It’s the pre-finale show! The last four designers get to go home and create their fashion week collection. There will be laughter, there will be tears, there will be copious amounts of making it work.
Traditionally this is my least favorite episode of the season. It’s fun to see Tim out of New York, but you only get frustrating glimpses of the final ten looks and the whole thing is obviously just a prelude to the grand finale at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. This year was no different.
We start with the Gunn going to visit Kimberly in Maryland, where she apparently lives near a goat farm*. Her line is inspired by her youth in Brooklyn, with an “urban girl transformed” vibe. Tim is happy; his only note is that she should take some risks and wow the judges. They leave the studio and retire to the dining room for mojitos and snacks with a few of Kimberly’s close friends and family.
Next he gets to go to Trinidad to visit with Anya, lucky bastard. They have a little sit-down with two of Anya’s brothers and talk about how excited they are that people are starting to see their sister as more than a pretty face. Down in her workroom, Anya shows Tim her inspiration wall and her fabrics, but when he asks about the actual clothes, there is a lot of hemming and hawing before she admits that she has been stuck in a rut and hasn’t really made anything yet. Now, either her studio isn’t air conditioned, or Tim is extremely distressed by the lack of fashion, because he is visibly sweating by the end of their discussion. If you ask me, it could go either way.
I’d just like to stop here and say that Tim Gunn is what I aspire to be when it comes to social grace. No matter where he goes or how the designers decide to entertain him, he is classy, cheerful, and at ease. It never ceases to amaze me.
Back in New York, Tim first visits Viktor. Viktor’s collection is called “Urban Coast” and it was inspired by a trip to Mexico for his brother’s death anniversary. Tim’s only note is that the grand finale gown falls a little flat. Otherwise Viktor is rockin’ it. We spend some time with Viktor and his boyfriend David, and then it’s time to move on.
Lastly we visit Joshua, who is also in New York. He takes Tim out to a nice lunch with his sister and we learn that Joshua is also behind on his sewing, used to be a track star, and has a tiny apartment. In the tiny apartment, Joshua shows off the vintage print that is the springboard for his collection. Tim’s opinion, and I quote, “This print, I think it’s one of the homeliest textiles I’ve ever seen in my entire life… It makes me want to weep.” Joshua has no words. There is much work to be done.
At the end of the construction period, everyone comes back together in a glamorous penthouse suite. It didn’t hit me until now, but this is the first season I can remember where we get to this point without any major feuds. Usually when they all reunite, there is at least one person who has to come in saying “Hi everyone, sorry I was such a bitch before!”
In the new workroom, everyone unpacks their looks while the other designers trash talk them on the confession cam. There is no surprise challenge this year; they just have to pick three looks for a mini-runway show so the judges can decide who goes to fashion week. What follows is about twenty minutes of running, wailing, and gnashing of teeth while everyone prepares for the mini-show.
Nothing really wowed me in the mini-collection. Viktor has a pair of pants that look like the model is walking around with a purple Eiffel Tower on her crotch. Anya’s evening gown looks like something I could have made with a shiny gold shower curtain and a few safety pins. Kimberly has chosen a palate of hot pink and royal blue that would be at home in 1987 and her evening gown brings to mind a sequined black trash bag. Joshua, of course, takes the WTF cake with an outfit that is a loosely draped black gown in the front and a black spandex catsuit with an unexplained gap in the back. It’s like she’s wearing a dress bib, and no one understands it.
In the judging, Anya get criticized for two of her looks and her styling, but the critique sounds very much like the judges are giving her advice for what to do before the big show. Kimberly and Viktor also missed the mark with their styling and Kimberly gets a little flack about her stiff bubble-butt skirt (but none for the dress that I think looks like a big sparkly sack). In a surprise twist, Joshua is the only one who managed to pull off sleek, smooth styling that accentuates his fashions.
Joshua and Viktor get passed on to fashion week with ease, the big debate comes down to Kimberly and Anya. After the dramatic music, Kimberly gets moved on to the winners’ circle and Anya is left standing sad and alone on the stage. Just before she passes out in a puddle of miserable goo, they tell her that she will be showing at fashion week, too! OMG WHAT A HUGE SURPRISE. Not really. I think she was the clear choice to go home here, but they didn’t want her to go so they just said “Fuck it, we’ll do four this year.” Joshua was seriously pissed. He is so ready to be declared the winner that every other competitor is a roadblock he wants to shove out of the way. Personally, I think he has a very slim chance of winning the whole shebang. If Anya beats him, they’d better make sure he isn’t hiding a shank in his pocket before he leaves the building.
*I am slightly obsessed with goats. If city ordinances allowed, I would have a pair of goats so I never had to mow my lawn again. And I could make my own goat cheese!