This week, the designers start things off by meeting Angela at a theater, which can only mean one thing: costume challenge! (Actually, it also means we’re going to be treated to a lot of overly dramatic proclamations about how much each contestant loves a good show.) Angela wastes no time in explaining the task at hand: They must make a costume for a rich-bitch character in Godspell. The winning design will be worn by the actress on stage, and the winning designer will get their biography in the show’s program. Fame indeed. This is arguably a tough challenge because it’s vague enough that, really, anything goes; also, Runway’s designers have been well-conditioned by the judges to believe that all things “costume” are bad, bad, bad. This likely explains why, in the end, the outfits they produced were understated by theater standards — and made with little thought given to their on-stage functionality.)
When Joanna joins the designers in the workroom for their crits, she reveals she has a certain expertise in theater arena: She once performed in Godspell herself, though this information is useless without a grainy picture from a British school production to prove it. There’s some sass to her feedback this week, and the designers are shocked: Kenley’s flustered after Joanna feigns shock at the lack of polka-dot prints in her look and Austin is all aflutter after she describes his fabrics as “hideous fabulous — hideous right now, but you’ll make them fabulous, WON’T YOU?” (no pressure, then). Worst of all, Kara — a woman seemingly on the verge of a nervous breakdown — is left teary-eyed and discombobulated after Joanna questions whether her “simple chic” aesthetic is All-Star worthy. Everyone loves Kara, though, so she gets lots of hugs from her fellow designers — well, except Mila, who’s still grumbling about her and Kenley’s “unnecessary and over-complimentary” love-fest. Human emotions, so overrated.
Of course, Joanna’s critiques aren’t nearly as pointed as those from designers in their confessionals. In another bout of heavy-handed editing from the producers, Mila and Kara’s looks receive the nastiest snippets from their competition — so, yes, take a wild guess as to where the two ladies placed. Broadway star Sutton Foster is the guest judge of the episode, but proves too bashful to say much of worth. (Really, if you can’t call a Project Runway designer’s work “” without blushing, you should reconsider your guest spot.) By this point, it’s fair to say that the judges are pretty in agreement that Austin, Michael, and Mondo are the top-notch trifecta — yes, we’re calling them as the finalists now, and probably should have a while back. They’re this week’s top three, and Mondo takes the win for a feather-heavy jacket and multi-patterned shift dress. Austin likely lost out for getting snippy with judge Isaac after the latter mispronounced his name — but this was nowhere near the barbed confrontation the season-long promos had suggested.
And yes, it’s Mila and Kara in this week’s bottom two spots. Despite lauding her look this week as some of the best work she’s produced in the competition, Kara’s still sent home (curtains for her, so to speak). Angela’s parting words to her — perhaps her version of Heidi’s classic “Auf Wiedersehen”— are the very fortune-cookie-sounding “these are the things we grow from.” Ponder that.