As the episode begins, Ken is still fuming that Alexandria would dare imply that she had to be careful in speaking to him, lest he should become angry. Mm-hm. When they get to the runway, Tim is wearing a camo suit to introduce the next activity. First, we learn that Jeremy can't tell the difference between hunting and military camo, and then we learn that they will all get to go "glamping" over night! As it happens, there really is no trick (as I kept expecting) - they get to hang out at a lovely campsite night next to a stream, relax in hammocks, go rafting and ziplining, have a lovely catered picnic dinner, and sleep on cushy cots in canvas tents. The only stressful part was that they only got 30 minutes to pack. Well, Ken hates being outdoors so he hates the whole experience, but he manages to warm up to it by the end.
It's very nice of the producers to give them this break. In previous seasons, they've brought in loved ones for a day for a similar purpose, but that sometimes seems to backfire - some of the designers collapse under the pressure once the challenge resumes. It's almost as if it gives them a bit too much of a break and reminds them what life is like outside of the insane crucible of sleep-deprived reality TV contestants and omnipresent cameras. So this is an interesting tweak - they are still only around each other, but get a day off from competing. It does seem to have been more uniformly refreshing rather than emotionally crushing.
Justin in particular has a great time "glamping." He explains that his hearing impairment make it essentially impossible to work and communicate at the same time, so he hasn't been able to get to know everyone else until now. There's a very cute scene of him teaching everyone else swear words in sign language.
Interlude over - the actual challenge is to make a high-end fashion look, something editorial. They can use the glamping experience as inspiration, but they don't have to. Their suggested Mood budget is $300.
Justin buys a bunch of glue gun cartridges and proceeds to make it into lace - Tim approves of what he sees so far. Bradon has been "painting" with thread to create his own textile, irritating the other designers with how much constant noise he's making in the sewing room, and unfortunately Tim thinks it looks like a kid's drawing. Dun dun dun! Tim is also very skeptical of the drop-crotch pants Dom is working on. Her model says that pants like that are used as underwear in her culture - a reassuring notion, to be sure! Tim thinks Karen's dress may be too boring and urges her to go for the ombre dye effect she'd been contemplating. Bradon and his model joke that it looks like a nightgown. Everybody really likes Helen's moth-inspired dress.
Overall, at the end of Tim's visit, he's actually very pleased with how things are going in the workroom and thinks it seems like one of their best overall efforts so far.
As we get through the model fitting and the final rush before the runway, the editors unleash a wave of snark from the interview rooms. Jeremy in particular, riding high from having immunity, is enjoying endulging in name calling and compares Alexander's leather train to an "oil slick" and Kate's poufy concoction to "a pregnant fairy in a shiny harness." Ken jokes to Jeremy that he wants to buy the immunity off of him! (And if he did, I'm sure they'd do it with those pre-paid cards they've been using all season!) He's also shown being great pals with Justin, and compliments Miranda's work so far ("is that Miranda or Christian Dior???") which makes me start wondering if the editors are doing a little "reputation repair" to make us feel bad if Ken gets eliminated.
Alexandria is behind where she wants to be and Ken thinks she should go home. Helen thinks the judges will hate Justin's lace and she hates the silhouette of the top of Ken's dress. Poor Bradon is getting stuck on his draping, is running around frantically, then has terrible static cling issues with the dress. But in the end they all manage to get something walking down the runway.
Karen sends out a beige red carpet dress that seems verrrrry "safe." Bradon's dress is loud and kind of wacky, but I could actually picture in an editorial...in a teen magazine. Miranda's dark petaled dress is my favorite this time, though also a bit on the safe side. Ken has made a sheath dress using several colors of the same heathery print, with a very heavy blob of folded fabric on the top. Alexandria's outfit is a denim jacket with a dramatic back and those dreaded drop-crotch pants - the styling does a good job of selling it, though, and I could picture it in an editorial settig. Alexander's long, dark, tree-printed dress seems like too literal a take on their inspiration. Justin's is very messy, and he acknowledges that he took a risk. Dom's watery print dress would be better if the collar had just one color instead of two. Karen's buckle-top ombre maxi dress and Kate's poofy "fairy in a shiny harness" dress both seem like things that could be in an editorial but would never be worn by a person out in real life. Jeremy's slinky dress, made of fabric on which he painted a love letter to his husband, seems a bit too much like lingerie.
Dom, Bradon, Kate, Helen, and Miranda are all safe - and they realize that means they've made it into the top ten!
The jugdes hate Karen's - it's trashy and looks like a duvet or muumuu. She had her model wear it with cowboy style boots, making it look like she can't decide between the beach or the rodeo. They don't like the Easter-egg yellow or the figure-hiding shape. Ken's prompts Nina to shout B! O! R! I! N! G! and they loath the weird heavy wad of fabric he put on the bodice. He claims it was inspired by layers of exposed sediment near the stream, and the swept back hair was supposed to evoke Mother Nature, but Zac Posen says it looks like a frog queen. (Cue a huge smirk from Alexandria.) Justin's doesn't fare much better. Heidi compares it to a cheap Halloween costume and Zac says the lace gives the effect that the model is "foaming from the hips." Nina takes this even further and mirthfully utters the deadly phrase "FOAMING VAGINA." But then they do try to find some nice things to sac - Zac likes the color and Nina likes the varying layers of transparency in the skirt. Backstage, Karen and Justin are reduced to tears over their critiques.
At the top, the judges melt for Jeremy's sweet love letter dress. It's chic, personal, emotional, and breathtaking. When they get to see it up close they love it even more, for the details like the buttons up the side and the tulle around the sleeves and neckline. They also like similar details on Alexander's dress, and the great fit (achieved with a zipper, not sewn on the model!). Zac is not wowed, however. As for Alexandria's, he's also in the "no drop crotch pants!" camp, but she's managed to sell them to him. Nina indicates that her outfit would definitely be a good fit for an editorial.
Alexandria is named the winner! And despite all the screen time he got, Ken is safe. In fact, Justin is out. Bah! Backstage, everyone is upset and crying when this happens. I can't remember ever seeing any group so universally affected by the elimination. And then, Tim comes in...and announces he's using his save! So nobody will leave this week. Of course now everyone is crying even more.
Next week looks like shoes, shoes, and more shoes.