In Episode 10, the competition is down to seven designers. As the day starts, some of them discuss how Elena is the only one left who hasn't won a challenge. She vows to change her approach from now on - less freaking out, more staying calm and relaxed. Good luck with that!
The challenge is introduced in quite possibly the cheesiest and most embarrassing way yet: they are all taken to Radio City Music Hall where the Rockettes do a routine, at the end of which who should appear but Heidi herself. She even joins in the kicking! Funny, cringe-inducing, unclear what any of it has to do with "fashion." Of course, they will have to make costumes for the Rockettes.
Elena immediately blows up her low-stress pledge by going $150 over budget at Mood, and I feel very sorry for the clerk who has to help her fluster through her fabrics and notions to figure out what to get rid of. Back at the workroom everyone else is just counting the minutes until she goes into another full meltdown, as they listen to her rage about how much she hates the fabric she got.
Happily, this is broken up by Chris, who decides to imitate what Sonjia is wearing - turban, sunglasses, and dark lipstick. Then everyone starts to turn the skeptic's eye on Ven, who keeps stressing that he wants his costume to have clean lines and not "beads and stones all over."
The workday ends early so that they can all go out to dinner! Sometimes I think the producers must take stress-level readings for everybody when they do their camera interviews, and when the group reaches some threshhold they finally let a tiny bit of pressure off like this. Most of them seem to have reached the point of mental exhaustion where their sympathy for each other as fellow human beings going through the same ordeal is starting to override their desire to defeat each other. At dinner, everybody drinks a bunch and opens up. Elena apologizes to Dmitry for directing so much anger towards him, and Ven explains how, being far younger than the rest of his siblings, he felt isolated as a child, and that's why he's the way he is. As Dmitry says, "it's the wine!"
Elena and Ven are still not doing great on their costumes, though. Elena, upon picking out her fabric, immediately said it looked like stuff for a band uniform, and promptly makes an ultra-blinged out bandleader/cheerleader look. She ends up putting it on herself, and dances and jumps around the workroom. Tim tells her she should just look for a baton when she styles the outfit. He also tries to get Ven to somehow increase the impact of his, since it's just a short dress, and is met with the Ven Wall of Ignorage. Ven thinks the pale blue sparkly netting he has is "loud." That's like saying bell peppers are spicy.
Dmitry uses his childhood/young-adulthood experience as a ballroom dancer to create a dress that, as Chris says, looks a lot like a high school dance team costume. Fabio and Tim get into an extended jam session on the theme of "bitches" and "bitchslapping," inspired by Fabio's frustration with his sequined fabric. Sonjia is struggling with her piles of purple feathers and Mellisa is unhappy with her pile of colorblocked pattern pieces.
Chris is happy with how his is going - the bodice has the NYC skyline on it. The others, especially Sonjia, are quite jealous of his great idea. However, he wishes he had enough illusion with sparkles on it for the sleeves and neckline, instead of just the plain illusion he got. His wish is granted, as Tim says that everybody seems enough in need of help that they all get another $100 and a trip to Mood! Ven, Dmitry, and Fabio decline, since they are happy enough with their fabrics and want more time to keep working.
Mellisa has a few last minute panic-inducing moments. First, the pull of her zipper comes off, without enough time to sew a new zipper in. It's not clear what she ends up doing, but I think her model just gets sewn in the dress. Then once it's on the runway, she realizes that from a distance, the colorblocking reads like a giant numeral 1!
At the top are Chris and Dmitry. At first the judges sound very mixed about Mellisa, but then they finally admit she's in the top three too. Fabio is the one out of seven who ends up exactly in the middle and therefore safe. Sonjia and Elena are in the bottom, as is Ven, though they are clearly less critical of him than the other two.
The judges have only positive comments for Chris - it would look great on thirty-six dancers in a row and smacks of Bob Mackie. They all like Dmitry's except that guest judge Debra Messing thinks it might be too sexy for "the little, little, little ones." Do people take kids that young to Rockettes shows??? And what is sexier about that costume that the others? They really like the graphic qualities of Mellisa's, but think it's too short.
Sonjia's is boxy and too fragile. The judges go into a long riff about how the feathers would fly everywhere and end up calling it a "disco turkey." Ven's has no design and looks like a glam Mother of the Bride dress cut short. Elena's is busy, tacky, and like a Las Vegas cheerleader or circus costume.
Chris is the winner! And Ven, now that his story arc from arrogant to cluelessly cruel to lonely has run its course, is out - prompting a round of "survivor's guilt" from Elena.
Next week, the designers have to make an outfit for a baby, for Heidi Klum's line of baby clothes.