This is always the episode in every season of Project Runway that makes me love all of the contestants, which means I’m all the more devastated when one of them has to leave. This week, former contestant Mondo Guerra showed up to present the designers with this week’s task: the textile challenge. It was particularly poignant to have him back, as on his original season, this challenge was when he chose to reveal to the group that he was HIV-positive.
With Mondo, were friends and family members of all the contestants, and seeing everyone hug and cry over their loved ones was wonderful, especially in light of how exhausting the competition must be at this point. The designers’ friends and family brought slideshows of old photos of the designers, and they were instructed to create a textile that reflects their heritage. All of the designers worked confidently with the help of their visitors, except for Christopher Palu, who seemed rather lost and stressed out, and Sonjia Williams, who almost appeared a little bit resentful of the “distraction” that her mother might prove to be. Have a heart, Sonjia!
Tim Gunn came to check in on everyone’s progress, and nearly all the designers were nervous, probably because creating their own textile gave them another level of ownership over their designs. When he saw Ven Budhu’s dress, a hibiscus print (drawn from pictures of Indian gods holding hibiscus flowers) with typical Ven fans all over the place, he flat out told him the fan details looked like pads that had soaked up menstrual blood, and that he hoped that they wouldn’t offend anyone. Ice cold! Ven, in the first display of emotion all season, seemed really hurt by the criticism, though not so hurt that he changed anything about his design.
The designers got a nice break when they went back to their apartments for dinner with their visitors. Elena Slivnyak’s mother looked so much like her, down to the bangs, that it was sort of unnerving. On runway day, Mondo was joined by last season’s winner Anya Ayoung-Chee, and was pretty merciless in his critiques. Ven, Gunnar Deatherage and Christopher were in the bottom three. The judges liked Sonjia’s fierce pants, Melissa Fleis’s uptown girl dress, and Dmitry Molokhov’s suit separates, although no one really escaped criticism this week. Even though he was chided for “overdesigning,” Dmitry won this week’s challenge, a nice rebuke to the criticism he was getting from fellow designers about never making separates.
The two designers left on the runway were Gunnar and Ven, and Ven got to stick around another week. Poor Gunnar. I was just starting to like him! You can see the winning look and the three bottom looks below, via MyLifetime.com:
this is some kind of spaceship or something.