The final four designers prepare their 10-look collections
RECAP: 12/15/16 All Crops: Project Runway (L to R) Heidi Klum and guest judge Michael Kors judge the thirteenth challenge of Project Runway season 15, airing Thursday, December 15, at 9pm ET/PT on Lifetime. Photo by Barbara Nitke
Credit: Barbara Nitke

Welcome to the filler episode of season 15! In the finale’s first half, the designers took their time working on their collections, having flashbacks of their season, and hanging out with Tim Gunn and their family and friends. Then they had to pick up the pace when they headed back to New York to show their collection and do one final last-minute challenge. Wait, what? No last-minute challenge, you say? This season just keeps surprising me.

Although the episode wasn’t the most thrilling, it was kind of nice to let the designers spend time on their 10 looks and not have to worry about a throwaway last-minute design. With the judges giving tough critiques to all four of them, the designers can definitely use the extra time.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about the episode first.

Heidi tells the designers they’ll have six weeks and $9,000 to create a 10-look collection. They all head home and get to work. Well, let’s be honest, they all probably slept for about 24 hours straight and then got to work.

With only two weeks left until New York Fashion Week, Tim heads to L.A. to check on Laurence. She tells him her collection is about the story of her life, how there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Similarly, her collection begins with dark and finishes light. She tells her touching story to Tim, who tears up along with her (okay, and me, too, even though we’ve heard her story).

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Looking through the collection, Tim can’t believe there’s no black. There’s lots of white — who is this designer?? Tim’s “wildly enthusiastic” about it and has no worries she’ll finish in time.

Then, Tim takes a short trip across L.A. to go to a bowling alley to meet Rik, his mom, Delia, and cousin, Mayra. I have no idea why they picked this location, but I love seeing Tim Gunn in a bowling alley.

Rik and Tim go to his studio, where he shows his paisley-on-denim looks…and his leather looks…and his black-and-white print looks. Tim tells him there are at least three collections there and one woman wouldn’t wear all of it. Rik is obviously freaked out about making this cohesive in time.

Someone who’s not freaked out about time? Erin. Tim goes to see her in Boston with only 10 days left and she doesn’t have a single garment to show him. Honestly, why is Tim shocked by this? That’s our girl Erin — saving everything until the last minute. She has lots of textiles, fabrications, and ideas to show him, though. Tim calls it a “fashion cacophony”; he likes how she’s breaking the rules.

Shortly after, Tim heads back to New York to meet up with Roberi. His collection is based on travel, so he has different pieces from different moments from different places. Tim says that’s an excuse to have a collection packed with too much stuff. Roberi isn’t too worried, though.

Once they’re all back in New York, they unpack their looks and prepare to show three designs to the judges. Every time Tim walked into the workroom, I was sure he was going to spring another challenge on them, but they were able to focus on just those three looks instead.

NEXT: No sleep till runway

The day of the runway, they’re welcomed by Heidi from the future (or, you know, just from L.A., but she really reminded me of the A.I. on Other Space). She introduces a special guest: Michael Kors (!!!). He comes out and says “It’s good to be home.” Michael Kors, please get comfy and stay awhile.

Anyway, after the designers’ looks walk the runway, the judges give each of them detailed critiques.

RECAP: 12/15/16: NO CROPS: SPLIT 4: Project Runway season 15 Looks, airing Thursday, December 15 CR: Lifetime
Credit: Lifetime

Rik tells the judges his collection was inspired by the ’60s, but for being inspired by such a psychedelic decade, his looks lack oomph. Zac says Rik needs to raise the octane and show more skin. Heidi says she doesn’t see cohesion; she sees three different girls before her. Although, she does like the girl in the middle with the leather dress. Michael agrees it’s all over the map, and he doesn’t even want to talk about the “trench, mechanic’s coverall romper with a poopy pant.” Oh, we missed you, Michael. Nina tells Rik he needs to work on editing and making his collection one message.

RECAP: 12/15/16: NO CROPS: SPLIT 2: Project Runway season 15 Looks, airing Thursday, December 15 CR: Lifetime
Credit: Lifetime

Amazingly, Erin has 10 complete looks by the time she makes it to New York and shows a sample of the kooky collection to the judges. Michael loves the neoprene dress — he thinks it’s fresh and cool. Nina thinks the middle look isn’t strong enough and needs to go. “Keep it in the showroom,” Michael seconds. Zac wants her to amp up the collection and get rid of the woven-sleeve top. Heidi thinks the orange skirt is too long. Nina finishes by saying Erin needs to draw attention to her ornamentation, which is what she succeeds at.

RECAP: 12/15/16: NO CROPS: SPLIT 3: Project Runway season 15 Looks, airing Thursday, December 15 CR: Lifetime
Credit: Lifetime

Even though the judges are touched by Laurence’s life journey as inspiration, they have problems with the collection. Michael says it’s schizophrenic. He loves parts of it (the pearl top) and hates others (the overalls). Nina loves the tailored jacket but hates the pants that go with it and the fact it reveals the model’s navel. She also says the makeup is too severe and dates the looks. Heidi says the green romper is fresh, the middle look is ‘80s, and the top is on point but doesn’t tie in. Zac says he thinks Laurence is the best tailor he’s seen on the show in the past five years, but Laurence needs to balance out the tailoring with pieces that have an impact.

RECAP: 12/15/16: NO CROPS: SPLIT 1: Project Runway season 15 Looks, airing Thursday, December 15 CR: Lifetime
Credit: Lifetime

Like all the other designers, Roberi gets mixed reviews on his collection inspired by travel. Zac says there’s not a good balance between the “My Little Pony pink” and earthy fabrics. Heidi wants it to be sexed-up, but Michael says not everyone wants to dress like Heidi. (I’m paraphrasing a bit there.) Nina loves what he’s able to do with dresses, but wants him to lux it up and get rid of the scraggly hair and sneakers. Michael says he loves the pink dress from head to toe but generally thinks the collection needs something to juice it up.

The final four now have a day to whip their collections into shape and make something cohesive. Think they can do it? Who do you think will be the winner next week? Leave your thoughts below or find me on Twitter @realdalener.

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Project Runway

Karlie Kloss and Christian Siriano guide undiscovered designers through the harrowing rites of fashion.

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