My dad used to tell me a joke about an army commander who didn’t know how to break the news that one of his soldier’s mother had died. So he lined up the squad and said, “Everyone with a mother step forward. Not so fast, Jones.”
I mention this because that’s sort of how it was for Mila and Jay, right?
“Congratulations,” said Heidi. “You’ve made it to Bryant Park!” (Not so fast, Mila and Jay.)
“Let’s toast to. . . Bryant Park!” said Tim. (Not so fast, Mila and Jay.)
And here’s your huge personal work station! (Not so fast, Mila and Jay.)
Made for some awkward moments.
Anyway, it was “Tim out of water” week—always a treat. Seasons past, we’ve seen Tim on the beach, on the back of a bicycle built for two, on a blanket at a backyard BBQ as grimy children climbed all over him. What could be next for our dapper hero?
First stop, Vancouver, WA to meet up with Seth Aaron and his cute family.
Do you ever have one of those nightmares where you’ve just about finished the thesis or the big project and you find out that you did everything wrong? Maybe you read the wrong book or you accidentally wrote the whole thing in invisible ink or you lost all your notes?
Well, Seth Aaron lived that nightmare. The man had a studio filled with clothing—he had obviously been mainlining Red Bull for weeks—and Tim said something to the effect of: “This is all very lovely. Now start again.”
You could see for a second that Seth Aaron was thinking, “Dude, you’re messing with me.”
But Tim Gunn is no dude. And he does not mess.
Tim’s reasoning was this: What Seth Aaron had was a room filled with Seth Aaron clothing (Sgt. Pepper jackets for all). Which is fine and lovely, but isn’t going to win Project Runway.
“I only challenge you because I know you can do this,” said Tim, kindly, as Seth Aaron attempted to pick his jaw up from the floor.
Seth Aaron managed to recover enough to take Tim back to the house and show off his family and share a hilarious slide show of his unfortunate hair choices through the years.
And. . .trampoline! Yup, Seth Aaron can now proudly say that he has contributed to the great tradition of Tim's "Where's Gunn?" moments, as he arranged for Tim—suit legs rolled up, shoes off—to hop up and down on a backyard trampoline. Of course, Tim fell over.
Next stop, Emilio in New York City, where we meet Emilio’s two big brothers, who have been given explicit instructions (by Emilio) to talk about how awesome their kid brother is.
Emilio takes Tim back to his studio to see his progress and— how did I not pick up on this before?—it finally occurs to me that Tim absolutely hates Emilio.
I mean, it was there the whole time, plain as the zippers on Seth Aaron’s soon-to-be-incinerated jackets.
Tim never has a kind word to say about Emilio’s clothing, never seems enthused when Emilio wins. Can barely make eye contact with the guy.
Emilio started by confidently showing off his collection and, I must say, it was brutal.
“This is my new color obsession,” said Emilio, holding up several garments in a truly offensive shade. “What would you call it?”
I dunno. . .
Pea soup that’s been sitting in the sun too long?
“There’s a lack of sophistication here,” said Tim, unkindly. “And it looks kind of. . old.”
So Emilio got defensive and Tim kept trying to explain and Emilio kept cutting him off and it was. . .well, tense.
Next, Tim is off to L.A. to meet Mila, where she predictably lives in an impeccable world of black-and-white and color blocking and gentility.
Yes, she has a (damn cute) Dalmatian named Ziggy and her parents are lovely and her boyfriend is just kind of there, allowing Mila to be the sun and stars in her own perfectly ordered universe.
Tim mostly dug her collection but was worried that some of her pieces seemed a bit matronly.
This concerned Mila, because she mostly just wants to beat Jay.
“I don’t want to lose that that little . . .”—and here Lifetime cut off the word, but we can only assume she said “pygmy.”
Finally to San Francisco to meet Jay and his lookalike mom. (Slap a faux-hawk and a cheekily low-cut tee on that woman and she could BE Jay.)
Again, Tim liked some of what he saw, but felt that Jay overworked his collection. In particular, he held up this bizarre, shredded sleeve concept that Jay was working on and said: “Qu'est que ce?”
“Don’t worry Tim,” said Jay. “I have the ball. . .on my side.”
(Luckily, Jay won’t be displaying a collection of popular idioms at Bryant Park. )
Back in New York, Mila and Jay are the first to arrive at the suite. Of course.
They are forced to have a conversation with each other, which Jay finds intense.
“I’m really not such a bad guy,” says Mila.
Okay, it’s not exactly warm and fuzzy, but it’s kind of a détente and Mila even says that she found it cathartic.
Emilio and Seth Aaron come in and then Tim Gunn shows up and hug everyone heartily, except for Emilio (it was there the whole time, people! the whole time!), to whom he gives a wan hand squeeze.
To the studio they go, where Jay and Mila must suffer the indignity of sharing the aforementioned workspace and Tim breaks the news that they’ll have a mere 3 hours to show off their 3 best looks.
Brandise, Mila’s model, arrives with a new severe bob and her transformation is complete. She now looks more like Mila and Maya than Mila and Maya do.
So the 6 looks go down the runway and both have done well, sticking to their normal styles but turning up the volume.
The judges are impressed.
“So who should go to Bryant Park?” asks Heidi.
“Jay,” says Michael Kors, definitively.
“Mila,” says Heidi, definitively.
It’s time for Nina to break the tie.
“I don’t know!” says Nina, twirling her hair coquettishly. “It’s just so hard.” This is a side of Nina we’ve never seen before. I don’t think I like it.
So Nina’s clearly going to be of no use whatsoever and, as they went to the commercial, I thought: We’re about to find out who wields more power on this show: Heidi or Michael.
I was praying for Heidi.
“Mila. . .congratulations, you’re going to Bryant Park.” (For reals, this time.)
Yay! Heidi is all-powerful!
Mila gets to go. She gets to drink the whole glass of champagne and use the entire work station! And Jay is still proud and still thinks he has the ball on his side!
I must say, I’m very excited for next week because, with the exception of what we’ve seen from Mila, we have no idea what’s coming down that runway. Seth Aaron was pretty much forced to start anew, and Emilio admitted that his collection had changed radically since he was featuring the color so ugly it had no name.
It’s anyone’s game, people! Can’t wait!