps, a really good handbag, and a good fall coat, something that you can keep in your closet for years. These are pieces that you invest in. Must-haves are a positive attitude, having fun with your fashion, and not taking it seriously, because after all it’s just clothes.
The Insider: What was the best part of being on All-Stars, other than winning?
Mondo: To work with the caliber of talent there, and making some new friends, and really pushing myself. As a group, all of us designers really pushed ourselves this year because we knew that everybody else was so talented. Having the new panel of judges was also really amazing; it was just a lot of fun. It was a clean slate for everybody, and I hope the fans of Project Runway appreciated it.
The Insider: What’s next for you?
Mondo: I’m working on my own collection, and I want to start doing the trade show circuit again, because I really love investing my time, energy, and creativity on my booth design, and really making it personal and connecting to the buyers and listening to what the customers are wanting.
The Insider: When can we get your designs?
Mondo: We are shooting with the Neiman Marcus ad for fall 2012, and I think by fall of next year you'll be seeing my own stuff.