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Episode 13: Tim Visits the Designers At (Other People's) Homes

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Welcome to Week Thirteen of Project Runway—and part one of the finale! Things kick off with Heidi and Tim telling the designers that although all four will make collections, only three will go through to Fashion Week. This decision will be made after the judges see a few completed looks from each of them. The designers are also told they'll each have $9,000 and five weeks to make ten piece collections. Here we go again... In the past, Project Runway designers would get up to six months to create their final collections. Last season, however, they only had five weeks. This resulted in the weakest final collections in Project Runway history. And what did the producers learn from this? Nothing. Because the filming was all dependent on Parson's vacation schedule and the fact that Lifetime now wants to crank out Project Runways and Project Runway All Stars all year round. Welcome to Project Kill Off Your Brand.

Next it's time for the home visits. First stop is at Christopher's family's house in Massapequa, New York. When Tim enters Christopher's workroom, he immediately learns that the designer has made a print out of his mother's X-ray. It's not an abstract version of the X-Ray either. As Tim points out, with seeming trepidation, "It's so literal." Christopher also has some leather garments, one of which he'd tried distressing with bleach. Christopher hates it, but Tim loves it and encourages him to do more. There is also a long dramatic gown which looks very Christopher. Much of the designer's work is reminiscent of last winter's Rag & Bone collection. We don't think there was any intentional correlation between bone and X-ray.

After Christopher, Tim's off to visit Fabio, and meet his mother and his boyfriend at his workspace in Manhattan. The space is part of his friend's father's apartment. For weeks, we've been told by the judges that Fabio's work is eccentric and avant-garde. We usually think it's just unattractive or dull. For this collection we're going with unattractive. The designs consist of rumpled, tie dyed, layered pastels—like a Grateful Dead fan might use for swaddling. Tim likes the key pieces, but hates Fabio's pants and shoe choices and tries to convince him to change them. Eventually Fabio does dye the clunky beige shoes pink and changes their laces. Those shoes become the only thing we like in his collection. As a side note, last season's winner, Anya, told us that his was her favorite of all the final collections and decoy collections. Possibly because it was the only one that was colorful.

Next we visit Dmitri, who is all by himself. We meet no friends, nor family. There is no one around him to appreciate just how witty he is. Like Fabio, Dmitri is also staying at a friend's place, this one in Jersey City, New Jersey. It seems that due to the competition, he quit his job and let his apartment lease run out. For his collection, Dmitri brings back the floating cut-aways he did from his winning suit earlier this season. They are most prominently featured on a beautiful white dress. The collection also includes some sheer tops and an Op-Art looking black and white jacket with thick leather fringe on the arms, The fringe is so thick that even Bon Jovi would have given it a pass in the Eighties.

Finally we head to San Francisco to visit Melissa and meet her family and boyfriend. Melissa seems to be the only contestant who is working out of her own space. Are San Francisco rentals that much cheaper than that in those in the Tri-State area? Much of Melissa's collection looks good, including a distressed white cowhide crackle-painted leather coat. But another jacket, with an enormous asymmetrical collar and giant cuffs is less flattering. There is a black sheath dress with a giant Melissa-esque collar. And the collection also includes a pair of black pants which allow plenty of room in the crotch for a well-hung man. Unfortunately the pants are made for a woman.

After five weeks, the contestants return to New York where they are reminded that they must each show three looks to the judges to determine who will show at Fashion Week. While five weeks is an insane amount of time to create a ten piece collection, it is enough time to figure out which three looks you want to show the judges. Or so one would think. The designers, however, all get stressed about this, particularly Christopher, who can't make a decision. Then, when he finally does decide, the pieces he wants to show don't fit his models properly. So with next to no time for tailoring, he ends up sending out whatever pieces fit his models—two ho-hum shorts outfits and one skirt and top.

Needless to say, the judges are perplexed that Christopher didn't send any "wow" pieces down the runway to impress them. They have similar questions about the three designs Melissa chose (which incidentally they call "Goth," but which no self-respecting Goth would ever wear.). They are appalled when they learn that Melissa held back her most dramatic pieces for Fashion Week. Somehow, despite nine previous seasons of Project Runway, Melissa doesn't realize that if you don't show your best designs now, you may not get a chance to compete with them later.

The judges, who this week consist of just our regulars, Michael and Nina, seem to like Fabio's and Dmitri's designs the best. Michael and Heidi love that Fabio showed a collection which includes colors, but Nina points out that the clothes and the way they are styled look really cheap and "junior." As for Dmitri, they like his "wow" pieces, but think his styling looks matronly and old. We want to know who these old women are who wear sheer black blouses over bras. They must be from Los Angeles. Or maybe the judges are just thinking of Madonna.

In the end, Michael, Nina and Heidi decide not to cut any of the designers, which means that all four will be showing at Fashion Week. We're not surprised. Going by the judges' comments, Melissa or Christopher would have had to go. And Lifetime isn't going to want to lose their one remaining female designer and the judges aren't going to want to lose the designer they've already given 83,000 wins to, so...four designers it is.

All four are ecstatic that they're going to Fashion Week. Us, not so much. Next week onto the finale. Who do you think is going to win?

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