Inspiration
Project Runway 2: Episode 8


Accessorize, baby! Firstly, let me apologize for losing most of my enthusiasm for this show and channeling my lack of enthusiasm in this recap. Not that I want to moan and gripe, but I honestly wish I'm recapping Project Catwalk instead of this show. By comparing the two episodes that air in the same week, this one and the Project Catwalk episode where the Fashionistas design a trendy urban femaleswear for country menswear line Barbour, I feel so excited and fascinated by the designs of the Project Catwalk Fashionistas, with the designs by Christopher, Matthew, Marianne, Shakeel, Kirsty, and Lesley all making a good impression on me. Even at their worst, these Fashionistas are so exciting and they insert much creativity in their works. Even Matthew's red coat, the most ordinary design, is so beautiful that I want one for myself. The models walk better, they sell the dresses so much more effectively, and I have a bizarre fascination with the way Julien Macdonald moves his lips when he speaks. Maybe I shouldn't have watched both shows back to back because while Project Catwalk has flaws (it doesn't show the designs enough and there's too much personal drama taking up screentime) the Runway shows on Project Catwalk always have me fascinated, delighted, and thrilled at the same time. The Runway music for this particular episode is especially great! Sampling Bette Davis's Eyes like that is a work of genius; whose track is that they are using? All in all, perhaps it's true, European fashion sensibilities are much more adventurous than that of the Americans. Oh, and Matthew is unbelievably adorable. Can I keep him, people?

Back to this show - sigh - previously, Sasha Cohen wanted a new skating dress. Santino made her a turkey suit and Emmett made her a boring typical skater's outfit and the judges decided that at least Santino was, er, creative enough so he would remain while Emmett was given the cut. Also, Zulema won her first challenge ever. This week, it's on step closer to the inevitable final four of Chloe, Santino, Nick, and Dan. Who among Kara, Zulema, and Andrať will be cut in this episode?

Morning at the Apartments. As Zulema goes about performing her morning rituals, she says aloud that she didn't sleep well last night and therefore she didn't feel good. I think the show wants me to believe that she spent the whole night plotting the destruction of her fellow competitors but maybe Zulema can't sleep well because she has cramps, who knows. Zulema tells the camera that she doesn't want to get sidetracked by her win because anyone can be eliminated at this point. Over at the guys' apartment, as they munch on a quick breakfast and Nick is wearing this utterly ridiculous Power Rangers meets Ultraman pair of shades, Santino tells the camera that he made a "pretty ridiculous and horrible" outfit in the previous challenge so he's ready to get serious and do something not so over-the-top. In short, he'll do his best, he promises.

At the Runway at Parsons, Heidi greets the Fashionistas and tells them that this challenge will be a test on the things that drive the Fashionistas' creativity as fashion designers. No, they aren't going to design clothes out of dollar bills, in case you're wondering. Andrať has his open-mouth expression to greet Heidi's annoucement because apparently even the concept of the Fashionistas being creative shocks him to the core. Heidi adds that this challenge is all about inspirations and she'll send them off for a talk with the Mighty Ogre about inspirations. After all, the Mighty Ogre is a very inspirational fellow. He will also brief the Fashionistas further about the challenge.

But first, the matter with Shannon, Emmett's model, has to be dealt with. Since Zulema is the winner of the previous challenge, however, she won't just ask Rachael to stick with her like anyone else would. She tells Heidi that she'd like to trade Rachael for someone else and asks Heidi to bring out all the remaining models onto the Runway. Rachael actually looks stunned and upset when Zulema asks Heidi to do this, although I suspect that she's more upset about being publicly rejected instead of being rejected by Zulema. When the models are standing on the Runway, Zulema asks Tarah, Danyelle, and Shannon to walk off for Zulema. In the meantime, Andrať's mouth is wide open enough to actually swallow a Big Mac whole. "It's a motherfucking walk-off!" Dan tells the camera. Yes, dear, I can see that. Heidi raises her eyebrows because she's secretly enjoying the drama Zulema is creating, I suspect. She tells the models to step back so that the three models selected by Zulema can walk down the Runway for Zulema. Nick tells the camera that he is expecting all along for Zulema to do something like this, oh dear. Dan, looking way too thrilled for his own good, tells the camera that there is obvious tension among the Fashionistas.

Tarah walks, looking not pleased at all at having to do so, judging from her expression. If I'm her, I'd deliberately "slip" and fall clumsily in front of Zulema, but I guess these ladies are too scrupulous for such a dirty trick. Santino unnecessarily tells the camera that until this point pretty much everyone but Zulema is content to stick with his or her model - or, as Santino stupidly puts it, "is loyal to the model" - and Zulema asking for a walk-off makes things a little more interesting today. Now Danyelle walks, her face is like, "Oh please, who does that bitch think she is?" Shannon now walks. Zulema tells the camera that she doesn't have time to study all the "girls" and since those models are wearing the same black slip dress on the Runway, she feels she can reasonably gauge how good they are in walking and selling a design by asking for a walk-off among the models. That makes sense and I cannot fault Zulema for taking advantage of an opportunity given to her by the producers of the show, but Zulema is doing things all wrong. But I'll get into that later. For now, Dan tells the camera that everyone is hoping that she doesn't grab his or her model. Since only Tarah, Danyelle, and Shannon are considered by Zulema, I don't know why Dan includes himself in the drama.

Back to Zulema, she chooses Tarah. She then turns around to tell Nick that she's sorry to steal Tarah from him. Poor Rachael and Nick look like they're going to burst into tears any moment now while Tarah pouts sadly. Nick tells the camera that his throat "literally" fell into his stomach when Zulema picked Tarah and he wanted to throw up. He also adds that he feels that Zulema wanted to pick Tarah all along and her request for a walk-off is just Zulema being dramatic. Nick, of course, isn't given to overwrought flights of dramatics at all, nope! Of course Zulema wants Tarah all along because Tarah is Nick's model and the whole world revolves around Nick! Pffft. As for Zulema, I wonder whether she realizes that her apology can be easily misinterpreted to be added insult to Nick. I mean, if someone steals my model after making a big show about it and then turn to apologize to me after she's poached on my turf, I'd have a hard time biting my tongue from responding with a dirty word. What is Zulema thinking, to ask for a walk-off like that? Sure, she's within her rights to do so, but will she die if she just quietly picks Tarah? I'm not saying that she's wrong to take Tarah as her new model, I'm just saying that Zulema surely can't be so clueless as to assume that the other Fashionistas will smile and wave off her antics before acting as if nothing has changed? Zulema is a woman who, without prompting, alienates her apartment-mates by hogging the wardrobe and telling Marla to be grateful that Zulema is willing to lend her one freaking clothes hanger. This woman is so clueless when it comes to reading the people around her, I'm not sure whether to laugh at her or be amazed at her lack of self-awareness.

Heidi announces that with Tarah now paired with Zulema, Rachael is now Nick's model and Shannon is going back to the wardrobe. Rachael nods sadly and Nicks nods more vehemently at Rachael before shrugging sadly. Is he expecting her to feel sorry for him? He lost a model, which is fine and dandy, but Rachael has been stood up at the prom, so to speak, in the second reality TV show that she appears in. That must hurt more than Nick is hurting. That is, if we're assuming that Rachael is not crying in joy at being freed from Zulema. Nick says that Rachael is "very, very angry" and she is looking at him like she can't believe that "the bitch" did what she did and of course Nick looks back and he's like, yeah, he can't believe it either. Of course, that's how Nick reads Rachael's reaction as and he's obviously assuming that Rachael is angry with Zulema because Zulema made Nick's life difficult. Who knows what Rachael is really thinking and feeling? Maybe she's crying in joy because Zulema isn't going to boss her around anymore, who knows? zulema says that she has to change models because "my model", as Zulema's puts it, can't walk. Yeah, I really don't think Zulema knows Rachael's name. Zulema says that if Nick doesn't like it, tough. He can win the next challenge and get Tarah back then. She says it like she knows she'll be around by the next challenge, heh. Zulema makes it too easy for people to call her a bitch and hold that against her.

With the drama finally concluded, Heidi sends the Fashionistas off to the inspirational session with the Mighty Ogre. Thanks, Dan, for the pointless recap of what Heidi just said two seconds ago! The Mighty Ogre greets them and sits them down where he gives this corny speech about needing inspiration. He shows off his latest line that he says is inspired what he calls "Hawaii'ana in the '40s", which is pretty much a photo of Doris Duke. Take note that this collection has lots of flowery motives. Lots of them. The Mighty Ogre then shows off a box of goodies for the Fashionistas. It's an Olympus digital camera for each of them, although if you can't catch the brand, the Mighty Ogre takes pains to mention the name slowly so that you can remember it and buy one the next time you go shopping. The Mighty Ogre wants them to go around New York and snap lots of pictures with the camera. They will pick a best photo from their collection and use that photo as an inspiration for their next design. This is a great challenge. Naturally, this show will find plenty of ways to screw it up. When the predictable chorus of "No!" dramatics arise, I realize that somehow I can no longer tell apart Andrať's voice from Dan's. Whoever it is that says "No! This is brilliant!", Andrať or Dan, has me wondering when it makes sense to use "No" when you're praising something for being fabulous. Andrať has to get the last word as the Fashionistas leave the smarmily smirking the Mighty Ogre - "Alright! Wow!" This guy never runs out of oxygen and I salute him for that.

Let loose on the streets, the Fashionistas put their digital cameras to use and misuse. Nick, his shoulders swaying to some music only he can hear in his mind, tells the camera that they have one hour to take photos. The show wants the Fashionistas to be inspired, but the inspiration obviously has to come in one hour. To Chloe and Kara, Nick says that he doesn't want to follow Santino because he knows that Santino will "go crazy". Santino is running around snapping photos, not looking that crazy which must disappoint the passive-aggressive Nick if he expects Santino to pine away for him, and he tells the camera that he thinks snapping photos like what he is doing is a cool way to start a challenge. He explains that he walks from 7th to 30th St and he took many amazing pictures on the way. Chloe snaps pictures of buildings because she likes lines. Nice way of saying "I will make another blue spaghetti strap dress" there, I must say. Kara takes a close-up photo of a "Warning: no trespassing" sign and says that her design will be inspired by the signs she see such as "Danger!" and "No trespassing!" That's a nice concept, although thanks to Diana we all know that conceptualisation has no place in fashion according to Tim Gunn, and I have a hunch that the design would be most interesting indeed if everything goes well. As Andrať examine some blooms on sale from a roadside stall, Dan asks him to get his head out of Dan's picture. What, Andrať isn't inspirational enough for Dan? Zulema notices a lady in a beautiful red traditional African garb and takes a shot of this lady. She says to the camera that this photo will be her inspiration.

Meanwhile, Chloe tells Nick that he is hardly shooting anything. Nick moans that his inspiration is lost because his model is lost. Yeah, like he'll find Tarah wandering on the streets and get a picture of her. He wonders whether he should respect Zulema's decision that has caused him tension. Yeah, because the whole world is at the edge of the seat waiting in bated breath to hear Nick whine about how bad the world has treated him. Nick babbles about how if you're not kind, you'll not get kindness back. After all, this competition is all about being kind to other people. Remember making fun of other people's designs, Nick? Remember "whickety-whack"? Let me get my violin ready the next time he wants to launch into his blue little song so that I can happily smash the violin over his head. And sheesh, Nick is still wearing those ridiculous Judge Dredd shades. When the Fashionistas meet up, Santino shows off a shot of a shot of an old lady giving the camera the bird. Andrať asks how Santino managed to get that shot. Let me guess: he stood by a postcard stall and took a picture? Just a thought.

Back at Parsons, the Fashionistas demonstrate how they get their photos printed from the printer to convince me that I need at least ten of those Olympus digital cameras. Nick, still swaying his shoulders to the music only he can hear, pointlessly tells the camera what the Fashionistas are supposed to do in this challenge in case I am somehow overcome with tears at Nick's dreadful plight that I forget all about it. Santino picks a photo of overlapping graffiti on the wall. He thinks it will be a challenge to pick something with so many layers - uh oh, did he say layers? - and turn it into something resembling "high-art couture". Dan shows off a photo that he has picked to Chloe who admires how pretty it is. Dan chooses a photo of two stalks of orchids in a pot found in the lobby of the Mighty Ogre's studio, saying to the camera that it's the first photo he took with his camera. Apparently beauty inspires him the most.

On the other hand, Andrať explains to the camera that during his photoshooting, he was struck by how light shines on and is reflected by the rocks among a pool of water in the gutter and the photo he took of this will be his inspiration for his design. He says that he loves to make beautiful things out of objects that are "humble or lowly or ugly". Bless him, that must be the nicest thing ever said in a confessional in this season. Zulema is seated right across from Nick all this while, which must surely be helping Nick concentrate, I tell you. But of course, Nick has to remain seated in that place so that he can be more a martyr. He tells the camera that he can't think, he can't concentrate, his mood is not an upbeat one, and oh yes, he is usually inspired by his models. Do you know that Zulema stole his model? That bitch! Meanwhile, he half-heartedly chooses a photo of some fabric with a cathedral-window motive and lets Chloe take it, although I have no idea why she will want to take that picture. Maybe the photos are collected to be examined and approved by someone to make sure that no one creates something naughty out of an inappropriate photo. The Bravo channel is always concerned about making sure that its shows are family-friendly as much as possible!

Tim shows up and asks them to gather around. He then launches into a lecture about how the Fashionistas are slipping in terms of the quality of their work, although why he and the producers are so concerned, I have no idea since they will praise everything Chloe and Dan make anyway. He tells them that it's "tough love time" because he thinks that their work in the last few weeks are "lacklustre". Does that mean that Tim Gunn was lying when he told Chloe that her dresses were beautiful? Is he admitting that he is lying through his teeth when he told Dan that he found Dan and Andrať designing something nice for Banana Republic? Oh no, is this show based on lies? Here I am thinking that it's all about integrity, honest sportsmanship, and talent! Dan tells the camera what Tim is doing at that moment because there is a possibility that I may be watching but not listening in the last five seconds of the show. I understand that this affliction is common about Dan fans in online forums out there as they go on and on about how Dan must win because he is so hot. Tim reveals that Dan's early designs excited him - those early dresses that he didn't bother commenting much on in the show - but his later designs, such as the recent Banana Republic design that Tim praised to no end, lacked momentum. Tim asks Chloe to step out of his comfort zone. Hmm, and since Tim has been complimenting Chloe week after week for her use of the color blue in all her freaking designs, again, is Tim lying now or what? I'm so confused.

Tim asks Zulema to take risks like Santino, Chloe, and Nick have been doing week after week. Zulema thinks that it isn't so much about her not taking risks as much as she is keeping things simple due to her time management issues. The time management issue is going to come up a few more times in this episode so take note, folks. Tim tells Zulema that the judges don't care about her time management skills or lack of and adds that the judges "accept the time constraints". Zulema tells the camera that she's going to "push it more" and be two times better than before in this challenge. Tim tells Kara that she hasn't won a single challenge, which is apparently a bad thing even if Jay, the winner of the previous season, hadn't won a single challenge either. Tim tells Kara to design something that doesn't look like it could be bought from Madison Avenue. What, is Banana Republic some high fashion label now? Tim pretends that Santino is in serious jeopardy and Santino tells the camera that gosh, Tim is right and he's going to be more serious from now on. Give me a break. This show can't get any more contrived if Tim asks the Fashionistas to hold hands and sing kumbayah. Tim tells Nick and Andrať to be more ambitious and Nick is like, hello, he is ambitious and this is it, he's so OVAH this show to the camera. I wish I can order a huge helping of bitchslaps for this dweeb.

With the contrived "let's still pretend that this show has anything to do with talent" talk over, Tim lets the Fashionistas head over to Mood, where, as Dan explains to the camera, they are given $100 and thirty minutes to shop. He also says that he is given a reality check by Tim and he is going to be more creative. Or something. I may care if there is any chance that the judges will actually be critical of his designs instead of fellating him all the way to the final three. Tim asks Dan to show him Dan's inspiration and Dan shows him the photo, talking about how he is inspired by "Japanese sleekness". Tim says that the photo is "exciting", as if there is any chance that he will find something about Dan that is not exciting. Yeesh, I'm so over this show, I tell you. I'm turning into Nick. Yucks. As Dan examines the fabrics on sale, he tells the camera that he wants to plan the textures of his design very carefully. The bottom will be liquor-stretch tweed and the top will be a "beautiful silk orienza" of light champagne. Santino asks for chiffons of grey and other assortment of colors. He tells the camera that he wants to do something "tasteful and beautiful". Don't everyone? Santino eventually finds a fabric of the same gradient of blue to purple that matches the color of the background in his photo. "It's a stroke of good luck," he voices over to the camera.

Instead of letting them shop in peace, Tim continues to eat away at the Fashionistas' precious thirty minutes to ask them to show him their "inspiration". Zulema tells Tim that she plans to make "one dress". She tells Tim that she doesn't work with "darks" - I know, Zulema, I know - so designing this dress is something new for her. She is obviously trying to get Tim to realize that she's taking risks in this challenge but Tim isn't so interested in hearing what she has to say. She isn't Dan, Chloe, or Nick, after all. Nick calls Tim over and he just have to say that he is perplexed over what he should buy, given that his model has been snatched by Zulema. Yup, time to bring out the violins again! Tim makes a dramatic expression of shock and asks what happened, which is, of course, what Nick wants to hear. Tim rubs the sides of his head as he tells Nick that Zulema's model is like "an elongated marshmallow" that can't walk with her "Gumby legs". "She's such a problem! She's just a stiff!" Tim goes and Nick goes, "Yeah! Yeah!" Tim tells Nick that he has more than the challenge to worry about and Nick goes, "Yeah! Exactly!" And then Nick walks off without waiting for Tim to advise him because he never really wanted advice as much as someone for him to bitch and moan to. Poor Rachael. I hope that when she runs off into that bathroom to cry again after watching those two men talk about her like that on TV, she will remember that Nick is a 38-year old self-pitying drama queen who dresses up like a bad parody of Danny Zuko while Tim can't even come off as sincere when he actually is sincere. She may be a bad walker, although I don't think she's that bad or even close to being bad, but she's not pathetic.

Dramatic music plays as the Fashionistas head back to the Sweatshop because they are all so nervous after that dramatic wake-up talk by Tim... or maybe the editors just put that music in without knowing what they are doing. By the way, Andrať may be wearing tight light blue jeans instead of those orange shorts but he's still dangling, if you get my drift. And he has pretty attractive shoulders that I never notice until now, hmm. Then again, I have to squint hard nowadays to find things on this increasingly contrived and ersatz show to be excited about.

Six hours until deadline. Folks, the Fashionistas have only six hours to work on their inspiration. I'm surprised this episode isn't called McInspire, given how it seems to be looking for the next fast-food equivalent of a designer instead of an actual and functional designer that doesn't create the same dress over and over again. As the Fashionistas settle down to sketch and work, Dan notices that Nick looks fed up and frustrated, just like how Nick wants everyone to see him, I'd bet. Dan tells the camera that he has a close relationship to Nick and he feels that Nick is "worn down a little bit" by the walk-off. Everyone has a breaking point, he tells the camera. Thanks, Mr Insightful. Dan asks Nick what Nick is thinking. Nick says that he isn't thinking because he's done. He sounds like a passive-aggressive wife trying to not-so-subtly prod the husband into asking why she looks like she's sucked one lemon too many so that she can lash out loud and proud to her heart's content. Dan says, "It's fucked up." What, the walk-off? Zulema may be a drama queen bitch about the walk-off but she was perfectly within reason to ask for one, given that Heidi allowed it and the producers allowed it. Is it "fucked up" to switch models like the rules allowed Zulema to? Of course not. Why are these people acting as if Zulema has violated some unspoken codex of fairplay when she is just taking advantage of a rule of the competition? Strange, really.

Nick gives this whole "I don't care! I'm done!" drama-queen ramble to Dan that has Dan saying just what Nick wants to hear: Nick is too talented, Nick shouldn't go home like this, boo-hoo-hoo. Nick says that he doesn't want to be here anymore. He sniffs for effect. Unless there's something the show is not revealing to me, like Nick is buckling under the constant pressure and the insane breakneck pacing of the competition, Nick comes off like a huge crybaby because Zulema grabbed his model. I hope he's more adaptable to changes outside this competition! Nick tells the camera that Dan is only 24 but he gives Nick this grown-up speech that has Nick thinking that maybe Dan's right after all. Yeah, like it's surprising that Dan or anyone else would behave in a more mature manner than Nick here. At least Nick is no longer swaying his shoulders like a deranged Vidal-Sassoon commercial actress in his confessional, I suppose. Nick is going to go for gold, yadda yadda yadda, and the theme of Chariots Of Fire really should have been played in this confessional for added drama-queen effect.

Five and a half hours until deadline. Everyone works until it's eight forty-five in the evening and the Fashionistas take a dinner break (the show helpfully mentions that it's three and a half hours until deadline). Here, Zulema sits by the side while the others eat at a table. Zulema tells the camera that she doesn't understand "these people" and feels like she's in kindergarten again because "these people" aren't speaking to her at all. As Nick talks about Meryl Steep getting cast in a movie project to the others, Zulema watches them and tells the camera that the other Fashionistas are cordial to her but they also behave warily around her. She insists that she's isn't "shysty" like the others think she is. Um, obviously Zulema really doesn't read the room well and she has no idea how she comes off as to the others. Is she really this socially-inept? She pulled off a stunt at the Runway earlier today that was pretty much a bullet fired to the feet of the others. She told them that she'd poach their models. Seeing how some of these Fashionistas are incapable of emotional perspective, I'm surprised that Zulema expects the others to act as if nothing has changed between them. Zulema says that she will keep changing models when she wins and really, it's nothing personal, just she wanting to win.

Okay, I'm all for that sentiment, but when I think about how Zulema behaves towards other people, like how she acts like a haughty me-me-me bitch around her roommates, I feel that Zulema makes it very hard for people to separate the personal from the business when it comes to Zulema. When you keep hurting people's feelings unnecessarily, people will find it very easy to take things personally against you. What Zulema is saying makes plenty of sense but what she did, however, was tantamount to her putting a sign over her chest asking everyone to hate her. There's wanting to win and doing things to win, and then there's Zulema, who acts like she was on a crazy power-trip and she was enjoying every minute of it when she tormented Andrať and Nick by asking for the walk-off. Zulema makes it too easy for the others to believe that she's being a bitch again rubbing her recent win and her temporary powers over the others in their faces. What the other Fashionistas are doing to Zulema isn't nice but I can understand why they behave that way to Zulema. Finally Zulema has had enough being ocstracized, says "Excuse me!" that the others don't acknowledge, and returns to the Sweatshop to pin her name over her skating outfit that has joined the other winning outfits of previous challenges in a corner. She resumes working on her dress with a vengeance, a big "WIN" scrawled on her notepad.

Three hours to deadline. Santino is once more imitating Tim as he praises Dan's outfit for being "delicious". Is Santino mocking the fact that Dan is the judges' new golden boy? I'm starting to like Santino. "Designers! Rock the kasbah!" Santino continues in his hilarious Tim imitation, sending the others around him into fits of giggles. Dan tells the camera that he asks Santino to do impersonations of Tim when Dan needs a laugh during some bad mood. Santino continues, "Designers! Up until now you all fucking suck! However... go out there and kick butt!" Everyone is giggling now because Santino is really being hysterically funny. It's like Tim Gunn is voicing over in the show, that's how eeriely perfect Santino's mimicry of that man is. And then our "helpful" Tim shows up to tell them what is wrong about their work when it's too late to do anything much to change these mistakes and the giggles die abruptly. As Tim approaches Nick, Andrať dramatically clutches his head and whispers to the camera, "That was close!" Yes, dear, it is, snicker. Nick explains his design in terms of a bias-cut skirt to Tim and Tim asks Nick to make sure that Rachael walks well because Tim thinks Rachael walks like a "stiff". Tim thinks that Santino is "there" and will "show them". Tim tells Andrať to be more ambitious, like Nick making that bias-cut skirt that he has never done before. Tim also thinks that Kara is being too literal. Kara tells the camera that she doesn't know what to do, honestly, while Tim tells Kara that she's becoming more of a joke than being witty.

Meanwhile, Zulema tells Tim that she has done the top but she has no idea how to design the bottom. Tim brings up Zulema's time management issues, maybe in a sneaky attempt to ruin her focus and sow some doubts in her. Zulema tells the camera that she needs things to be made properly because she doesn't know how to make things "improperly". See? She could have just said that she is a perfectionist but no, she has to twist her words to make it sound like she's blowing her own trumpet and saying that she can never make a bad dress. Zulema gives too many things for her detractors to criticize her for being an arrogant bitch. Tim told her to be ambitious earlier so she's now going to be just that instead of just making "something" to prove to Tim that she can really be ambitious. Or something like that. Tim sees Dan and tells Dan that the gob of fabric on the model is "stunning". Perhaps Tim will say that Dan's design is "stunning" when Dan has just draped a measuring tape around the mannequin's neck? "Oh, Dan, that is a creative and ambitious use of an unusual design prop! I take back what I said about me being genuinely worried about you, you are the winner - hurrah!" Tim cautions Dan against overloading the design with trims and what-not, telling Dan not to fall for the "Santino effect". Oops, Santino is just over there and he is listening to every word Tim has to say! Tim says that he meant what he said "only in the nicest way". Santino says that it's okay, he now knows what people say about him when he's not around.

Tim now tells everyone that there are two and a half hours left. After he has told Kara and Zulema how screwed-up their designs are, he tells everyone to forget any self-doubts and "just do it". That's nice, Tim. Thanks for the useful advice sessions! "Blow the judges away!" says Tim. Of course, for some, like Dan and Chloe, it's the other way around when it comes to, er, how the wind is blowing, so to speak. Tick, tick, tick as the Fashionistas work and Dan tells the camera that this is the "fucking fashion design marathon" and "iron man triathlon of fashion" because they have a shorter time in this challenge than in the past. Dan is also so insightful in his confessional, and he is hot too, squee! Meanwhile, Zulema tells the camera in resignation that time is almost up but she has nothing to show for her work. She will think of something the next day, she says confidently, although she isn't sure whether she will like what that something is, heh.

Later that night, Nick continues to play the wronged victim of Zulema. He wants to "cut" Zulema but he's over that - which is why he won't shut up about it - and he will take back Tarah the next time he wins a challenge. "You wanna fuck me? Well, you can't!" he snarls for effect. It probably never occurs to him that he has just lost a model, not a kidney. It's not like he will be using only Tarah as a model for his clothes for the rest of his career. The show wants me to jump on the Zulema hate bandwagon so it shows Zulema moping around in bed, as if she's about to be stabbed by Nick's righteous blades of anger and I should be hating her for daring to steal Nick's model like that. Yeah, and I'm sure the show will take on an equally misguidedly righteous tone if Nick steals Zulema's model, just as I'm sure the show never really set up to let the Fashionistas that win a challenge to pick another model to switch with his or her current model.

It's now morning, day of the Runway. Kara wakes Zulema up, reminding her that they all have fifteen minutes to get ready. Zulema reluctantly gets out of bed, saying that she hates this particular morning. She says to the camera that the stakes in the competition are now higher and it would mean "everything" if she wins the competition. She can start her own line, for example - the most colorless line in the world, no doubt, with everything in shades of white and black - and adds, "And anyone who says they're not here to win should go home now, because they've already lost!" While I'm not sure about the "they've already lost!" part, I have to say that I have to agree with Zulema because it always annoys me when reality TV show contestants claim that they are on the show for friendship or what-not. Give me a break. Nobody quits a job to be on TV for friendship or adventures. They all want money, fame, and groupies. This show obviously disagrees because they show me next a scene of the four men in the other apartment consolidating their buddy-wuddiness over Andrať's insistence that they are always ready to, um, do whatever it is they want to do. This show is all about fair play and love, people. Even Santino is a good guy now and I should love him back. And they're all friends and so talented too! I want to have their babies, squee! Nick is still wearing his Judge Dredd glasses, by the way. Maybe he wants to hide his red-rimmed eyes from the cameras after a long night of forcing himself to produce fountains after fountains of copious tears to celebrate his victimhood on this show.

At the Sweatshop, Tim is here to remind the working the Fashionistas that their models are here and they have an hour to doll the models up for the Runway. To continue with the show's adding wood into the pyre for Zulema's upcoming burning, Tarah tells the camera that she doesn't like Zulema's outfit at all, it isn't finished when she gets there (Zulema says that she will sew the outfit onto Tarah), and Zulema keeps poking her with needles. Oh, that poor dear. She must miss Nick's feeding her with grapes and massaging her feet with scented lotion! Rachael says that Nick is her favorite - although I'm sure she will change her mind after listening to Nick slamming her on TV with Tim - and she will model "extra hard" to prove Zulema wrong. This, people, concludes the special edition of the Zulema Is Such A Bitch segment, and to prove to you how dire the situation is and how Zulema must be stopped, the show producers put two innocent models before the camera and make them work their brainpower to answer the producers' question: "Now, dearie, can you tell us why Zulema sucks and must die specially to the camera?"

Nick, his shoulder swaying is now accompanying by dramatic fingers-crossed gestures of both hands, tells the camera that he is wishing very hard inside as he dons his dress on Rachael, "I hope that she can walk! I hope that she can walk! Please, please, please, God, I hope that she can walk!" So Rachael walks and Nick then squeals that Rachael is "slinky" before hugging her. Nick, shoulders swaying cha-cha-cha, tells the camera that now Rachael is his new model and new muse. What, all it takes to win his love is a simple walk across the room? From the way he's been moaning and groaning, I'd expect Rachael to at least grow wings and fly across the room before he realizes that the butt-padding he has added to his design really isn't necessary. Meanwhile, Nick's cha-cha-cha'ing with Rachael causes Tarah to hone in on Nick to tell her how jealous she is of Rachael. Don't worry, Tarah, your pain will end soon, snigger. The fun continues in the hair and make-up rooms until it's time for the Runway show. Tim stops everyone who is still working in the Sweatshop, telling them that anyone who stays in the room will "self-eliminate".

Heidi steps on the Runway and after the voiceover about elimination and what the latest challenge is have finished rolling, Heidi introduces the judges: the Mighty Ogre, "king of jet-set American style", Nina, and Jay who is out to alienate once and for all the three fans he has left after the first season ends.

Andrať's design is first and it's a beautiful one-strap evening gown with sparkling sequins sprinkled lightly in a diagonal manner to imitate the effect of the light reflected from the pebbles in Andrať's photo. Kara's design is next and it's just a black tube dress with yellow narrow rectangles running in a diagonal manner around the dress. It will be nice if she has at least put in "No trespassing" along the yellow stripe to tie the dress with her photo. Santino's gown is a multicolored variation of his first, second, and third designs, only this time the skirt is extended below Heather's ankles. Dan has fitted Rebecca is what seems like an expensive version of a burlap sack around the torso, making Rebecca look like a pumpkin. Chloe's dress is in shades of blue (surprise) and it's like her usual designs with a bluish tube-like cinch around the waist. And finally, Nick comes out with a hideous black-and-white two-piece affair with a long fishtail skirt that has no resemblance at all to the photo he took earlier. On the bright side, Rachael sure looks lovelier and she walks better as well. It is as if she has been possessed by some enthusiastic need to prove everyone that she is not a bad model and frankly, that's a good thing for her. It's also clear by now that Rachael looks so much better without the black and white raccoon make-up Zulema, who really must have some bizarre fetish for black and white combinations, loves to coat her face with. The fact that she must be happier that Zulema isn't around to boss her must also help her mood tremendously. Zulema's red dress isn't so bad from the waist up, but the skirt looks horribly unfinished and hastily sewed nilly-willy to the top. But I still prefer it to the wretched designs of Kara and Nick.

After the judges have done their thing, Heidi calls the Fashionistas onto the Runway and says that she is keeping all of them on the Runway. First, it's Q&A time once the models have joined the Fashionistas. Dan is first and he tells Heidi of him being inspired by the photo so the skirt is the stem and the pedestal while the blimp top is the flower. The Mighty Ogre likes the fact that Dan picks something beautiful to be inspired by instead of "something random". Translation: he likes the fact that Dan picks something from his studio because the Mighty Ogre is all about the pretty. The judges all agree that they love the design. Love! Next is Chloe. Jay whines that he'd have preferred to see a "more geometric" design from Chloe because the photo Chloe took had an interesting geometric design. Huh? Grace is as straight as a plank and her nose is like a radish stuck on her face. You can't get any more geometric than that! Chloe always has some way to sell her dress and now she tells Jay that this is the best she can do in the time that she had to work on it. Jay bitches that he had worked under similar time constraints in the previous season. Yes, but surely he isn't expecting Chloe to be like him? None of these Fashionistas of this season come close to matching the Fashionistas of the first season when it comes to creating interesting designs that have their signature stamp without becoming a one-trick pony, certainly not Chloe and her same dress being made again and again week after week. Nina says that she likes the dress anyway even if the inspiration "doesn't come through" in the dress. Yeah, yeah, whatever.

Kara has a long story about the city being inviting and "offensive and stay away and get away and stop you in your tracks and move you forward" when it comes to explaining her dress. Jay mocks her for putting in more significance in her dress than it warrants, Kara insists that simplicity is a virtue and the dress therefore speaks volumes in her opinion ("I AM BORING!"), and the Mighty Ogre doesn't think that the dress is iconoclastic enough. Huh? He also slams the dress for being literal. And Dan's "Here is my petal, here is my stalk" dress isn't literal? Come on, judges! At least try to make the BS less obvious, please! Andrať's dress is praised but because he's not a designated chosen one, he's not going to get the praise he truly deserves. Nick describes his design as "Paris Hilton in Greece, strolling with her Greek boyfriend, down the beaches of Mykonos". It scares me that Nick seems to genuinely believe that Paris Hilton is someone worth noting in the fashion annals. Jay once more makes it all about him when he mocks Nick for having a story that is more elaborate than his design and Nina tells him that Jay was guilty of the same last season. Jay says that Austin was the BS-shoveller and imitates Austin inaccurately to Nina as a demonstration. The Mighty Ogre likes the top of Nick's design but is confused by the reference to Mykonos.

Zulema tries to sell her dress as some traditional African garb given a Western cut. I don't think she has any clout to play that card anymore, seeing how she has created designs after designs of stark shades of white and black. Nina thinks that the dress looks unfinished and says that this is the third unfinished garment from Zulema. What are the other two? The one from the clothes-off-one's-back challenge, I suppose. What's the other one? Nina points out that some of the other Fashionistas have "exceptional presentation". The Mighty Ogre compares the dress to that of "the trashy debutante in town with the red dress and her mother's a bad home sewer". Zulema says that she just followed Tim's advice to be risky. Oh, so now she's blaming Tim? Nina correctly points out that Tim did not make that dress, Zulema did. And besides, if making a red dress is what Zulema believes is a risk, I don't know what to say about that. I am puzzled though as to why the judges are so hard on Zulema. She won the last challenge, they praised her dress back then, and now they are tearing into her like she has been a terrible designer all along. The whole thing feels very rehearsed; it's like the judges are finding any excuse to boot Zulema. Oh, and Santino is praised because apparently he finally listened to the judges. Maybe I missed the part in previous episodes where the judges told him to lengthen the skirt of the one same dress he keeps making week after week. Jay points out the similarity between Santino's design and Austin's Grammy dress last season and everyone is like, "Oh, wow!" But it's not that similar if you ask me because Santino's version looks ten times cheaper and more poorly put together than Austin's dress. Because the show is keeping Santino, it quickly moves on instead of spending the entire episode trying to portray Santino as the new Marla.

The judges now want to talk among themselves and Heidi therefore sends the Fashionistas away temporarily. Predictably, Dan and Chloe get lots of love. I wonder whether the Mighty Ogre has gone crazy when he talks about how people rarely get inspired by flowers. I mean, give me a break. Greeting cards are inspired by flowers. Then I remember that he himself has said that he is using flowers in his own new line. Well, duh! Santino is treated like a bad boy who has finally returned to the fold, Nick is treated with kid gloves about his horrible design, and Kara and Zulema are raked over hot coals. Dan is declared the winner over Andrať because Dan is smart enough to pick flowers like the Mighty Ogre has picked flowers. Inspiration by beautiful things is so much better than being inspired by unlikely objects and making beautiful works of art from these inspirations, especially when the Mighty Ogre is loving his flowers so much at the moment. Nick, Kara, and Zulema are in the bottom three but of course they are not cutting Nick. Heidi reveals that Kara is safe and Zulema is booted for apparently being lousy in time-management and being unable to come up with nice dresses in time. Come on. I don't like Zulema but this is ridiculous. Oh well, what do I expect from this show? Where has the show that I really enjoyed in the first three episodes of this season vanished to?

Zulema returns backstage where the others don't bother to hug her or wish her well. Nick, in fact, looks vindicted and gleeful at Zulema's cut. Tim walks in and wonders aloud at how chilly - or, euphemistically, "competitive" - the atmosphere has become. He sends Zulema upstairs to clear her things in the Sweatshop. As the others are probably having a party downstairs to celebrate her boot, Zulema clears her table and talks about how many friends she pretends to have made on this show and how one mistake has cost a big deal. She doesn't elaborate on what she thinks her mistake is but she will have plenty of time to dwell on that before Andrať and Kara join her in the loser circle in the upcoming challenges.


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