Barbara Nitke

Friends and family serve as 'clients' for this everywoman challenge

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November 11, 2016 at 04:51 AM EST

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.

These are friends and family members who obviously aren’t going to trash the designs of their loved ones, but Tim does find a few problems on his own. He likes Mah-Jing’s origami-style jacket, but he’s worried the construction is too ambitious with so little time. This is also a problem with Nathalia’s separates look: Since she’s using nice leather, Tim’s worried it won’t be executed “superbly.” He’s confused by Jenni’s eclectic look; worried about Roberi overdesigning his friend’s dress; and concerned Dexter isn’t making his sweater dress cool enough. “You have to Dexter-ize it,” he says. But overall, Tim delivers positive critiques and there’s no need for major overhauls.

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

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