After getting over the shock of seeing Austin without his jaunty mustache, Angela explains their last and most stressful challenge. The three finalists must create a mini-collection of five full runway-ready looks in only four days. Wow. Judges Georgina and Isaac join her for the announcement — likely so there'd be even numbers should the designers, so incensed by the ridiculous task, revolt and start brawling. Even with her stilettos as a weapon, poor Angela wouldn't stand a chance on her own; you just know Mondo and Michael both fight dirty. And, ok, Austin would too — think a swift kick to the crotch followed by a lightly-scented lace handkerchief to wipe away your tears.
The finalists visit Marie Claire's offices and, just as a reminder of her importance, Joanna Coles makes them wait a little before joining them for the first of many pep-talks. (Well, she is a very busy lady.) Her sunshine-colored Victoria Beckham dress is killer, but, dare we say it, upstaged slightly by executive assistant Sergio Kletnoy's neon lemon high-tops in the yellow clothing stakes. Let's hope they always color coordinate, even if it's just a little. Aside from the fantastic views that the high floors on the Hearst building offer, the finalists' conversation with Joanna is an important reminder of how big a deal a guest-editor spot on the magazine's masthead could be.
With a $3000 budget at Mood, Michael and Austin shop with giddy purpose. Mondo, well, he doesn't. He stomps around under a black cloud, giving the producers a great idea for a challenge next season by saying he feels like he's picking fabrics blindfolded. With the finalists' workroom transformed into three little studios upon their return, he makes like
his everyone's inner teenager and shuts himself in his workroom to brood and write long, dark poems about tunnels — the ones where everything's a metaphor but nothing rhymes. He doesn't even pretend to be happy upon judge Georgina's arrival for the next little pep-talk, then spends the remainder of work lounging dramatically on a couch. He even bails on dessert at the designers' post-work meal! Meanwhile Michael and Austin, working on an African safari-themed resort line and a “whimsical rockstar meets Hasidic gentleman” collection respectively, get lots done and make it through all of dinner.
By the next morning though, Mondo manages to temper his melancholia somewhat — channeling it into a therapy-inspired collection that sees him making Rorschach blots and layering circular prints to look like acupuncture charts. There's some squabbling over models, some squabbling over their shows' music, and some pleasantries from Isaac during his pep-talk, but by far the most interesting — and terrifying — occurrence from day two is when Michael cracks his neck like he's prepping to break it. That noise! But any method of releasing tension is fair game, because Angela pops up next with a gratuitously nasty twist. It really wouldn't be a Runway finale without some mindfuckery.
In exchange for picking an assistant for a day from the pool of eliminated contestants, the finalists have to create a sixth look using only leftover fabric from their previous looks this season. Wisely, none of the final three pick assistants eliminated too recently — they're likely still too tired and embittered; Mondo plumps for Mila, Austin picks "Princess Antoinetta," and Michael chooses April, whose hair is looking even better with its sassy senior violet rinse.
Their 24 hours of assistance flies by in a montage of pattern cutting and flamboyance — most of which comes from Anthony, and then Joanna Coles is back for yet more pep talks. (Four in this episode alone.) Whether she's trying to psych the finalists up or out at the producers' bidding isn't clear, but it certainly works in needling home to the designers that their big moment is closing in fast: They're all so excited, they're all so scared. And we are too, we think. Except their runways won't air until next week, of course, so we fade out on a cutesy little Champagne toast and wait till next Thursday for the show to really begin ... and end. Predictions, please!
Most Viewed Stories
Bobbi Brown on Why She Really Left Her Brand and Resisted Making a Contour Palette, and Her Next Moves
The Only Woman Mike Pence Is Allowed to Eat Alone With Is His Wife
The Makeup Police Have Come to Arrest Alicia Keys
Ali Wong Loves Kondo-ing So Much, She Named Her Daughter After It
All the Things Women Are Doing Wrong
Kris Jenner Is Reportedly Trying to Find Time to Break Up With Corey Gamble
Aubrey Plaza Is Currently Serving Up the Most Terrifying Performance on TV
Why Millennial Pink Refuses to Go Away
Ask Polly: My Friend Says I’m Always Competing With Her for Men!
Maxine Waters Is Unfazed by Bill O’Reilly’s Comments About Her Hair
Latest News from The CutThe U.S. Women’s Hockey Team Won Their Fight for Fair Pay. Here’s What Needs to Happen Next.
Male athletes need to put their money where their mouths are.Models Open Up About the Mistreatment They’ve Faced in the Industry
They shared their stories, both anonymous and on the record, with Models.com.You Can Barely Tell the Difference Between Cristiano Ronaldo and His New Bronze Statue
A spitting image.Hillary Clinton Has a New Rhyming Mantra
Clinton gave her first major postelection speech on Tuesday.Maxine Waters on Why She Decided ‘to Take the Gloves Off and Go for It’
The California Congresswoman didn’t plan to go head-to-head with Trump — but now she’s committed to stopping him.Alabama Just Became the Third State to Give Parents Baby Boxes
Just 47 more states to go.J.W.Anderson Is Uniqlo’s Next Big-Name Collaborator
His British-heritage-inspired line arrives this fall.California Files Criminal Charges Against Anti-Abortion Activists Who Secretly Filmed Planned Parenthood Employees
California’s attorney general filed a warrant for the activists’ arrest.Aubrey Plaza Is Currently Serving Up the Most Terrifying Performance on TV
In a role originally meant for a 50-year-old man.Fox News Sued by Two Black Women for Racial Discrimination
Former payroll workers claim they were subjected to “top-down racial harassment.”
It’s not all fun and games and peafowl.How to Curate a Dynamic Uniform
A $2,500 gift card to Vince could be yours. #adAsk Polly: My Friend Says I’m Always Competing With Her for Men!
Is she really your friend?The Only Woman Mike Pence Is Allowed to Eat Alone With Is His Wife
He also won’t attend events serving alcohol without her.Nicki Minaj Is Officially Now a Model After Signing With an Agency
She signed with Wilhelmina’s celebrity division.Maxine Waters Is Unfazed by Bill O’Reilly’s Comments About Her Hair
“I’m a strong black woman, and I cannot be intimidated.”Kris Jenner Is Reportedly Trying to Find Time to Break Up With Corey Gamble
Apparently the momager’s busy schedule hasn’t allowed time for talk of breaking up.The Makeup Police Have Come to Arrest Alicia Keys
Adam Levine tattled on Alicia Keys for wearing makeup.Lyft Fancies Itself the Woke Bae of Ride-Hailing Apps
“We’re not the nice guys,” Lyft president John Zimmer told Time. “We’re a better boyfriend.”A New Book on Yoga Aims to Democratize the Practice
Yoga Bodies shows people of all ages, backgrounds, shapes, and skill levels.