As a designer's 'fairness' is called into question, the episode ends on yet another cliffhanger
Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

To be continued again!? What is this, The Bachelor???

This week’s episode of Project Runway begins with the drama that is Claire and Shawn and ends with the drama that is Claire. It’s a twin-storm of an episode. Let’s get to it…

Claire and Shawn have one hour to complete a second look in a head-to-head challenge. Claire immediately gets to work and has a nearly finished look in 15 minutes. All Shawn has done in 15 minutes is drape fabric on her dress form, pull it off, knock over the form, and repeat. After bursting into tears, she asks for Tim. Her mentor asks what’s going on, and Shawn says her sister deserves to stay: “I want her to continue in my stead.” Then Claire starts crying, too.

The three of them trek down to the runway to tell the judges the twins’ decision. Then Tim starts crying, too. He lets the judges know what they’ve decided. Heidi asks Claire if she’s okay with that, and she says, “It’s a very hard place to be in.” Guest judge Asia Kate says that when you love someone, you can let them go and then starts crying, too! (It’s a sobfest, but I have pretty dry eyes over here — am I a monster?)

Anyway, the next morning, the designers gather in the workroom, where Tim and a representative from Dixie come to greet them. You know, Dixie? A reputable name in fashion and also those little paper cups your grandma kept in the bathroom. As this week’s sponsor, they will be gifting the winning designer with the chance to get their custom print on a Dixie cup — just what every designer dreams of. Oh, and $25,000, which the designers seem much more thrilled about.

The challenge is to design a print and use it in a look for a “woman on the go.” And the hook is they aren’t working with their models: The designers will be creating looks for friends and family of the crew. After getting matched up, the women-on-the-go describe their styles and tastes. Claire could have the biggest issue because her client Cecelia hates prints. Ayana is excited that her client wants long sleeves, and Kenya and her client Michelle instantly fall in love.

After the clients leave, the designers create their prints and then head to Mood for additional fabric and supplies. Once they all get to work, Claire is clearly at a loss. She keeps talking to everyone around her, and they don’t give her feedback like her twin Shawn would. As Claire starts working with the muslin, Margarita realizes that the top looks conspicuously like the top of her shirt dress from the week before. Margarita tries to stay calm, but she’s spiraling out.

The next morning the designers all get their prints; Batani’s is not scaled like she thought it would be and Margarita’s isn’t the right color. Batani decides to chop hers up and use pieces, and Margarita dyes hers. Couple of real make-it-work moments!

Tim comes for critiques along with the clients, and he gives primarily positive feedback. He’s concerned Batani’s dress doesn’t have as much print as it should and it’s essentially a gray shroud. He wants her to oomph it up. When he gets to Kenya and Michelle, he says, “I feel like I’m interrupting a love fest,” and he is. They love each other so much. It’s adorable.

Once Tim leaves, Margarita continues to spiral about Claire, but it’s no longer about the top — she starts speaking to Michael in Spanish about how she saw Claire with pants in the bathroom and a measuring tape in her room. Obviously, this is only half of the story, and I’m very confused what “pants in the bathroom” even means, but Michael says in his confessional that Claire isn’t “playing the game right.” (The drama continues on page 2)

Everyone gets to the runway, and Heidi has barely made it out before Margarita starts crying. She says she’s not proud of this week’s design and she’s so glad she has immunity. Heidi lets the designers know this is the last immunity before introducing the guest judges: Yolanda Hadid, of RHOBH and being-Gigi-and-Bella’s-mom fame, and model Sophia Stallone.

After the runway show, Heidi tells the designers they all did a fantastic job and excelled at this fun challenge. Then she tells Batani, Michael, Kentaro, Kenya, Margarita, and Claire to stay behind for critiques.

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Batani explains that her model, Sabrina, is a cancer survivor who wanted to add energy and color to her wardrobe. Heidi says she’s confused: From the neck up Sabrina looks polished, but from the neck down she looks like she’s going to Coachella. Sabrina says she identifies with the hippy-dippy dress, not the polished hair and makeup. Yolanda appreciates that Batani gave her model what she wants, but Sophia says the whole look is off balance. And Nina doesn’t appreciate how the placement of the print is like an afterthought.

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Michael tried to use his model Halona’s Native American roots, and she is happy with the final result. Zac says she did a great job walking the runway, but the look is disappointing. Nina says it was ambitious, but Michael didn’t take into mind her proportions, and Yolanda doesn’t like how the sleeves are open and it’s overdesigned.

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Kenya introduces her new mom Michelle by saying she’s a grandmother who doesn’t want to look like a grandmother. She picked a small print that could reproduce well on a Dixie cup (smart). Yolanda says she typically hates prints, but loves the smallness of this one. Zac says the detailing is exceptional and he appreciates that the client is happy, but he thinks Kenya has been doing the peplum too much. And Heidi says she doesn’t like the peplum at all.

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Kentaro used bright colors for the first time ever for his model, Kekina. The judges think he’s exaggerating — he is not. Zac says it’s “sublime,” and Nina is nodding in approval. Then Heidi says the only thing she can agree on is the color, and I have never seen Zac and Nina look at Heidi with such shock. Heidi thinks the model is swallowed up with fabric, but Nina says it’s “360-degree elegance.”

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Claire explains how her model, Cecelia, didn’t want prints and how they made that work together. Heidi says losing Shawn must have been a good thing because Cecelia looks perfect head to toe. Zac says the print was effective and ready to buy, but Claire has more creativity in her. Nina says the print is interesting and while she’s not blown away, she thinks it’s suitable for the model.

Credit: Barbara Nitke/Lifetime

Margarita already told the judges she didn’t like her look, so there’s not much saving it now. Nina says it’s a confused look: a preppy lady going to Martha’s Vineyard in the dress and a cocktail party in the city with the jacket. Yolanda says she doesn’t mind it, but thinks it should have been styled with flip-flops and a beach bag. Zac says he likes the print — and that’s it. When the judges ask what’s wrong, Margarita explains that there was distraction in the workroom and it got in her head. Heidi presses her to explain more, but Margarita just says, “I wasn’t raised to throw people under the bus.”

When the designers get back on the runway after judges’ deliberations, Heidi announces Claire as winner. Next thing you know, Michael is walking off the runway. He tells a crew member backstage, “I came to play fair and there’s no fairness in this game.”

Tim comes over completely baffled and Michael reiterates, cryptically, that this winning look lacks fairness. On the runway, Heidi is begging the designers to tell her what’s going on, and all Margarita will say is “None of us want to point fingers.”

I don’t think you need drama on Project Runway for it to be good — I’m a firm believer that good designs from good designers are entertainment enough. But, guys, this is getting good. See you back here next week, when Pants-in-the-Bathroom-Gate resumes.

Episode Recaps

Project Runway

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

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