Episode 11 was another muddled, confusing challenge. The six remaining designers must all make outfits for toddlers, and the winners (there will be a winner for each target gender) will be added to Heidi's new line of baby clothes for Babies R Us. That's simple enough. However, they are actually each assigned a specific toddler, who they meet in a line up of moms and tots. The moms and designers get some time to talk and get some ideas about what outfits the moms like. Dmitry compares this task to making an outfit for a cat, since the kids can't talk. Aren't we all relieved that foot-in-mouth Ven isn't around for this one?
The babies are all between 12 and 18 months old. My son is 17 months right now, so I definitely recognized his behavior in these other babies - switching between walking and crawling, stealing the designers' pens, etc. Chris is initially really happy with his pairing, since he really likes what the little girl is wearing - but quickly regrets it since the mom is very picky and opinionated. She tells him exactly what she wants him to make, notably a three-quarter sleeve white denim jacket (with NO POCKETS!).
Before they go back to the workroom, Tim emits the most ominous chuckle he's ever produced when he tells them they'll have a surprise. The next twist is revealed: they each have one of those newborn simulators they give to high school students, that cries all the time and has to be changed, fed, and rocked. I didn't really get this bit at all. Are they being judged on how well they take care of the baby? It sure didn't seem like it, since it never came up later. We were led to believe they even had to take them back to their apartments at night, but I'm pretty skeptical on that count. As for the supposed goal of this whole exercise - if a grown adult can't think of how to design clothes to make life easy for the parents of toddlers, I can't imagine that having them watch a newborn doll for part of a day would some how enlighten them.
In any case, Fabio takes it very seriously. He talks to his doll very sweetly and is reluctant to put it down and work. The other designers mock him for this, to which I say, sure - but why didn't the rest of you take it further? If it's not part of the judging, why do it at all? Just leave it in the bathroom or something so you can't hear it cry! It's just a doll! Or at least try to come up with a "babysitting" agreement, where one designer watches a few babies at once so the others can work uninterrupted, and then trade off. I can only think that there were rules preventing these sorts of things, or else surely someone would have tried.
Heidi joins Tim for his workroom rounds. The only conversation that really stands out is the one with Chris. He has been busily making the white jacket as requested, but Heidi has a totally different idea for the rest - she wants to see a skirt made out of some textile with dimensional flowers. So, correctly realizing that Heidi's opinion matters and the mom's actually doesn't, he changes direction and does exactly what Heidi asks for.
Heidi then introduces the next twist: they have one more day and also
have to make an outfit for the moms. However, as it becomes very clear
later, these outfits are actually not being considered in the judging
either, since the prize is solely about which toddler outfits will get
added to Heidi's line. So again, why did the producers do it? For their second day in the workroom, their dolls are taken to "day care" - and never mentioned again.
At the judging, Heidi is in her weirdest minidress yet - a black sheath with a negative-space Peter Pan collar and double thigh-slits. Crazy! The runway show is very cute, as each mom walks down, either carrying or holding hands with her child. During the critique, they just bring out one mom/baby pair at a time to discuss the clothes.
Chris' mom does not at all like what Chris ended up making - not the white flowery dress for the baby, and not the bright floral dress for her. But both are a clear favorite of the judges, who love that it's a dressy look for both without being matchy. Sonjia has a huge advantage in that the little boy she worked with is such a charmer - he smiles and waves at the judges, and is otherwise unbearably adorable. She made him a little matching blazer and sweatpants, with a bright print onesie underneath.
Dmitry and Fabio both make somewhat retro one-piece body suits for their little boys. Dmitry's has a hood that's a little too pointy, making him look a little like a crayon, as Michael Kors points out. Michael also objects to the hood looking too much like a cape when down, but Nina and Heidi quickly correct him and say the kids like it that way! By the end of the judging, the little crayon is asleep on his mother's shoulder. Fabio makes a little hat that matches his, and the judges like all the details.
Elena makes a little jacket with an interesting pleated collar, and a plain shirt and pants to go with it. The judges don't like that it looks like mixed separates, rather than a specific outfit. Mellisa makes a vest, and a too-short, too-narrow white dress (with exposed zipper!) that rides up.
Nobody mentions the moms' outfits all that much. None of them are terrible, and none of them are really remarkable either - since they don't actually affect the competition.
Unsurprisingly, Chris and Sonjia are the winners! Interestingly, in the actual production outfit, the main color in Chris' has been changed from white to navy.
Elena and Mellisa are in the bottom, and in the end Elena is eliminated.