Okay, whaaaat? Tim Gunn in flip flops? Yes. The designers are brought to the beach and told they will design "California Surfwear." To totally complicate things, they'll be designing in teams of two for actual surfer girls. Oh, and they're given 15 minutes to shop. Everybody is already flipping their lids when the judges throw in a wrench and ask them to design a second look, as well. Somehow, they're to design an "avant garde" piece that corresponds to the surf wear. You know, as one often finds on the beach…?
This whole partner thing is not working out in a few cases. For example, we finally get to hear a little from the classy Epperson, but unfortunately he is paired with Qristyl, who is fun and all, but has about as much taste as a block of tofu. They are not getting along in the least. Ra'Mon and Mitchell are also clashing, as Mitchell seemingly would prefer to run around bitching at everyone rather than, um, learn to sew. Tim comes down hard on their two looks and it sends them into a further tizzy. Meanwhile, several of the teams seem to be working quite well together, particularly Nicolas and Gordana. It is down to the wire for every team as they prepare for the runway. Ra'Mon even makes a last-minute change to his second look that has him dying neoprene with 30 minutes to spare.
Guest judges Max Azria and Rachel Bilson join Nina Garcia. They must all be drunk, because they name Mitchell and Ra'Mon, along with Johnny and Irina, as teams with the highest scores. Despite the top spot, Heidi brings the full force of her German heritage down on Mitchell for not doing enough of the work, himself. Epperson and Qristyl totally and embarrassingly melt down in front of the judges. Weirdly, Gordana and Nicolas are in the bottom of the two pairs, though the judges feel pretty strongly that the slutty avant garde look is not really representative of their obvious talent. Ultimately, Ra'Mon is named the challenge winner, and in a surprise twist, MITCHELL is eliminated.
So, last week, Malvin was sent packing, having misunderstood that the last thing an enormously pregnant woman wants to be compared to is a giant chicken. For the second time, Mitchell joined the nearly-departed in the bottom three, only to somehow hang on once again. "I don't wish the bottom three on any of you," he says as the designers prepare for a new day of competition. He says he's worried, concerned and frustrated, but that he wants to stay in the competition.
At the runway, Heidi reminds everyone that Shirin won the last challenge and thus, has immunity. Heidi, by the way, looks gorgeous in a black minidress and wavy hair. She tells the designers that today, they'll be visiting a destination without which no visit to California is complete. "A little hint," she adds, "don't forget your sunscreen." Everyone gasps and applauds, and they head to THE BEACH! Christopher, for one, is quite excited, having never been to the beach in his life. Aw.
Let me explain to you why, when they pull up and see the Santa Monica pier, I cackled with both amusement and pain. I believe I have already mentioned my recent trip to L.A. to visit Pamie. Now, truly, Pam's just about the most fun person to visit in the world. And she always wants to make sure you have a real Cali vacation, even if you are only there for a few days. She believes, as Heidi does, that no trip can be classified as authentic without putting your feet in the ocean. I agree, though what we failed to think of this time as we spontaneously stopped at the very same beach after having lunch in Malibu, was that the approximately quarter-mile of sand we'd have to walk across to the water would contain the heat of a thousand raging supernova suns. Forced to remove our entirely-wrong-for-sand-walking heels, Pam got blisters between her toes and I howled curses well within hearing distance of several children and old people. We were a lurching, screaming cartoon of agony as we attempted to run to the water in order to put our sizzling feet out of their misery. Then, having dried our tears, we had to do it again on the race back to the car. If you could have seen the stoned dudes staring as us as we ran towards them, our tinny screams slowly becoming louder in the style of an oncoming train... I suppose you had to be there, but rest assured that my post traumatic stress is still fresh. Obviously wanting to avoid the same fate, Tim Gunn has opted to wear appropriate footwear on this occasion, though, the rest of his ensemble... "So, we're walking down the beach," Christopher says, as we see all the designers hop across the sand. "And we see Tim Gunn in sunglasses and sandals. But still in a blazer." Awesome. "Tim Gunn in flip flops?" Shirin laughs in an interview. "It's uh... it's a stretch." Tim: "Only at the beach."