We start this episode in good spirits, because our girl Amanda Valentine redeemed herself during last week's challenge.
Heidi Klum tells the crowd that the next challenge will remind them that fashion is timeless.
Enter the dancing grannies. Oh, hell yes.
Amanda admits that she's never designed for this age bracket, and she's nervous to get her POV across while catering to the whims of her client. Fortunately, Amanda's client, Rosalie, is a painter and loves color. Amanda is a whiz with awesome patterns, so this could be magical. Amanda also knows how to make clothing for real people above a size zero, so we think she's got this.
Carrying on the team challenge theme of this season (last week the contestants split from two big teams into pairs) Amanda and Benjamin are still on a team together, but they don't have to create coordinating outfits for their clients. So I'm not really sure how this is a team ... I guess one helps the other if they get in the weeds.
Amanda admits that her initial plan isn't working out — she's trying to do a structured dress with a flowy fabric, and she's uncertain of the length of the dress that her client requested. She admits early on that she's spinning to a dark place. Benjamin remarks that Amanda doesn't push the envelope enough — he's checking in with her a lot. Good teamwork, guys.
As Amanda consults with Tim, she admits she doesn't like her print because it looks like a vintage housecoat. Amanda says she's just trying to get through it.
Moustache calls Amanda and Benjamin's dresses frumpy. And the mudslinging begins!
Patricia, who is part of a three-way team (Tim Gunn's words, not mine) with Michelle and Layana, is making a potato sack, which is freaking her teammates out. Fortunately, she eventually jumps ship from this awful idea and starts over. Not that her next outfit is much better ... you'll see.
I feel like the first 45 minutes of the episode is focusing on Patricia and Amanda's struggles. Benjamin is worried about what Amanda is making. Michelle can't stand Patricia and doesn't understand why she's still in the competition. Hey, Project Runway producers, maybe you could focus more on the actual design and construction of the garments? Some of us are more interested in that than the various spats occurring in the workroom.
When Rosalie, Amanda's model comes in, she remarks that the dress looks "wild." It's coming together in an interesting way ... I actually like the front, the neckline is cool and I kind of dig the crazy print, which is definitely youthful and yes, a little "wild." But Amanda admits that she is terrified that her dress is going in the wrong direction, and that it's not right for Rosalie's body. Uh oh.
Actually, everyone seems pretty damn stressed. Designing for the silver sneakers crowd is tough people. For this challenge, the designers have to produce a garment that their client would actually wear, considering parts of their bodies that they want to highlight or conceal. And nobody wants to look frumpy.
Hey, where is Zac Posen? Did he get a hall pass this week? Who is going to fill in for him? Rachel Roy? Really? I can't speak to Roy's entire line of work, but the shit she sells at Macy's is godawful. It's like every bad trend in one place. Which is weird, because Roy is gorgeous and always looks incredible. Maybe her upscale stuff is superior — hey, I wouldn't judge any of the Target capsule collection designers on the stuff they proliferated through the megachain — but I've yet to investigate.
The other guest judges are Joan and Melissa Rivers. I've also yet to figure out why Joan Rivers has a show about fashion, because let's be honest: Lady looks like a train wreck going through a tunnel at high speed. She is hilarious, though, so at least this will be entertaining. And I suppose it was nice to bring her daughter along? Anyway.
The "mature ladies," as everyone safely refers to them, are super cute and sassy, parading down the runway like they've been doing this forever. Love them.
When Amanda's model walks the runway, it looks OK from the front. Not great, but not terrible. Honestly, I'd probably belt it and wear it, but my style aesthetic sometimes leans toward "slutty granny," so I may not be the best frame of reference on this. When Rosalie turns around, the mistakes are obvious, including a weird stitch in the center of the bottom hem of the skirt, and the judges see everything.
Moustache/Daniel and Samantha have the highest scores, with Daniel's sleek pantsuit and Samantha's Gaga-esque dress. Man, these two may be the ones to watch; they're nearly always in the top. They are lauded for catering to their clients' needs and sticking with their own unique style aesthetics.
Richard and Stanley are also in the top, and they are also ones to watch, as they've consistently pleased the judges each week. Stanley made a black pantsuit, too, and Richard made a colorblocked dress that catered to his client's request for comfort. Everyone is going nuts over Richard's dress — especially Rachel Roy — but I think it's heinous. What am I missing here?
When the judges give the bottom-scorers the chance to talk about their respective looks, Amanda explains that her client is a painter, musician and world traveler, so she wanted to incorporate all of that. Rachel says that it's clever to put an abstract print on a dress for a painter, but points out there are a lot of flaws. Heidi calls it "hippie," and I think she means like 1960s hippie, not that it draws attention to the hip area. Melissa thinks there is too much going on and that she tried to make a cake with whatever is in the kitchen. Mmm, cake. Nina says it looks like it's for a child. Joan does not like it either, but surprisingly, she does not slay Amanda with her legendary sharp tongue.
Benjamin's model says that he "read" her and she feels like a princess. But Heidi does not like it. At all. I mean, Klum is glowering at that shiny blue dress as she says it looks too tight. She even asks Benjamin's model if she's comfortable in it. The other judges seem to hate his dress even more than Amanda's.
As for the "teamwork" aspect, both Amanda and Benjamin say that they worked individually as much as possible.
Tu and Kate, also in the bottom, are brought back out, and Tu admits that his dress is a victim of "bad sewing." Aw. Poor Tu. He is so freaking sweet that you just have to cheer for him. His model admits she felt "let down" by the final result, which is basically a blah shirtdress that is barely held together with a belt. Kate's dress fares better, she was dragged down by Tu.
As they go backstage, Amanda says that she is clearly the one being eliminated. I'm not convinced. I feel like it might be Tu.
As the judges discuss, Joan says it looks like Amanda's client came out of a time machine. Melissa sticks up for Amanda, saying that at least she displayed some creativity. Perhaps Melissa recognizes the validity of the "slutty granny" look, too. Rachel says she has no trust in Amanda as a designer (hey Rachel, I have no trust in you as a designer, either). Heidi says she has no trust in Benjamin as a designer. OK, so she really hated that tight dress, right?
Woah. Is this between Amanda and Benjamin??
As the top contestants and the bottom contestants make their way back to the runway for the final ruling, Amanda is sure she's going home.
Stanley wins, no shocker there.
Amanda and Benjamin are in the bottom two. Oh my god. Sweet Tu is safe, but WTF?? Is this the end for Amanda?
No. Heidi tells Benjamin he is out. Amanda starts crying. When she walks backstage, everyone is excited to see her, although when they zoom in on Richard and Stanley, they look surprised, almost disappointed. No shocker there either, since Richard was quick to throw Amanda under the bus two challenges ago. Benjamin admits he's surprised and didn't think the right decision was made.
Well, what do you think?