Friends and family serve as 'clients' for this everywoman challenge
Credit: Barbara Nitke

Last week Tim Gunn used his save on Cornelius. Dexter isn’t too happy about it; Erin says she’s happy about it, but I’m dubious. Naturally we’re all prepared for a contentious workroom, but Project Runway throws us a twist: They bring in everyone’s moms! No one can be a bully around moms!

Tim and a representative from AARP come into the workroom to introduce this challenge. It’s all about women starting a new chapter in their lives and to that end, the clients are “special” people who are beginning new challenges. In walks most people’s moms and cue the tears! Dexter’s best friend comes in, Laurence sees her daughter, and Roberi’s best friend from Venezuela is there, too.

After everyone has shared hugs, Tim has news he is “titillated” about. The AARP lady says the winning designer will be awarded $25,000. But there’s more! The client of the winning designer will receive $25,000, too. This challenge just got much more interesting. As if that weren’t exciting enough, Tim tells the designers they’ll have $250 at Mood and TWO DAYS. Cue the squeals now.

The designers have 45 minutes to catch up with their friends and family while sketching. We immediately learn more about these newcomers: Mah-Jing’s mom is into hip-hop and is launching a record label. Laurence’s daughter wants to open French boutiques here to help culture America (good luck, girl!), Rik’s mom is going back to college after 40 years, and Erin’s mom is Mormon. The best is probably Jenni’s mom, who has no clue what she wants. At first she says she wants something for a wedding, birthday, or “graduation thing,” but then she decides a cool exercise outfit might be nice. Poor Jenni is struggling for inspiration.

Once the designers wrap up designs, they head to Mood and then get to work for six uneventful hours; they come back the next day for a full day of work. The “models” come in for fittings and Tim stops by to do his critique with the clients there.


The morning of the runway, everyone is in a panic per usual. Cornelius starts to say he doesn’t have enough time and his mom shuts. it. down. “I don’t want you complaining,” she tells him. “You pull this together.” If there were always moms in the room, this show would go so much differently.

Nathalia is flying around the room trying to finish. She is still at the sewing machine when Tim is calling time. He almost closes the door on her and her mother, but they get out just in time.

NEXT: Moms working the runway

On the runway, Heidi tells Cornelius she’s glad he’s still around and then introduces the guest judges: Olivia Culpo — a “fashion expert,” according to the show; Nick Jonas’ ex-girlfriend, according to Wikipedia — and Katia Beauchamp, the CEO of Birchbox and one of the investors on Project Runway: Fashion Startup.

After the moms and friends walk down the runway, Heidi says Laurence, Dexter, and Cornelius are safe. The remaining six designers receive critiques…


Roberi’s friend Suky recently moved to Panama, where she’s working as a graphic designer. Roberi wanted to create a look she could wear to a cocktail party, and the judges love it. Olivia says it was one of her favorites from the episode because it has such a great silhouette. Zac says the textile and dimension is spot-on, and Katia says it’s sophisticated, but not boring. Heidi sums it up as “perfection.”


Somewhere along the way, our golden child Erin has fallen off the path toward greatness. The look she created for her mom, Whitney, was inspired by a cocoon. A cocoon. Nina says she went too conceptual and it didn’t pay off. Zac says it’s essentially a winter coat with a summer look underneath. Heidi wanted Whitney to be in a cool suit, and Olivia said the proportions are all off.


Rik put a lot of love into his mother’s dress. Delia loves it — and the little stitched heart, which was inspired by mariachi embroidering — and so do the judges. They literally “aww” when she opens her jacket to reveal it. Nina loves the look and says the proportions fit to a T. Zac says it’s authoritarian yet modern, as if it’s a universal outfit. Heidi says it reminds her of a real designer dress — and it looks expensive.


Jenni’s mom, Amanda, gave her pretty mixed messages on what to design — and it shows in the look. Heidi thinks it’s the worst one on the runway and calls it sloppy and juvenile. Zac appreciates that Amanda likes an atypical look, but this outfit doesn’t give her the sense of authority she needs in her career. Katie says the fit is distracting, but if that had been fixed, she may have liked the look better.


Bahamadia, Mah-Jing’s mom, is a badass. Nina says so, and there’s not a person alive who could disagree. She’s launching a hip-hop label and she’s a powerful woman, which Nina says is reflected in her clothing. Heidi says she can tell she’s confident in what she’s wearing, and Katia says it’s “on point.” Mah-Jing cries as the judges praise him, and it’s just adorable.


Since she was wrapping up until the last minute, Nathalia didn’t get to finish the hem of her mom’s coat. She even has pins in it, which the judges can see. It doesn’t help that the coat is oversized, but even the pieces underneath are wrong. Olivia says the silhouette is hiding Sory’s figure. Heidi says she’s being swallowed by the clothes. Nathalia starts crying — and unlike Mah-Jing, it’s not a good cry.

Winner: Rik, who is going to use the money to pay back loans to his mom, which is so sweet.

Out: Jenni

I’m sad to see Jenni go, but her look was confusing. I’m blaming her mom. What did you all think of the episode? Let me know below (in our newly restored Disqus comment section) or find me on Twitter @realdalener.

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