No Olympics-themed challenge? Presumably, Lifetime didn’t want to remind viewers that, yes, the Olympics are on, and you can change the channel to watch them, but who wouldn’t love to see the designers make warm-up suits that go from day to night or junior prom dresses for the girls who just missed qualifying for the gymnastics team or something?
A flawlessly dressed Heidi (last week’s sweatsuit must have been at the cleaners) tells the designers that they’ll be putting together a red-carpet look for a very special client. Even though this is almost no information at all, Kooan expresses grave, incomprehensible concern. As the designers head over to the South Street Seaport to meet Tim, Gunnar says he hopes they’ll be designing for Heidi. “I want to dress her up! She’s like a life-size Barbie!”
A fleet of Lexuses awaits the designers, but don’t get your hopes up — this challenge bears no resemblance to season five’s weird, wonderful car challenge, where the designers used only the raw materials and spare parts of a Saturn. Instead, the Lexuses were tied in with a flimsy explanation about matching colors or something and an extended fumble with remote keyless entry that made it seem like the producers thought that particular technology was brand new. And isn’t it sort of unfair to show the designers new cars, tell them they can’t keep them, and announce that, on top of everything else, it’s a team challenge?
Elena, continuing her run for Miss Congeniality, announces, “I don’t like to work with anyone. And who does??” A minute later, when she’s paired with Buffi, she scowls and says, “My worst fear came true.” The newly paired designers all drive off in different directions to meet up with seven designers from past seasons of Runway, for whom they’ll design an Emmy Awards–ready outfit. Back to serve as the challenge’s clients/models are Irina (ugh), Kenley, Laura, Anya, Mila, April, and Valerie.
Once sketches have been argued over and Mood has been rushed through, it’s back to the workroom, and the wheels are almost instantly off the wagon. Elena is convinced that she’s a better tailor than Buffi, and maybe that’s true, but rather than making a plan to get the work done, Elena settles for slamming doors and chain-smoking and telling Buffi she can’t eat until they’re finished. As Christopher put it, “Elena’s personality sometimes seems like she escaped from the woods and she’s ravenous, and she will bite your head off until she gets what she wants.”
While I’d like to think that maybe Gunnar is getting less bitchy as he becomes more legitimately confident, it’s more likely that Kooan was so overwhelmed that he just did as he was told. Gunnar might not like teammates, but it seems he’s into lackeys — and possibly henchmen. Their chemistry isn’t the problem; their client is. Irina whines and snipes about the color, the cut, and the tailoring, and when the judges talk about how beautiful she looks in it, her self-satisfaction is extremely off-putting. Great, Irina. You made Kooan sad, and you made me actually stick up for Gunnar. Go home. Meanwhile, Christopher is excited to be paired with Andrea, because he wants to learn from all the other designers, and why not start with the most experienced? Andrea, on the other hand, says she’s never done a collaborative design before, which surprises me. But they struggle with the fabric they chose (Andrea takes hours and hours just to cut out the skirt), and by the time Anya and Tim come by to critique, they’re already so far off track that Andrea is digging through the garbage for more fabric and Christopher is near tears.
Soon enough, we’re off to the runway, where Krysten Ritter is this week’s guest judge, and Ven makes off with another win for the Grace Kelly–style dress he and Fabio made for Kenley. And while it’s Raul who’s sent home for the shapeless dress he and Alicia make for Mila, Christopher is the one melting down during the critique of the dress he and Andrea made for Anya. (Krysten Ritter actually starts laughing when Christopher cries, which I hope was just a nervous reflex.)
If you take a look at the things Andrea has been posting on Twitter this past week, the suspense goes out of the “cliffhanger” surrounding her disappearance. It’s obvious that if you’re tweeting out criticism about the show’s policies and sponsors, you didn’t come back and win a spot in the final four. Sticking up for your convictions is admirable, but I have to wonder: Andrea couldn’t have looked into some of this before signing on to do the show?
Click through the slideshow to see this week’s looks. Am I alone in thinking it was a weak night? Or was anything going to feel anticlimactic after the whimsy of candy couture?