The challenge? Create a party dress for a famous socialite. The socialite? Nicky Hilton. So, I guess we're calling her a "socialite" and not a "cultural leech." The designers are shown a dossier with a few photos of Nicky, to give them inspiration. Marla almost exactly copies a dress from the dossier.
There's a lovely bit of drama over missing dress forms. Daniel V. (of course, the "V" is needless now that Franco's gone) buys the wrong fabric and begs for scraps from others.
The designers present their creations to Nicky at a cocktail party. During the party, the designers have a walk-off that is amazing. In fact, Nick might be replacing Cara for the rest of the season. Or until next week, when Marla will be eliminated. This week, though, it was Lupe who was auf. Her amphibious design would put Nicky on a "worst-dressed list," say the judges. God forbid. The Hiltons hate nothing more than negative publicity. The winner is Santino, who really needed the ego boost. Even while wearing heels and doing a superb Tim Gunn impression, the guy comes off as a jerk.
Previously: The designers pitched lingerie lines to Heidi, and she picked four team leaders to lead teams of three in creating the leader's designs. Santino lost what I'm sure were the tons of respect that he had for Emmett. He also had a runway meltdown. Daniel Vosovic won the challenge. Daniel Franco nobly took the blame for his teams loss, and was eliminated. Confession: my DVR begins five minutes before the show begins (for peace of mind reasons), and I just watched Daniel Franco's elimination again. I swear to God I just cried a little. That was really touching. I was just remembering how, in the first season, Daniel explained that his fashion pursuits had been delayed because he ran the family business during his father's illness. So, after having his dreams delayed because of obligations, then having said dreams crushed at a maddeningly early stage; this guy offers himself up for elimination in the name of principle. I find that really bold and admirable. Okay, sorry for the diversion -- on to the episode.
Morning at the Atlas apartments. Chloe interviews that she thought Santino would go. She is sad that Daniel is leaving and when she says that Daniel was being "honorable," she gets choked up and says, "I'm gonna all tear up again!"
Nick interviews that he thinks that judges were correct in eliminating Daniel Franco, though Santino's tantrum looked "hazy." Is "hazy" West Hollywood for "totally inappropriate and lacking in self-awareness"? Santino interviews that the judges can "come for [him] again and again and again" and he won't back down from his vision. Okay, fair warning, I guess.
At the runway, Heidi greets everyone. Mention has been made on the forums, and I agree -- Heidi looks so gorgeous this season. Pregnancy certainly agrees with her. She tells everyone that they will be designing a party dress for "one of America's hottest young socialites." This could be interesting. Now, it's time to choose models. I'm having issues with the structure of the model choosing. I understand that the current structure emphasizes to a model (and the audience) that her success is linked with the success of the designer, but the only way to get rid of your model is if you win the challenge. And most of the winning designers are going to be happy with their models and attribute at least some of their success to them. So, this is all a pointless exercise. They should draw buttons from the black velvet bag, and the first person that wants to change models gets to choose. But only one person gets to change for each challenge. So, clearly Cara would go home (because of her persnickety behavior during the last challenge) if Marla had the opportunity to get rid of her. But, if the button of…say, Zulema was chosen before Marla's was chosen and Zulema wanted to get rid of Rachael, then Marla would be stuck with Cara for another week. It's just frustrating, because here come the models, Rebecca (Daniel V.'s) and Claudia (Daniel F.'s). Now, of course, Daniel V. wants to stick with Rebecca. I mean, it would seem fairly ungrateful for him to change models after winning the challenge. But Claudia is a lovely girl with a great attitude. I'm sure several designers would love to use her. But instead, she goes home. Funnily, when Heidi tells her she's "out" (which, incidentally, she's pronouncing much more succinctly these days), Claudia replies, "Yeah, I know." Backstage, Claudia and Tarah hug. Bye, Claudia! We'll miss you.
At Parsons, Tim greets the designers holding a stack of dossiers. He tells the designers to consider that socialites are very important to their careers. He asks Daniel to open and read one of the dossiers. The socialite is Nicky Hilton. I guess that's to be expected. When I saw the preview last week, and they showed a blurred version of her picture, I thought maybe the socialite would be Lauren Bush. I don't know why that excited me more. The designers seem happy. Santino interviews that "Nicky Hilton is an amazing muse -- for making beautiful things." Why do most of Santino's remarks have a subtextual "Stupid!" at the end of them? He always sounds like he's answering a question to which the answer is just way too obvious [, stupid!]. Daniel reads a letter from Nicky. The next day, she will be hosting a party for them where she will judge their designs. He quotes, "My standards are high, and my taste is exquisite." Is this the same girl who got married in Las Vegas with Bijou Phillips as one of her bridesmaids? Then had the marriage annulled three months later? Maybe the guy didn't live up to her "standards." But, um, the taste part. That just doesn't work.