By Judy Kurtz - 07/25/12 10:01 PM EDT
“Project Runway All Stars” winner Mondo Guerra says when it comes to clothing choices in Washington, the fashion scene in the District can be downright disheartening.
“All these politicians are setting goals and want things to happen,” he says, “so that should be a reflection of what their wardrobe looks like. I don’t get why they’re just wearing gray and black. It’s so depressing, and there doesn’t seem like there’s any optimism there.”
In 2010, the Denver-born designer revealed during a “Project Runway” challenge that he had been secretly battling HIV for the past 10 years. He calls that day “magical and bittersweet in many ways.” While he says he never intended on talking about his disease on the Lifetime reality TV competition, he felt “I couldn’t walk off that runway without explaining my story.”
Since his disclosure, Guerra has become an HIV-awareness advocate, making frequent treks to D.C. and chatting with lawmakers. But there’s one person in the political world he has yet to meet or get his fashion-forward hands on — Michelle Obama.
“Of course I’d want to dress Michelle. We’re on a first-name basis, by the way,” he cracks.
Unlike a lot of Washington types, Guerra says, the first lady isn’t afraid to wear color or experiment with different silhouettes. “You know, the only thing that I would do for her — it would be my signature — so I’d probably put her in prints ... Printed pants, printed blazer, a printed blouse. It sounds really crazy, but it makes sense when you see it.”
Guerra also has his eye on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), saying with a broad smile, “I think she could use a little Mondo — little touches here and there. Because she does so much for the community, so I think she deserves to be touched by a gay designer.”
The diminutive clothing creator says his main impression of style on Capitol Hill is a fear of taking risks. He encourages Beltway workers to get a little “funkier,” saying, “When you get ready in the morning, I really feel it sets the tone for your day. So if you want to have fun, then you should start with fun in your closet.”