Heidi and the adorable Tim Gunn announce to the Giggle Triplets, Carol Hannah, Irina and Althea, that they'll each be given nine grand and several months to complete their collections for Bryant Park.
Everyone leaves L.A. with high hopes, but none higher than Irina, who is convinced that the other ladies are completely intimidated by her dazzling talent. She's not only bringing the big guns to Bryant Park, she says, she's bringing a tank.
Tim travels to Huntington Park a suburb of NYC to visit Carol Hannah, who has recently moved there from Charleston to work on her collection. Somehow she has moved into a huge house. What she shows him appears to be sort of a mixed bag. A dress that could be interesting, could be ice skating. Some… shorts? What? A gorgeous purple gown with an old-lady jacket. Tim says he is intrigued and thinks she has done a lot of envelope-pushing. To his delight, her cute family has flown in and treats him to a traditional Southern meal. You have not lived until you see Tim Gunn cut biscuits with an ice tea glass.
His trip to Irina is far less… spacious. Her tiny apartment is jam packed with her collection inspired by her favorite parts of New York. Somehow, tee-shirts are involved, but there are several elegant pieces that Tim admires. He advises her to not force her looks, and to maintain a "flow" throughout her collection. He meets her friends and family for lunch and some old-school immigrants-living-the-dream toasts.
In Dayton, OH, Tim Gunn suffers the indignity of riding in a service elevator to visit Althea in her loft apartment. Her collection is inspired by strong women in Sci-Fi movies. Weird, but interesting. He is excited by her work, but thinks she needs to edit, edit, edit, as her looks are veering a little bit to the costumey side. He accompanies her to her family's home for a down-home middle-America party with her friends and cute boyfriend.
Later, TG must call Irina to give her the rough news that the images she was using on her NYC tees are trademarked and thus kiboshed by the lawyers. She is devastated and has only ten days to re-do the entire look she had planned.
Of course, everyone is staying all together in one suite in NYC, and the tension is high between Irina and Althea. Adding to the drama is the absence of Carol Hannah. Apparently she is very ill, contagiously so, and cannot be there on the first day. She finally arrives in the workroom, not feeling much better, but she soldiers on. Tim goes through their collections with an editing eye, and it affects them all in a different way. Most affecting, however, is the surprise arrival of Nina Garcia and Michael Kors. Also visiting, Heidi, the gorgeous harbinger of doom. She tells them they have to, in the last few days before their shows, create a thirteenth look. Unlucky 13! Also part of the surprise, Logan, Christopher and Gordana are brought in to help the final three finish their designs.
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Y'all, we are near the end. The three young women who have made it this far now greet Heidi at the runway. "I'm gonna give each of you nine thousand dollars," she tells them, to their great delight. They will have an unspecified "next few months" to complete their collections for Bryant Park. "Now let's bring someone out that you have all grown very close to," Heidi says, and behind the scrim appears the dapper silhouette of the marvelous Tim Gunn. "Designerssss," he says, as the girls giggle with glee. "I am more proud of you than I can adequately express. You're going to Bryant Park! It's fashion's biggest stage!" He adds that he'll be checking in on them over the next couple of months, and Heidi wishes them luck. The two of them leave the stage with their arms around each other, and go behind the screen. "Whattya wanna do tonight?" we hear Heidi ask. "I don't know," Tim answers. "What do you think?" Heidi: "I think we should go party, party!" Then, I am not lying, they break into dance, up to and including booty-bumping. It is beyond all telling -- oh, TG, why did I never realize what I was missing when I did not watch this show for so long?
And, with that, they're off. The ladies return to their room to pack up. Althea, who is so unnecessarily insecure, attempts to be friendly to the completely undeserving-of-her-friendship Irina. "There's definitely been some tension between me and Irina," she says, "since she called me out on the runway for copying her, without ever talking to me about it." We see again the clip of Irina claiming on the runway that "there has been a little bit resemblance of things in the workroom." Whatever. Like you invented sweaters? Shut up. Althea says she is not going to forgive and forget. "Well, I forgive," she says. "But I'm not gonna forget." Okay, not what Jesus would do, but who can cast the first stone? I would have a hard time forgiving, as well, especially because Irina seems so uninterested in being forgiven. "I think Carol Hannah and Althea, they are intimidated," Irina says with a pretty smile in an interview. "They know I've done well, so they are expecting me to take the big guns to Bryant Park. But, I'm bringing a tank. I'm taking a whole army with me if I have to."
Look, I admire confidence. I think it is so necessary and, if you are a creative person who wants to create things for a living, being confident is more than half the battle. But smugness? It's unattractive, especially when it is not justified. You win the Superbowl? You can be smug. But if you're just getting to the playoffs? Not the time to be counting your chickens.