Well, that was surprising — oh, no, wait — that was what everyone predicted.
As Project Runway aired tonight, fans across the country we’re yelling, “I knew it!” at their TVs. Many of you noted in the comments last week that Edmond was never sent to pack up his things — that’s because this week picked up right where that episode ended. Tim came into the waiting area and hemmed and hawed before finally saying, “Well, you’re not going anywhere.” Even Edmond couldn’t pull off a surprised look. So, yeah, we all saw that coming, but it’s still nice to have him in the final four for New York Fashion Week.
The next day Heidi tells the remaining designers that they will have $9,000 and seven weeks to create a 10-look collection. Before sending them home, Heidi tells Ashley they would love for her to do a plus-size collection and they’ll provide the models as well. She’s over the moon, and I am too — I appreciate that we’ll get to see a collection from Ashley that showcases the kind of designer she wants to be.
Five weeks fly by and Mr. T.G. himself is flying to San Diego to visit Ashley and her family. She says her inspiration is Mexico City in the 1950s with a modern twist. She’s hand-dying fabrics and making floral headpieces, and Tim is eating it up. He’s very pleased with how she is pushing the boundaries. Tim having to put on an apron in Ashley’s mom’s kitchen and help out is definitely our Most Awkward Tim Gunn Moment from San Diego.
A short flight up to San Francisco and Tim is meeting Candice, her mom, and her two kids on a very cold, windy beach set up with lawn chairs. (Keep it classy, Project Runway.) As if you needed telling, this is definitely our Most Awkward Tim Gunn Moment of this visit. After the beach, he goes to Candice’s studio. Outside, she has the biggest skirt form you’ve ever seen; it’s outside because it doesn’t fit in her studio. If you couldn’t guess from the larger-than-life skirt, Candice’s collection is practically avant-garde. She was inspired by an Asian collection at the Met, and she wants to play with leather and wood. Tim advises her not to go “full-tilt drag” and to stop trying so hard.
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Over in Springfield, Mass., Kelly has been staying awake at nights excited for Tim’s arrival. And when he arrives, she tells him how she already has 10 completed looks for him. It’s a bit unusual for a designer to be that far along, but as Kelly says: “I didn’t come this far to be like…sitting with my ass in the wind.” (Is this an expression people use!?) Her inspiration is Studio 54-meets-New Wave streetwear — and it’s very Kelly, down to the handmade fanny packs. After Tim’s critique, they head to this much-talked-about deli, where, in the Most Awkward Tim Gunn Moment, the owner gives him a giant sandwich named the Big “Gunn” Milanese.
Finally, Tim is off to Atlanta, where Edmond has a very nice, professional studio. He says again how he’s applied for Project Runway 13 times, but after seeing his setup, it kind of has me wondering why. Anyway, his inspiration is elegant dresses. Even though the judges have only ever seen “sexy” from him, he wants to do “glamorous” instead. At first he asks Tim if he should do a “true” collection, you know with a dress, a pantsuit, a swimsuit… I’m sorry what??? Has Edmond been to a fashion show before!? Tim steers him back in the right direction, to only do gowns, and then in the Most Awkward Tim Gunn Moment: They go to a bar called the Rusty Nail.
NEXT: The final countdown
Fast-forward again and all our designers are back in their NYC work room. Tim comes in to tell them that they’ll be showing the judges a three-piece collection each — the catch being that one piece has to be made in a day. All the designers act shocked, which is ridiculous, this happens EVERY SEASON. But anyway, they get $250 and one last trip to Mood for their extra look.
Through the course of their work time, we get mini “journeys” for each designer, but it really just feels like an easy way for the network to stretch the episode to two hours. So let’s just skip straight to the runway…
Based on the three looks Edmond chooses for his collection, the judges get the sense that his design inspiration is “ruffles.” Zac thinks it’s costumey and doesn’t have the right attitude for an Edmond collection. Nina agrees — she’s surprised the “sexy” is gone and says “bring the sexy back” about 10,000 times. Plus, the hair and makeup he chose are conservative, which isn’t helping the stuffy looks. Basically it’s back to the drawing board…with one day to go.
Zac says that Kelly finally tapped into the refined version of who she is and her aesthetic — but Heidi doesn’t agree. She says it looks cheap and poorly made. Nina says there’s no luxury to it, but Zac steps up for Kelly again: The way to make streetwear look luxurious on the runway is to style it impeccably. So she needs to go back and get some more sparkly fanny packs?
Even though we’re down to the final four and the judges could pick out everyone’s looks by now, Nina says she sees Ashley so much in this collection. It’s a consistent message, and the multiple pieces give a lot of options, but Zac wants Ashley to work on the fit and execution of her finishes. Heidi overall just likes the concept and is the only judge on board with the floral headpieces. Nina and Tim think she should use them sparingly, but Ashley doesn’t seem on board with that.
Tim was worried about Candice‘s collection going drag queen and the judges are worried about it going to “Costume Town.” With only three looks before them, they’re already worried that the full collection is going to be even worse — especially when she tells them about her final look. Nina says as a whole the looks simply don’t showcase who Candice is; she’s not Alexander McQueen, even though she’s trying to be.
For this runway, there is no winner or loser. (Well, they’re all losers if you think of the amount of work they have to do before Fashion Week.) Tim’s there to take notes for them, but Heidi gives them all three-word sum-ups before sending them on their way.
Edmond: “Sex it up.”
Kelly: “Go for it.”
Ashley: “Focus on detail.”
Candice: “Tone it down.”
We still have a two-hour, second-part finale next week, but do you think we can start picking a frontrunner? My vote would be Ashley or Kelly, but past seasons/my gut tell me Candice could be the big winner. What do you guys think? Throw out your ideas below or reach me on Twitter @realdalener.