Season 12, Episode 13: Someone's Gotta Go
5 designers. $9000 each. Six weeks. Two last-minute challenges (an unconventional-materials look and a Tide-sponsored washable look). Four spots at New York Fashion Week. Let's do this.
This is a busy episode for Tim Gunn, who spends the first part of the 1.5 hour telecast jetting around the country to visit our designers and the second half with a bruised and battered face from an awful-sounding fall down a flight of subway steps. A moment of respectful silence for Tim, please. He's maybe one of the most selfless humans in all of reality television.
Dom - Tim heads first to Philadelphia to meet with Dom. Her print-heavy collection (which she's working on when she's not hosting at a local restaurant) was created under the influence of "Blade Runner" -- lots of greens and purples based off watercolor-and-ink pieces Dom created. The designs earn praise from Tim, though he's concerned at how behind she is in actually executing her looks. He helps her decide to use knits instead of silks and jaunts away.Bradon - In Los Angeles, Bradon introduces Tim to his spring-inspired collection, on which he seems to be making decent progress. I admit to being a little perplexed at the mishmash of muted florals and metallic silky neutrals that seem to dominate Bradon's looks, but Tim is pacified. And then he's literally Pacif-ied when Bradon and his fiance Josh and their dog Eddie take Tim to the Pacific ocean! Ugh, that was an awful pun attempt. I apologize. Let's move on. Alexandria - In San Mateo, Tim meets up with Alexandria. Her "neo-nordic" collection is based on her mantra of edgy, strong, and modern. She has boatloads of pieces (thirty, I think?) to show Tim, all of it muted but very detailed, with lots of separates for mixing and matching. She takes Tim to her super cool kids' sewing camp, Camp Couture, where he gets to see the hilariously on-point series of ugly dolls the kids made to resemble this season's "Project Runway" designers. (Timothy's is called Unicorn Doll, of course. Sue's has dreadlocks! They're fabulous.)
Alexandria's three looks are met with squeals of glee from Heidi (no surprise whatsoever on that front) for being accessible and cool. "I want to have all of this," she says. Zac calls the looks "luxe" and compliments the professional detailing as well as the individualism of Alexandria's three models. Nina is less impressed. "When you put a show for New York Fashion Week, these clothes are going to look like anything. Do you have the goods to present something wow?" And on closer look, Zac smartly observes that all the elements Alexandria has used are just a shorthand of what's cool at the moment. Helen - Our tatted diva is camped out at her home in Union City, New Jersey, where Tim gets a sneak peek at her collection, which is based off the concept of clairvoyance and a blown-up photo of her boyfriend's eye. She's working with red, greys, and black, and focuses intensely on the cocoon cape concept that got her so far this season. "Where's the excitement?" Tim asks, and frankly that's a question that viewers have been asking of Helen for ages; her work is solid and wearable but seen in succession it's clear that Helen is a bit of a one-trick pony.
The looks she sends down the runway almost offend the judges. Nina and Zac slag on the "tortured" quality of her sleeveless print dress. "Spooky" and "contrived" are tossed out, too. The trio express surprise at the lack of easiness to these clothes, that the design seems forced, and poor Helen gets tongue-tied trying to explain herself. It's her worst crit yet. The consensus: Helen might be a little too young and a little too inexperienced to show a full collection. Justin - Tim's off to Raleigh, North Carolina. Justin shows him the 3D printing machine that he's using to create accessories for his collection, which are meant to help illustrate his theme of sound waves. His collection combines greys and whites with hand-painted details and the aforementioned accessories.
Justin shows the judges a gown (his unconventional look), a shorter dress, and a pantsuit, which is wise: The judges appreciate the variety of silhouettes. Heidi and Zac frown at the wigs used on the models, and Zac also notes that some of the details need to be cleaned up, but along with Nina they seem very impressed by the cohesiveness and modernity of his looks.
Justin is tapped to move on. With the choice between Alexandria and Helen, the judges decide to allow Alexandria's more polished and interesting work through to Fashion Week. That means that after churning out competitive work all season, Helen is finally auf'd.
What say you? Are you surprised to see Helen miss the mark? Of our final four -- Alexandria, Bradon, Dom, and Justin -- who do you think will stand out the most at NYFW? Let me know in the comments before we head into our final episode!
Want a refresher on the season's winning looks? We've got a gallery ready for you right here.