We’re down to six designers and the finale is right around the corner! So exciting and so sad. It’s been a pretty satisfying season thus far with a just enough drama to keep things moving, just enough questionable designs to keep things interesting, and plenty of innovative style. But it’s not over yet, so back to tonight’s episode.When Heidi greets the designers on the runway with the cryptic, “We really want you to spread your wings,” everyone is thinking skydiving, airplanes, and parachutes—never assume on Project Runway. Tim greets them in the workroom with Collier Strong of the L’Oreal Makeup Room and four live birds. Another Project Runway first! However no one looks very excited or inspired by this.

The Challenge: The designers will be working in pairs (again!). Each pair will be assigned a bird to serve as inspiration for a high concept runway look. BUT, the pairs won’t be working as a team; they’ll be competing head-to-head. The best of each pair will be in the top three. The winning look will be featured in an advertorial in Marie Claire introducing L’Oreal’s new color collection and the winner will get a $20,000 cash prize. That’s inspiring.

The teams are:
Bert, Josh, and a parrot.
Anya, Laura, and a raven.
Viktor, Kimberly, and a cockatoo.

And off to Mood where no one loses their money and Josh leaves with piles of floaty, tropical smoothie-colored fabric.

Back in the workroom, the strain is taking a visible toll on the designers who look a bit haggard. Now that we’re down to the last few challenges, the stakes are higher and the competition is stiffer. Although they’re getting along rather well Bert expresses his desire to see Josh get his ass kicked on the runway. Viktor and Bert both think that Josh is copying them, Anya’s worried about Laura’s superior sewing skills, and Kimberly (who’s always kept her cool and remained above the fray) is literally coming apart at the seams. So let’s add a twist. With only one more day to work, the designers have to come up with a second look.

Kimberly proceeds to stain her fabric, sew through her finger, burn a hole in her dress with a hot glue gun, and have a brief meltdown in the ladies’ room. But she pulls it together and vows to make it work. After waxing poetic about his superior taste and skill, Josh makes a dress so hideous that even he doesn’t like it. And sweet, generous Anya’s got her eye on the prize now and won’t give him any of her extra fabric. We need Tim stat!

And we get Tim. He comes in to critique the looks and dispense his pearls of style wisdom. When Kimberly despondently tells him she’s having one of those days, his response is so heartwarmingly, flawlessly Tim Gunn: “I don’t want you to have one of those days! I’m your cheerleader, you need to stop thinking and just feel. I’m coming around; you need a hug.” And she really did. I admit it—I choked up a little. Especially because we also learned that Kimberly’s mom died when she was 17, then she lost her step-dad and brother. There’s a lot of loss in this scrappy little group!

So naturally we need one more twist—each designer has to choose just one of their looks to show on the runway. After all that!

Our guest judge for this challenge is renowned designer Francisco Costa.

Anya beats out Laura, Josh does not get his ass kicked on the runway, and Kimberly really did make it work, narrowly edging out Viktor with the dress she whipped up in three hours.

All of the judges love Anya’s sculptural raven inspired frock. Michael likes that it isn’t too literal, Nina says it’s her favorite outfit that Anya’s produced so far, and Francisco Costa is impressed with the cut. Kimberly’s flowing gown also receives high praise for its superior cut. Nina sums up the overall critique best, “It’s a little beauty pageant. I do not like her makeup—but there is something seductive about this dress.” They all appreciated Josh’s uncharacteristic simplicity and very characteristic exuberance. Michael put it best, “The cut of the dress is fantastic, it’s beautifully draped…then she had to get the ‘I was drunk in the Caribbean at a party’ corsage.”

And the winner is…Anya!


While no one hates Viktor’s dress, they agree it’s a little too literal and a bit overworked. Bert’s is generic, boring, and disappointing (he agrees but blames the short, dumpy, little parrot he had as inspiration), and Laura’s is way too literal.

And…Bert is out. He exits classily and poignantly—happy that everyone finally seems to genuinely like him (and he likes them) and ready to restart his design career.

Next week is the final challenge so it’s going to be a big one! Tim Gunn’s teaser quote: “What’s the Statue of Liberty doing here?”