Zulema is gone.
And none of the contestants seem to be shedding any tears.
That is until they realize that the very popular model Tara is now on the chopping block because she was Zulema’s model instead of Nick’s. Daniel won last week’s challenge so it was his choice whether to save Tara or keep the model he had been working with.
Daniel’s decision to remain faithful to his model meant Tara was sent home. And Nick nearly broke down in tears. But it was time for the challenge: to design a garden party dress.
The designers were told that Tim would meet them the next day to explain the rest of the challenge.
Tim showed up at their doors at 6 am to their surprise and told them they were going on a field trip.
He walks them to the New York flower district and stops in front of a plant store and gives them the twist: The garden party dress must be made only of flowers, plants and plant supplies.
They got $100 and an hour to browse and buy at 3 garden shops. Because they didn’t get time to sketch first, all of them seem to be at a loss at what to buy and just scramble to pick up anything they can.
Here’s what Nick said he thought at the time: “Oh dear Lord, I had to stay [in the competition] long enough for the damn… make a dress out of flowers task!”
When they return to the workroom it’s down to business. And Tim tells them one other little tidbit. Whoever wins the challenge gets immunity for next week’s challenge.
Chloe’s plan is take a bunch of tiny leaves and glue them down in a textural print that would cover an entire summer dress.
Kara starts braiding long strands of raffia but doesn’t know what she’s going to do with it.
Santino is constructing his dress out of leaves from tropical plants, a ficus tree and a fern. He’s trying for something whimsical but toned down from his usual stuff.
Daniel has a bunch of ferns that he wants to turn into a skirt and he plans to weave long, narrow leaves into a mat for the midriff of the dress. He has purchased some gorgeous blue flowers to trim the bustline of the dress.
Andrae chose a bunch of things that were “dead, half-dead, or that would die beautifully”: baby’s breath, Spanish moss, and dried lavender. He wants to create a little Audrey Hepburn-style topiary dress.
Nick has plans for a fitted bodice, bustier and full skirt that he can put his large plant leaves on.
Tim visited the workroom early in the process this week to see what the designers had planned. Chloe’s idea scared him because he wasn’t sure the glued leaves would stay on the cloth. He grabbed a test piece she was working on and shook it and sure enough some of the petals popped off. “This can’t happen on the runway,” he told her.
Next it was on to Kara’s station. She was wrapping the braiding she had done around the outline of the bust of her mannequin and fully admitted that she really didn’t know where the dress was going. “Tim it’s really just happening organically,” she said.
Tim replies: “As you’re working, just resolve these issues as soon as you can.”
At Daniel’s station Tim comments on all the beautiful ferns he has. And Daniel describes his plans for a fern skirt. Tim seems pleased but is worried about whether Daniel will have enough time.
“Wow I wasn’t expecting that” were the first words out of Tim’s mouth when he went to Nick’s station. Nick had used the stems of some plants to outline a collar for a dress. The fact was Nick didn’t really buy a lot of materials and was going to have to make things stretch. And Tim comments that the dress may become a “micro-mini” if Nick runs out of plants.
Santino is playing with mesh and tropical leaves and Tim isn’t totally sure where he’s headed.
When Tim looks around to find Andrae, he’s not in the workroom. Andrae has taken his Spanish moss outside to work on it. While Tim is outside telling Andrae he doesn’t think his Spanish moss idea will work, Santino is upstairs doing a dead-on mocking impersonation of Tim, using all of Tim’s little catchphrases such as “designers, make it work” and “carry on.”
Chloe is pasting tiny leaves on a dress one by one and is seeing that it is taking much, much, much longer than she had expected and she’s starting to panic. Hours have already passed and she only has a small portion of the dress complete.
Somehow she does find the time to ask which of the men just came out to his parents. Daniel says he’s only been out to his parents about a year. And Nick is absolutely shocked. He says he can understand how that would be true back in “his” day, but now?
Daniel explains that he is from the Bible belt – Michigan? — and that he comes from a very conservative family. He does say that his ex-girlfriend still doesn’t know that he’s gay (that is until now.)
Chloe says that her biggest fear is dating a gay guy. Her biggest fear should be not finishing that dress.
Then Daniel asks Santino to do his Tim Gunn impersonation again. And this time Santino really takes it over the top with a spoof of Tim and Andrae getting into a fight on a date at Red Lobster. It was insane. “Andrae, I still think we can make it work,” Santino says in Tim’s signature voice. He has all the designers laughing hysterically.
When Tim returns he visits Kara’s station first. She still has no idea where she’s going with her dress and she only has 3 hours left to work. Nick may be running out of materials to finish his dress; Daniel is well on his way to doing something beautiful; Andrae is surrounded by grass clippings and has just finished sewing a zipper into his Spanish moss dress; and Chloe is still no where near finishing covering her dress with little leaves.
When he gets to Santino’s station he asks: “What happened to Andrae?” Santino looks puzzled. Then Tim says he has heard that Santino does a great impersonation of him and asks to hear it. For the first time in the whole show Santino is blushing and speechless, but sheepishly decides to tell Tim about the Red Lobster story and do a bit of the voice. Tim is good-natured about it and actually gets a good laugh.
At midnight – deadline – the designers have to go home and Chloe has hours of work left to do.
The next day, the designers are scrambling. Tim tells them to just send their models to hair and makeup alone and to just keep working. He gives them two hours to finish. Looking at Chloe’s unfinished dress Tim says: “you need tons of time, you need an extra set of hands.” In the end everyone was scrambling and Kara offered to help Chloe glue petals. Chloe didn’t get all she wanted done but did enough to make it to the runway.
The two guest designers Mark Badgley and James Mischka joined Nina and Michael this week for the judging.
Overall the judges were underwhelmed by all the designs because most of the designers only used green plants, so none of the outfits were very colorful. “Green is the new black,” Michael Kors quipped.
Here’s how they fared individually:
Nick’s banana leaf dress was knocked for not being very colorful. And Michael Kors also felt it was unsophisticated.
Chloe’s dress got nothing but compliments: “it’s flowy, it’s beautiful.” The way she layered all the leaves it did look just like fabric.
The guest designers thought Kara’s dress with its fitted bodice was the best fit dress up there. Michael Kors loved the way she used textures and complimented her for using interesting materials in an interesting way. It had a mossy look with purple petals accenting the bust.
Andrae’s dress wasn’t received nearly as well. Michael found the dress ill-fitting, stiff, and unjoyous. “She looks like a doormat”
The guest designers love Daniel’s dress with its flowered bodice, basket-weave midriff and fern skirt. Nina raved about it as well. And even Michael said, “It’s adorable.”
Santino’s dress was criticized for looking “plasticky and waxy.” (He had shellacked his plants to preserve them). Heidi sticks up for him and says she has no problem with the plants being shiny to which Michael quips: “That’s because you’re German.”
Whatever that means.
The judges deliberated and pretty much were in agreement on the top 3 this week.
Then they called the designers back out.
Santino is in
Kara is in
Daniel is the winner of the challenge and will have immunity for next week’s challenge.
Chloe is in
That leaves Andrae and Nick.
But as the saying goes, a good designer gathers no moss.
Andrae is sent home.
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