It’s the penultimate week at Project Runway, which means home visits and lots and lots of filler. And while it’s always amusing to see Tim trekking across the country, an hour is really too much time to kill without the distraction of an actual runway show. In good news, though, we’re back in New York! Well, first, Long Island, where Carol Hannah has been spending time working on her twelve-piece collection for Fashion Week. Her friend Ellen has let Carol use her house for a few months, an act of kindness that is beyond us, though maybe we’d be more generous with our space if we had more than 800 square feet to share. Carol Hannah was inspired by the Duke Cathedral while on a road trip north, which somehow translates into making a dress with a huge tutu. We don’t see the connection, but everyone’s creative process is different. Though we think we can all agree that the tutu looks extremely uncomfortable. Tim gives her some helpful hints, and then is greeted downstairs by Carol Hannah’s mom, who informs him that they’re going to cook a southern meal together. “I love the kitchen!” enthuses Tim, and then we cut to a scene of him making biscuits in a floral apron (watch the clip!). Hilarious. CH’s family seems quite nice, though the pictures of her as a child are pretty frightening. Burn those, Carol Hannah!
Moving on to Irina, who’s holed up in an Upper East Side walk-up. Project Runway is one of the only shows on TV to show Manhattan living as it really is — the lavish apartment that Ugly Betty can somehow afford on an editorial assistant’s salary is absurd; Irina’s tiny pre-war living space is (sadly) accurate. She shows Tim her heavily black collection, and he’s pretty neutral, though he likes the Brooklyn print T-shirts, which we’ll hear more about in a few minutes. (Spoiler! She can’t use them because the design is already trademarked!) Irina then takes him to lunch on the Upper West Side with her family, who emigrated from the Republic of Georgia, and Tim cheers for the American dream.
The last home visit is Althea, who’s over in Dayton, Ohio, living in some sort of industrial loft, the elevator of which almost kills Tim. “Eeeegads!” he screams, when it almost chops off his head. Althea has a cute boyfriend named Stuart, and her parents seem super-supportive and sweet. That is all. The girls and their collections arrive in New York a few days before Fashion Week (Carol Hannah, who has a barfing virus, arrives a day late), and it becomes a reunion of sorts. Tim is there to drink Champagne with them. Nina and Michael Kors stop by to give some unhelpful advice. (“It’s important that you show what exemplifies who you are,” says Michael, who seems to think it’s fine that he basically skipped this entire season of judging. Never again, Kors!) And of course, Heidi swoops in at the end to give the designers one last challenge: They must create a thirteenth look for their collection with the help of Logan, Christopher, and Gordana, who’s looking lovely in yellow. One note: When Irina was forced to change her Brooklyn T-shirt design, she copied yet another famous device, our "Reasons to Love New York" issue. She even calls it “Reasons to Love.” We don’t mind, really, but for someone who’s so bent on proving that Althea is copying her, Irina’s quite liberal with her own “inspiration.” But we’re not bitter — how could we be, when Tim is around to utter lines like “We’re walking to Mood, using our feet — this is New York!” We’ll learn the outcome and the winner next week. Can’t wait!