Gretchen Jones Project Runway season 8 winner host Heidi Klum

"V" for victory. Heidi Klum announces Gretchen Jones as the season 8 "Project Runway" winner. Photo courtesy of Lifetime

In a complete shocker, Gretchen Jones, a 28-year-old sustainable materials fashion designer who earned the nickname "Miss Bossy Boots" for her workroom arrogance, was named season 8 "Project Runway" winner.

Jones, who hails from Portland, Ore., edged out obvious favorite Mondo Guerra in a tense stand-off that had judge/host Heidi Klum threatening to get out "boxing gloves" to duke it out with fellow judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia.

In the end, the "circus couture" Guerra showed during New York Fashion Week was deemed too whimsical.

Jones, who impressed the judges as being a more contemporary and commercial designer, will deposit the $100,000 "PR" prize in her "zero-balance" bank account.

Her win, meanwhile, clearly explains mentor Tim Gunn's pre-season suggestion that the "PR" judges were "crack-smoking."

And sew it goes.


The Challenge: Jones, Guerra and fellow finalist Andy South present 10-piece collections to a packed house in the tents at New York City's Lincoln Center during Fashion Week.

The Class Reunion: Before the finale show, Klum and Gunn gather the 17 season 8 contestants for a dishy tell-all. We learn: Mumsy Peach Carr was eliminated because of her regrettable avocado goiter dress, but she's developed a "gay following."

Fame brought cutie Valerie Mayen a marriage proposal on Facebook. And Jones is distressed she's been portrayed as a reality villain."I'm not a bitch, I just play one on TV," she explains. Hmmmm.

The Guest Judge: Singer/actress, denim designer and tabloid darling Jessica Simpson, who impressed StyleList by joining forces with Klum in the fight for a Guerra win.

The Runway Show: South presents a consistently beautiful collection inspired by a Buddhist temple in Laos, where his immigrant parents were born, His showcase includes StyleList's favorite look of the entire presentation -- a structured green one-shoulder mini dress that had an artistic, but wearable quality.

What's missing? A true red carpet piece and his brooding, warrior-women looks, according to the judges. South is quickly deemed the third-place finisher.

Guerra takes a risk by once again showing his polka-dot bubble evening gown, which Garcia and Kors had warned put his otherwise brilliant collection in jeopardy of seeming like a "a circus show, not a fashion show."

Garcia frets that his work skews "junior" and Kors laments that a "simple black dress" -- which Guerra edited out of the collection -- might have secured his win.

Simpson and Klum, meanwhile, says they are obsessed with Guerra's clothes and hatch a plan to wear the kitchsy polka-dot gown to the same event. Now that, we've got to see!

Jones, who had been told by Garcia that her collection read "Birkenstocks" during a preview last week amps up her styling. She has her models hair frizzed, their lips painted red, and adds cool, leather hats and hand-forged mixed-metal necklaces to her looks.

Still, her pieces have a monochromatic sameness that we found boring. Kors and Garcia acknowledge the flaws, but champion her creations as current, and "what modern women want to wear."

The Deliberations: Lasting a nail-biting 20 minutes (a reality eternity), Garcia advocates naming two winners saying the decision is just "too hard." Klum and Simpson passionately argue for Guerra. "The thing about his clothes is that you can tell he made them. They are truly one-of-a-kind," Simpson contends.

Gretchen Jones Project Runway season 8 winner final looks

Three of Gretchen Jones's winning looks. Photos courtesy of Lifetime

How the tie is broken, is never explained but Klum tells the contestants "it was the most difficult in "Project Runway" history."

Guerra, who revealed during filming he had kept his HIV-positive status a secret from his conservative family for a decade, takes defeat with grace. He is, after all, the first "PR" contestant in history to win three consecutive challenges and says, "I didn't win "Project Runway" but I have won so much more." Hear! Hear!

Jones, who went broke, lost her apartment, and ended a relationship during filming, views her victory as a vindication that the "sacrifice have been worth it." "My stuff is in storage, I have no idea where I'm going next, but I'm on the right path," she sobs.

For more season 8 revelations, read our one-on-one chat with Guerra.

And click here for Mondo's take on the judges' final decision.

Also check out our exclusive backstage look at the makeup wizardry L'Oreal artists used for the three finalists' Lincoln Center show.