One amazing product placement, four lucky ladies, one fabulous mentor!
So, the final four had nine thousand dollars (why not make it a more random number?) and six weeks to make a ten-piece collection. Tim drives all over the country to visit the designers. He also drives the Cadillac logo straight into our brains. We get it. It's a Cadillac. I'm convinced. I'll go buy one as soon as I finish writing this. Satisfied?
First off, Tim drives his magical Cadillac to the beautiful island of Oahu to visit Andy on the family farm:
Andy: "My parents own this huge piece of property on Oahu. Obviously, they want a better life for me."
OK, so Waianae is not the most prized real estate on the island, but still, they look like they are doing fine. There are probably worse things than owning a farm in Hawaii.
Andy has ordered all kinds of beautiful fabric and other crap from Laos. Tim is afraid it could look like a hot mess but I'm actually looking forward to seeing what he does with it.
Next, Tim visits Michael in Palm Springs. We meet his partner and finally start to understand what his deal is. Apparently, his partner just outed Michael to his parents a few years ago, because he has the most clueless parents on the planet. [I've been very confused about Michael's story and I think that was by design; he wanted to keep us guessing. I was confused by his audition video, in which we saw the contents of his refrigerator but no evidence of a child living in his house. Anyway, we finally learn that his son is from an arranged marriage. Subsequently, in interviews, we have learned that he has custody of his son and his ex-wife has sole custody of their daughter and they don't see each other. That's effed up. Still don't completely understand how he lets his family turn his life into a living hell. Is it purely about parental approval, or does it involve financial support or access to his children? Or is it all about trying to get his own television show?]
Anyway, Michael's collection is not looking bad. He has some nice pieces.
Next, Tim drives to Denver to visit Mondo in his full-Mondo studio space. Mondo is getting his inspiration from vintage Mexican circuses and the Day of the Dead. Love it.
We have dinner with Mondo's family and learn that he was forced to play baseball just so he could take piano lessons. That's nothing. I was forced to go deer hunting just so I could take my flower-aranging classes. Alright, I made that up.
Tim meets Gretchen somewhere in the 1980s. Her life has fallen apart. A long-term relationship has just failed:
Gretchen: "Can you believe I was accused of being difficult?"
Tim: "NO! THAT'S CRAZY!"
By the way, is there some reason we are being so vague about the "relationship"? Are we talking about a boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance, life-partner, or what? Just curious.
Gretchen: "Fine. It was my cat. My house cat, who I've been living with for six years, finally had enough and told me to leave. Now my bank account is empty and I have nowhere to live. I know what you're going to say: it was probably a bad idea to put the house in my cat's name and to get a joint checking account with my cat. I can see that now. But when you first get a cat, everything seems so wonderful. You just never think it's going to end like this."
Tim: "Girlfriend, I totally understand. How do you think I ended up in New York."
Well, as bad as her life is, her collection is way worse. So that should be some comfort.
Tim: "People will either love it or hate it. Most likely, they'll hate it."
The designers meet in New York and Tim tells them they will be creating three-look mini-collections, using two looks from their existing collections and one new look that they will create in two days.
Mondo wastes one day on an ugly jersey dress and has to start over. Michael doesn't know which two looks to pick from his collection. Tim tells Gretchen it doesn't matter which looks she chooses:
Tim: "Seriously, you can just randomly grab pieces from your collection and it won't make any difference."
Gretchen: "Thanks, Tim! That makes me feel so much better!"
It does? Why?
On to the runway, with Heidi, Nina, and Michael:
Andy - His first look is a silver satin romper. His second look is satin underwear, which was the most ridiculous choice he could have made. Why would he show that? His third look is his new look and it is a beautiful pleated green dress. I don't see any influence from Laos in his looks. He had all that plain satin fabric shipped from Laos? Why? You can buy that anywhere. I don't get it. I guess the weird little headpieces came from Laos. They didn't work. The judges don't see much range in his mini-collection. Andy thinks the satin romper is daywear, which makes Nina roll her eyes.
Michael - His first look is his new look and it is a beautiful and fairly underwhelming gown. His second look is a dress with an unflattering feather skirt. His third look is the best and it has a really interesting fringe top over a surprisingly flattering sequined pant. I can't imagine anyone actually wearing a sequined pant, but they look good. The main problem is that his mini-collection is all the same color of brown. He tells the judges he thought that would make it a collection, which makes Nina roll her eyes.
Gretchen - Her first look is her new piece and it is a cute little casual dress. I like it from the front, although it looks a little like it's made out of a potato sack. The back is ridiculous. The thing attaching the neck to the hem of the skirt is interesting but completely impractical for daywear. If you got that tangled on something, you would choke to death! Her second look is a really ugly print top and clashing print pant. Her third look is about the most freakish thing I've ever seen. A shiny leather robe that doesn't close in front, exposing a pair of granny panties that are designed to look like the model's hoohoo is showing! What the Hell?! I like unusual designs, but this just looks like a horrible, horrible mistake. The judges, of course, describe it as "wearable." I'm wondering which one of the judges would wear that. Gretchen tells the judges she wanted to save her best pieces for the real runway show, which makes Nina roll her eyes.
Mondo - His first look is a cute shorts outfit with mixed prints. He made a bag out of the dress that Tim thought looked too junior, which was pretty genius. His second look is his new look and it is a cute print skirt with a blue jersey top. His third look is a fabulous polkadot gown. He went full-Mondo on that dress. Very few designers could get away with that print for a formal gown, but I think he pulls it off. The judges don't all agree on the dress. Michael and Nina think he crossed the line into costume. Heidi loves it, which makes Nina roll her eyes.
Michael Kors: "I just hope the circus doesn't come to town, because we are not here to have fun!"
Mondo is in (duh).
Gretchen or Andy should have been out. If that was the best they have to offer, I'm not very excited about seeing their full collections. But they are both safe.
Michael is out. I understand the problems the judges had with his mini-collection, but I still think this was the wrong decision. He doesn't take it well:
Michael (aka The Effortless Sheikh): "Tim, please don't make me go home! My parents will force me to impregnate another woman!"
OK, he's really starting to scare me.
Tune in next week when the waiting is over and Mondo finally wins this thing!