| Last week on Project Runway, the designers were given a challenge by Mayor Bloomberg himself: Create a look inspired by New York City. April was sent home for making yet another black dress. The other four were told that they would have to compete for the three spots on Fashion Week. Each would have to make a full collection.
It’s immediately after the end of the last episode. The Final Four return to the runway to meet with Heidi Klum. She tells them they will have to make a 10-piece collection over the next six weeks. They will have a budget of $9,000. Six weeks?! That seems like a lot less time than usual.
Mondo talks about how he’d felt like the odd man out, when the show started. Michael tells us he thinks he’s gotten the last laugh, since he’s made it further than most of his detractors.
One month later, Tim Gunn goes to Hawaii to visit Andy, who lives on a farm there, where they raise sugar cane and catfish. Andy’s parents were immigrants from Laos. Andy introduces Tim to some of the catfish – and Tim basically recoils. Andy introduces Tim to his mother and friend. Tim likes this a lot better and turns on the patented Gunn charm.
Andy shows Tim his studio. He tells Tim his collection will be inspired by Laos. He’s using native handwoven fabric and metal accents, which he’s had to order. He doesn’t have any finished pieces, as he’s been waiting for his materials. He has been making some headpieces and Tim tells him that the judges won’t care about his headpieces if he doesn’t have a complete collection. Tim also warns him not to make a hot mess.
Twelve days before Fashion week, Tim visits Michael in Palm Springs, California. Michael introduces Tim to Richard, his friend. His looks are inspired by the colors of the desert. He’s completed eighteen looks and Tim tells him that he needs to find a focus and edit them.
Tim also sees Giovanni, Michael’s son. Richard tells Tim that Michael’s parents are not supportive of him. They want him to be married – to a woman – rather than living with the man he loves. Nor had they supported his choice of career until after he’d gotten on Project Runway.
Ten days before Fashion Week, Tim visits Mondo in Denver Colorado. Mondo promptly takes Tim to his studio and talks about growing up in the Mexican section of Denver. His collection will be inspired by Mexican culture, especially by the Day of the Dead. Tim likes most of it, but thinks a hot pink shirt looks childish.
Mondo has a sister, Tanisha. His mother admits she tried to get him to be more macho. For example, when he wanted piano lessons, she agreed to that request – provided he also joined the baseball team. Mondo adds he was a horrible shortstop, but very good at piano. Tim tells Mondo he was also horrible at sports and was always the last to be picked on a team.
In Portland, Oregon, Tim finds Gretchen, who has come home to a failed relationship and an empty house. She tells Tim about her failed relationship, and he is sympathetic.
Gretchen is inspired by her southwest roots and has been playing with safari looks. She has also been working with leather and knitwear. Tim likes what he sees. Afterwards, he has lunch with Gretchen and her mother.
Back in New York, the designers arrive at the Hilton New York, where they’ll be staying during Fashion Week. Tim welcomes them to New York. He has the button bag with him, and the designers are understandably apprehensive, but instead of a nasty twist, Tim has vacations for two for everybody, courtesy of Hilton.