Irina shows him her sketches, all of which are displayed on her refrigerator. That is sort of cute. She says that she really wanted to make this collection about herself, and where she's from. "I automatically thought of Coney Island," she says. Which... isn't Coney Island thought to be kind of seedy? Please do forgive me if I am wrong about that. Anyway, Irina and her sister used to go there for fun, and it has informed the designs in her collection. "So, it's kind of a celebration of your growing up in New York," Tim says, "and more specifically Coney Island." Irina says, yes, it's really her "thank you to New York for being so good to me." That's very sweet, really. She explains that her family is from the Republic of Georgia and that her parents moved her and her sister to New York "to achieve the New York dream." Of living in a closet. No? Wait, no. To achieve success. They show some really fantastic black and white photos of Irina's gorgeous mom back in the day. She explains that one of her ideas has to do with t-shirts, which she has screen printed with classic postcard images of Brooklyn and Coney Island. To my surprise, Tim lauds this t-shirt idea as positive risk-taking. I guess he hasn't been in any souvenir shops lately? It just doesn't seem that risky when you can buy that same t-shirt on the boardwalk for $4.99. She's also done some knits. "They're hand knits," she says. "Not cut and sew." Tim is impressed by the knits, less so by this kind of terrible fur, crosshatch, vest or something she has done and is planning to pair with some kind of... thing? It's hard to understand what she's talking about -- the sketch she's showing him looks like a formal gown -- but she hasn't made it, yet, so it's hard to imagine it. In fact, it reminds Tim of a sisal rug, Heeee. Irina, however, insists that when it is finished it will be "elegant." Elegance, she says, is always "in." Elegant or not, Tim encourages her to make sure her collection does not end up looking forced. "I don't know what Althea's collection is gonna look like," she says, "I don't know what Carol Hannah's collection is gonna look like." Side note: Why can't she say the name Hannah? I mean, she can say "hand," right? It's like that. How hard is it? Anyway, she has a lot of work to do, Tim says, yadda yadda.
Later, Tim meets Irina's family and friends in New York for lunch at one of her favorite (unnamed) restaurants. Her family is, no joke, stunning. I don't know why her mom wanted to dye her beautiful dark hair blonde, but it ain't for me to say. Her parents moved to the States so that Irina and her sister could achieve success, and Irina gets a little choked up in an interview talking about how she feels like she has to do what her parents did not get to do, themselves, because of moving away from their homeland and experiencing culture shock. The folks tell TG that they are very proud of their daughter. "I always believed she would become somebody," Irina's mom says, in a beautiful, heavy accent. Irina says her mom has always been supportive of her, and pretty much gave her free rein to do whatever she wanted... which may explain why she is so aggressively fond of herself, but still, it's nice to hear of a parent being supportive of their child's dream. I always like that. Her mom says that Irina called her a few days ago, saying how stressed out she was and that she couldn't sleep, to which her mom replied, "You work so hard, so many years... you have to win it. You have no choice." Awesome. It reminded me so vividly of this awesome shirt, I had to stop and laugh. Tim emotionally says that, no matter the outcome of the competition, Irina is already a winner. It's so sweet of him, especially since he declines to tack on that she's also a biiiiitch.