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Last week, things happened, something about the 70s, and Anthony, the one guy I was rooting for, was eliminated. That’s all I know because I had to travel for work and am so behind on my DVR it isn’t even funny. Even worse, I don’t want to know. I kinda want to lean on the FF button and get to All-Stars, where there’s more potential for insane and creative designs. And crying, since Michael C. will be back.

A Challenge For The Birds

Literally. This week, the designers go head to head against each other in pairs. Each pair is supposed to take inspiration from one of three birds for a high-fashion look. After Tim divides up the groups and chooses the birds via the velvet bag, Laura and Anya have the raven, Bert and Josh have the Amazon parrot, and Kimberly and Viktor have the cockatoo. It’s also the makeup challenge, so we see a lot more of Collier Strong than usual, but as always, it’s just product placement and lip service about makeup. There’s an actual prize--$20,000.

There’s some sketching, some bitching by Bert about the dime-store green colors of the parrot, and it’s off to Mood to shop. Josh tests the fabrics by licking them, Viktor gets done quickly, and it’s the usual dashing around for everyone. Back at the work room, everyone is quick to say they like their competitor, but they’re going to win. Tim then comes in and drops a bomb: they are going to have to make a SECOND look inspired by their birds, but with no more than the two days to complete both looks. It’s back to Mood for more shopping.

Team Raven

Laura starts off making a pant outfit and Anya starts off with a sheer black lace dress of some sort. Once they have to make a second look, Anya decides to do something unexpected and highly structured. Laura’s jacket is coming along nicely for her pants outfit.

Anya drapes her structured look, but doesn’t know how to sew it nor has she allowed for a mechanism for the model to get in the dress, as Bert points out. Anya will end up sewing the model into the dress.

Tim’s assessment of Laura’s second look is to “ditch it”. For Anya, Tim finds one arm hole on the gown to be bigger than the other, but loves the structural look.

Team Parrot

Bert still isn’t jazzed about the greens and yellows, while Josh embraces them and buys wildly bright greens and yellows. He’s getting into it, but on the second day, he’s not in love with his first design, which is a mess of woven together yellow and green fabrics. Bert makes his little chirps in the workroom, but the other designers no long want to stab him for it, and just realize he’s a bit of nut.

Josh’s second look is made out of orange fabric, the shade of which I will forever associate with Wendy Pepper and that damn Nancy O’Dell. He decides to completely ditch the first day’s dress and tries to borrow some fabric from Anya, but she’s not having it. He ends up working on a structured circle skirt with cut-outs with his original fabrics.

Tim doesn’t like Josh’s circle skirt, saying it is static and crafty, but likes the orange draped dress. Tim doesn’t see high fashion in Bert’s second look but encourages him to carry on.

Team Cockatoo

Viktor’s first idea is to make a gown and apply shredded chiffon to give a feather-like look. Viktor sits and shreds fabric for greater part of the episode. Kimberly isn’t quite sure what she’ll do, and just drapes as she goes. She’s not feeling the design and is a bit stressed more than average. Then a cockroach enters the workroom and she freaks out, jumping on the table. Anya killed it by using the inspirational Piperlime accessory wall.

Kimberly has all manner of problems. She gets stains on her first dress and then sews her hand into her second look, getting blood everywhere. She has a minor breakdown—not the pain, but just the stress of getting everything done. Kimberly heads to the ladies’ room for a bit of a cry, but at least (a) the cameras didn’t go in and (b) Josh didn’t cause this ladies’ room breakdown.

Tim doesn’t mind the feathery look on Viktor’s first look, but the second is too bridal and suggest use of color. Kimberly’s first dress is giving her trouble, but she wants to see it on the model. Her second look looks like a tutu factory exploded and Tim calls it costume-y. He says to stop thinking and just feel, and gives her a hug for support. I do love Tim so. He’s a good guy and I’m still holding out hope for a tell-all a few years from now.

Kimberly worries that the dress looks too vulgar on her model, then, in frustration, she throws the dress on the table, where it’s burned by a glue gun. She has to make an entirely new dress in three hours in the polyester she bought for lining. Viktor still shreds fabric and gets pissed that her third look is very similar to his feather dress in shape.

Game Changer

On the day of the runway, Tim arrives and announces that only one of the two looks will walk the runway—designer’s choice. This gives the designers two hours to focus on the one look they want to send. Everyone is conflicted which look to show. After all the hair and makeup drama, it’s off to the show. The judges are Heidi, Michael, Nina, and Francisco Costa, Women’s Creative Director for the Calvin Klein Collection.

Viktor’s cockatoo gown is a long, flowing ivory affair, that is see-through enough to show that the short opaque skirt underneath stops at mid-thigh. There’s a bit of a hint of yellow in the feathers of this one shoulder design.
Kimberly’s also cockatoo gown, one shouldered, made of polyester. The chest region has a big opening and some pearl design accents.
Bert’s parrot inspired design, with a strapless sweetheart neckline/bodice and a multilayer skirt. It’s mostly grey, with a few pops of yellow and blue in the layers of the skirt.
Josh’s orange dress, asymmetrical tailoring, with a bit of flair on the one shoulder—a feather corsage, if you will.
Anya’s produces a highly structured LBD that the model had to be sewn into.
Laura’s black jacket with “feather” purple trim and super-tight black pants.

As the judges question Anya first, Heidi says the design is very fashion forward, and can see the raven, but it isn’t too costume-y. Michael thinks it is an easy to wear dress. Sadly no one points out the MODEL IS SEWN INTO THE DRESS!! Nina is impressed with Laura moving out of her comfort zone but thinks the feathers are too literal. Michael appreciates Laura’s not doing the expected and likes her hair and make up better. Anya takes this round.

Bert took his inspiration from the claws, and realizes that it isn’t his best work. Michael thinks the bustier is well-cut, but it lacks exuberance. Nina thinks it is generic and expected. Nina defends the use of color in the underskirts, but admits it didn’t work. Michael likes Josh’s cut and drape, and even the chain detail, but isn’t so happy with that feather corsage. Nina thinks it is a beautifully cut dress and Francisco is glad it isn’t too literal but shows the required exuberance. Josh takes the parrot round.

Kimberly explains the cockatoo was really soft and romantic. The judges heard that Kimberly’s previous dress burnt and the one on the runway was made in three hours. Michael isn’t keen on the pearl details, but loves the cut. Francisco is impressed with the draping; Nina doesn’t like the makeup but does find something seductive about the look. Viktor says he wanted to be whimsical, albeit a bit literal. Francisco loves it; Michael thinks it is well made but maybe a bit too literal. Nina thinks he went too much with the feathers and lost the balance of the dress. Kimberly takes the cockatoo round.

Deliberations roll along as usual with one noted difference—when Francisco asks Michael if he’d wear Josh’s dress, he admits he’s an orange kind of guy. Perhaps he should revisit his tanning person. The discussion lands on the only two un-liked outfits were Bert’s and Laura’s. Bert didn’t like the challenge and didn’t really focus on it well. Laura was just too damn literal.

They call the designers back out and Heidi crowns Anya as the clear winner of the challenge. Maybe with that $20K, she can buy some sewing lessons and learn how to place a zipper. Josh, Kimberly, and Viktor are all safe. Laura is then called in, and she tears up. Bert is now out; Heidi says they all think he’s a great designer but just didn’t have it together for this challenge. He knew he flubbed the challenge and wasn’t totally surprised. He was glad to finally be on friendly terms with the remaining designers, even Josh, and thought they were genuine in saying their good-byes.