Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
It's week thirteen of Project Runway and part one of the two-part season finale. Heidi informs the four remaining designers that they'll each get $9,000 and four months to complete their collections. She reminds them that while Emilio and Seth Aaron will definitely present their collections at Fashion Week, Mila and Jay will each have to show the judges their three favorite designs to compete for the final spot. (Don't worry if you forget this fact, because Tim and Heidi will remind us about thirty more times throughout the episode.)
Cut to: Three months later. Tim Gunn, dressed like an overly-fastidious Beat poet, begins visiting the designers' homes to check on their collections. He starts at Seth Aaron's bungalow in Vancouver, Washington. Seth Aaron has already completed 15 striking all-black ensembles. Tim likes Seth Aaron's collection, but warns him that it's too predictable, and that he won't win unless he can surprise the judges. Tim suggests that the designer, who has already used up most of his time and money, should rethink his whole collection. Seth Aaron takes this advice with an incredible amount of maturity, and doesn't even attempt to strangle Tim. He does, however, convince Tim to jump on a trampoline and play Pictionary with his family, both of which prove to be traumatic retributions.
Tim next heads to New York to visit Emilio, who is considerably less open to Tim's feedback. After introducing the mentor to his brothers, he explains that he grew up in the South Bronx, where he was influenced by early rap and graffiti art. Emilio then takes Tim to see how his colorful collection is shaping up. Tim is concerned that Emilio is spending too much time on details which won't show from the runway, and even more concerned that the collection shows a "lack of sophistication" and looks "old." Emilio says that he doesn't care what Tim thinks, as it's not Tim's name on the collection, it's his. And it really is, because Emilio has designed a new fabric print, with his name on it, which figures prominently in his designs.
Next up, Tim visits Mila in Los Angeles. Like the others, Mila has spent the past three months working on her collection. But that may not be the only work she's gotten done. The designer is looking mysteriously younger—which of course may just be due to her getting more rest. Mila introduces Tim to her parents and to her boyfriend, Matthew, who makes Anthony seem butch by comparison. Mila says that her collection is all about shadows. Which is another way of saying her collection is all about, "Color blocking with the color black." Tim fears that everything is looking a bit matronly.
Finally, Tim heads to San Francisco to see Jay's Samurai meets Geisha influenced collection. Tim likes much of Jay's work but is concerned that some of his details seem like gimmicky "student work." Tim then bonds with Jay's proud family over a home cooked meal.
A month later, after the designers all arrive in New York with their collections, it's time for Mila and Jay to face off against each other. Our judges for this abbreviated but important runway show are Michael, Nina and Heidi. There is no guest judge this week.
Jay's abbreviated collection includes a short purple dress with exaggerated hips, a black dress with maroon leggings and black pants with a silver futuristic top and vest. Mila's collection includes a couple of grey and black Sixties-esque patterned ensembles, including one with a coat, and a stunning silver and black spangled dress. The judges are concerned that Mila's line might be too one note and retro, whereas they think Jay's designs are very contemporary, but he tries to do too much with them. At Heidi's urging, the judges eventually give Mila the win. Congratulations Lifetime, you have a (relatively) older woman designer in the finals!
And in our As Tears Go By count, there's a cavalcade of tears this week. Mila cries twice and Jay cries four times. These six sob sessions bring our number of crying jags for the season to twenty six.
Pencil it in: Make sure to join us next week, when we'll be reporting on what it's like to watch the finale from Season Three designer, Laura Bennett's loft, in the company of Laura, her eighty-three children and a very special and hilarious designer from this season... (Anthony!)
And now for this week's Top Ten Moments of Project Runway Greatness...
10. Emilio designs yet another fabric using his name to create a print. Somewhere, even the late Louis Vuitton is thinking, "Emilio, enough with the monograms."
9. As the designers pack to leave New York, Seth Aaron traps Jay in the closet. Too late Seth Aaron, Jay's long been out of there.
8. Mila says that as long as she's ready to defend her collection, "I can't go wrong." We gather Mila is not familiar with the Nuremburg trials.
7. When Tim worries that some of the details of Jay's designs are making his clothes seem a bit "cuckoo," Jay responds with, "It's Cuckoo Chanel," a phrase we hope Rachel Zoe never hears, as it seems a likely candidate to replace her trademarked catchphrase, "Bananas!"
6. Mila says, "My design aesthetic is not as in your face as some of the others'." If "in your face" means "stylish and appealing," then she's absolutely right.
5. While playing Pictionary, Tim guesses that one drawing is of fallopian tubes. Tim Gunn saying, "fallopian tubes" is like Mother Theresa saying, "cock ring."
4. On the runway, we catch a glimpse of a Heidi looking a bit poochy in a black jumpsuit. It could be the fold of the fabric, but we're petty enough to hope it's lingering baby weight.
3. Mila even color blocks her dog. Oh wait, it's a Dalmatian.
2. Emilio says, "I'm creating a collection for women, and as far as I know, Tim doesn't wear women's clothing." Luckily, he's not discussing Season Four's Chris March, because then that argument wouldn't hold up.
1. We can't figure out why we have a strong sense of dejajà vu when Mila tells Jay, "I'm really not such a bad guy," until we realize it's a line Ralph Garci says to Doris Finsecker in the original Fame. We suspect that unlike those characters, Mila and Jay won't end up making out and going to see Rocky Horror together.
· Same Tent, Different Over-the-top Circus [Racked]
· Who Looks Like a Gay Christmas Elf? [Racked]