Emily’s team is sad they didn’t help her more, but really, girl had nothing on the mannequin after a full day. It’s no one’s fault but hers. Michelle assures Cindy that she wouldn’t have been on the bottom if this had been a non-team season. She’s wrong. James realizes he needs to listen to his gut and not just go along with whatever the team says just to prove he’s a team player. Well, duh. There’s still only going to be one winner, and throwing people under the bus in the guise of helpful critiques is just around the corner, I’m sure.

When they get to the runway and Heidi tells them they’re staying in the same teams, Benjamin’s smile is wiped away very quickly. I could’ve sworn Heidi and Tim told them the team concept was for the whole season, so I don’t know what they expected to happen. cindy thinks everyone is quietly panicking. James disagrees, he thinks the weakest link on the team is gone, evidently forgetting that he wasn’t that far away from it himself. Someone from Team KIR says they’re happy with their team.

Heidi tells them the challenge is going to be “a ball.” Whether that means it’s a ball gown or something athletic, Amanda decides it’s going to be horrible. Boy, is she going to be fun in the crazy materials challenge.

They wind up at Susan Sarandon’s latest venture, SPiN ping pong nightclubs. Does that mean she’s going to be the guest judge? They have to create uniforms for the clubs’ servers and “ball boys”, and for the latter it has to incorporate the club’s motto, “Balls are our business.” Of course. They have to create five looks: three female server, one male server, and one male “ball boy”, so for a change, they’ll get male models as well. Michelle surprises me when she gets all flustered at this news.  The winning design will be officially adopted by the club. I often wonder what happens when someone who wins a challenge like this doesn’t go on to win the show. “Who are you wearing?” “Oh, some loser from Season X of Project Runway.”

Since the design needs to be functional, the designers are put to work. I presume this is to encourage them to design something that can withstand all this, and not the manager taking advantage of some free slave labor.  They also talk to the actual workers to get their input.  Benjamin, who I keep wanting to call Brian for some reason, says he’s done this before, which usually means he’ll eff it up royally.

Team KIR decides to sketch first so they can present to each other more cogently. This seems to work.

The DT’s decide to make jeans for the ball boys, and Matt says he’ll design the pants. Turns out his artistic background isn’t finding inspiration from this assignment, so he’s just taking that to help out. This should go well. James volunteers to make their shirts. He’s showing off a sketch he made, so I guess they sketched first, too. Unfortunately, Team KIR didn’t get around to handing out assigments before they get to Mood, but it works out because they mostly pair off, although some are insisting on keeping their design aesthetics.

Earlier, Benjamin appointed himself DT team leader, so he decides to keep a tight leash on Cindy, when he should probably be more concerned about James, who’s decided to test the theory that “No man is an island.”

Over on KIR, Richard, despite his self-proclaimed inability to design menswear that isn’t dragwear, manages to steer Joseph Aaron away from polka dots for the guys.  Daniel is similarly reining in Layana, and Michelle is jealous of how well that team is working together. Cue Benjamin and Cindy arguing over suiting material. Cindy tries to explain herself as they check out; however, Ben’s having none of it in a talking head, not so much because their design aesthetics are at opposite ends of the spectrum, but because with Emily gone, Cindy’s now the weakest link, good-bye.

As Team KIR discusses their outfits, Richard refers to Joseph Aaron as Joe. Good. I was getting tired of typing all that.  Benjamin is reminding me of Gretchen, putting a meddling finger in every pie. Except for James, who’s decided since the input didn’t work out so well last week, he’s having none of it this.  Bad decision, dude.

Oh, look. Daniel just volunteered to be Layana’s gay husband.  Over on the DT’s, Cindy wants a divorce from Ben.  He thinks he’s being supportive of a team member, Michelle thinks Cindy’s overly sensitive to Ben’s “constructive criticism”. Cindy thinks Ben’s micromanaging her. I think she’s right.

They have a silk-screener in to help them with the logo and motto. With four hours left, Tim comes in for his consult. He starts with Team KIR. Stanley’s got the male sever outfit, and Amanda’s got one of the guys. Kate snagged hold of Patricia, planning on riding her coattails to the top, and Patricia’s not happy about being able to show the judges she’s taking their advice from last week. Tim reins her in.

DTs. Ben claims they’re a design hub, whatever he means by that. His and Matt’s ball boy jeans turn into a kilt, courtesy of Michelle and Tim.  I’ve seen utility kilts in use, and I know more than one who wears such regularly, but in this particular instance, I’m not sure it will work.  Tu and Susan have designed a dress and jacket, respectively for one look, and Tim says they look like they came out of two different closets. A similar verdict is rendered for the top Ben made to go under Cindy’s jacket, which the team calls “chic”. Tim doesn’t see any of the team’s looks coming together.  And it gets worse when he sees James’ horror of a shirt.

With two hours left in the day, the DTs are mixing, matching, and redesigning, but they’re out of fabric.  Then the models arrive for fittings.  The DTs are in trouble.  Team KIR is giving everyone high fives.  The next day, the DTs are all about helping each other out, and feel better about their chances.  Kate’s worried about Team KIR, and indeed, Stanley seems to have a last-minute fit issue.

Runway. Daniel does indeed have immunity. I’m so happy! As I suspected, Ms. Sarandon herself is the guest judge. Richard recognizes her from Thelma and Louise, and Tu says she’s got a big booty while gesturing at his chest. I think you’re getting boobies and booties mixed up there, Tu. 

The DTs are up first, with Michelle’s female server outfit leading the way. I have to say, the TWOP recapper was seeing colors I wasn’t in this collection. I think this is a fugly brown jumper with a portrait collar and a racer back with the logo’s swirls on it. It does have a pocket, which means bonus points in my book.

Tu and Samantha’s look is next.  It’s a grey vest that zips up the front but not far enough, exposing what looks like a mud-colored brown shell, which on close-up is so see-through you can see a lot more of the model’s bra than is appropriate. It’s paired with a black pencil skirt. I like it a little better. The back has a cut-out covered with black mesh, which I also like.

James’ male server outfit is out, and I don’t understand this penchant for cutting huge squares out of perfectly good fabric and filling them with something else.  It’s a white tank top (the phrase “wife-beater” needs to be eliminated from our vocabulary) with aforesaid square covered in grey.  It’s half tucked into pants I’d think more appropriate for the ball boys, ending mid-calf the way they do. Other than that, they’re not too bad, even when the model turns around and displays the logo on each back pocket, which are too low for my tastes.

Here comes Ben and Cindy’s design. I must say that on first glance, I really like it, just not for a nightclub server.  The jacket is indeed chic and the tuxedo shorts go with it quite well. The problem I’m having with these outfits is that, as a former server, I don’t think they’re practical. This outfit is too restricting for when you’re placing drinks in front of everyone, and Tu and Samantha’s is too revealing.  At least they all have pockets to keep your bank and tips in; it is possible to drop money when you’ve got a lot of ones to deal with, even with the secret server grip.

Last but not least is Ben and Matt’s ball boy  outfit.  They are right when they say the model is owning the kilt. He looks damn good, and this is my favorite outfit. But again, it’s not practical for the purpose. It consists of a grey tank and matching kilt, with the motto printed on a faux sporran, which places it in a not too appropriate location.  The swirls of logo over the top look like a spirograph gone wild, and he’s carrying one of the ball nets over his shoulder.  When the model turns around, I can see the back of the tank is mostly black mesh, with a large yellow dot over the right kidney, which I suppose is supposed to represent a ping pong ball, but it looks more like a tennis ball and it looks really strange. Susan looks like she might like the kilt.

One of Team KIR (I think it’s Amanda) says in VO that there were a lot of looks she didn’t understand. I agree.

Team KIR’s first look is Daniel and Layana’s female server. It’s a black vest over a long-sleeved, scoop-necked white T-shirt, and black shorts with a huge waitress apron pocket in front. It looks fresh and cute, and judging from the huge smiles on the faces of Zac Posen and Nina Garcia, they agree.

Next is Stanley’s male server outfit. It’s a black sweatshirt with short sleeves which are banded. The collar is banded the same way. The logo is over the left breast. It’s paired with black pants with a dropped front crotch, which spoils the look for me, but Ms. Sarandon and team KIR seem to like it.

Kate and Patricia’s female server comes out next, and it, too, is fresh and cute, consisting of a gray and white racer top, a grey miniskirt, and black leggings.  The skirt has a shinier black material criss-crossed over it at an angle, I think to represent the logo. Kate’s happy with it; Patricia isn’t. When the model turns around, you can see that the back is in two halves that drape from the collar like wings. I really like it.

The last female server outfit is Amanda’s. It sort of reminds me of a tennis outfit, just in black. It seems rather plain in contrast to the other uniforms, although it does have a bit of a gray swirl at the hem. The bodice has the low, square neckline of a Tudor bodice, and the skirt is very short. As your basic LBD, it’s nice, but I think she could’ve punched it up a little more. Amanda’s not really happy with the skirt length.

Joe and Richard’s ball boy outfit is next. The top is a T-shirt, white from neck to chest, then black to the waist, with the motto color changed over the left breast.  The black pants have dropped patch pockets on the front with the motto silk-screened on them in white in varying fonts, and blouse out of the model’s boots. What’s really spiffy, though, is the quiver strapped on his back for ease of porting the ball net.

Ms. Sarandon says she loves it. I do, too, and I don’t see how Team KIR could possibly lose.  The outfits even look like they’re part of the same collection, unlike the DTs.  Michelle arrogantly says she can see some “real big losers” in the other team’s designs, and thisnks that the judges will have a really difficult decision. What is she smoking? Whatever it is, the judges aren’t and Team KIR rightly wins.

In the green room, James comes down on his team for the lack of communication and genuine team-work.  Well, James, you were the one who decided to isolate yourself from them this go ’round, so shut the fuck up.

The top three looks are Daniel and Layana’s female server and the two male outfits.  Somehow I missed the back of Daniel and Layana’s outfit, and it turns out she’s actually wearing a skort, and the vest has deep cutouts in the back so you can see the logo silk-screened on the shirt in green. The back cut-outs and the collar of the vest Daniel cut to resemble the trajectory of a bouncing ping pong ball, and while that’s interesting, I suspect and hope that will be evened out in the final product. When Heidi asks them who should win if that’s the winning look, Daniel says he already has immunity, so it should be Layana. Aw, how sweet. Except that this immunity would be for next week, Daniel, so what if you need it then? I’m not too worried about him, though. I just love him and I hope he wins it all.

Nina Garcia says that Stanley’s design is edgy and a bit futuristic, yet retro.

Ms. Sarandon says that the motto, which the manager had said was “Balls are our business” really is “Balls are my business”, so my concern over that being printed on the uniforms are needless.  While discussing its placement on the ball boy’s outfit, Heidi takes a dig at the sporran. It turns out the quiver was designed because the ball boys also help out the servers, and the judges think that was thinking out of the box.  Neither Joe nor Richard is willing to say who the winner should be if their outfit is chosen.  Nina Garcia voices my thought that all five looks, especially these three, are complementary.

The three losing outfits on the DTs are: James, no surprise, Ben and Cindy, which was the only female server outfit I liked, and Matt and Ben’s ball boy kilt. Boo, hiss. I blame the sporran.  Nina Garcia agrees with me about the length of James’ shorts. Ms. Sarandon points out that he doesn’t look like a server. Zac says the top looks messy and Heidi says she doesn’t want hairy armpits serving her food. Good call. James admits he worked independently.

The judges think Ben and Cindy’s design is too dressy for a nightclub. Ben says he was so busy being a leader he compromised himself as a designer. Way to absolve yourself of all responsibility for your designs, then, Ben. I now think you’re a douche.

Ms. Sarandon says that none of her male employees would wear “a skirt”, but that it’s “ballsy”.  I admit, it takes a certain kind of man to realize that the kilt isn’t emasculating.  If you like men in kilts, you should check out https://www.facebook.com/WildEyedSouthernCelt and http://www.meninkilts.com/

Matthew defends his artistic aesthetic, but the judges remind him that fashion is a blend of artistry and commerce and in this case, they had a client.  Nina Garcia says it’s sad that the team hasn’t balanced their creative designers with their non-creative ones.

The judges deliberate. Like I thought, Matt’s in trouble because the kilt’s not practical for the job, and they decided that therefore, he ignored the challenge.  That could be the kiss of death.  They refer to the sporran as a crotch piece and call it tasteless, and say that without it, they might’ve looked at it differently.  But Nina Garcia would still rather see that than James’ outfit. Ouch.

Heidi points out that even though Ben claimed the leadership role, he had two pieces in the bottom, and since the team is repeating a loss, he failed as a leader, too. I don’t think his claim to leadership here is as “throwing yourself on a sword” as it can be on Top Chef, though. It wasn’t really his concept with them all executing it, after all. She adds that both James and Cindy are on the bottom again. Zac agrees with my previous thought that Cindy’s designs are very “off the rack” and Heidi calls her dowdy. Ooh, that can also be the kiss of death on this show.

On to the designs they did like.  Neither Ms. Sarandon nor Heide had ever seen or heard of skorts before, and what they really like about it is that it’s more like an apron without actually being one. The vest they think is sporty yet elegant, but makes a statement that the person is a server, although they don’t like the unbalanced cutouts of the collar and back. They really love the quiver on the bad boy outfit and think it met the challenge well.

Layana wins.

On the DTs, Samantha, Michelle, Tu, Ben, and Matt are told they’re safe, leaving James and Cindy. Cindy is in, as James missed the clubs’ vibe completely. Good.

Nina Lisa

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