Final four! The end is in sight, and while I'm still shocked that Josh and his very questionable taste level are still in the game, I think this is a pretty strong group. Hopefully this challenge will inspire Uli to use a fabric that isn't white, Emilio to use a color that isn't blinding and Anthony Ryan not to make that same cut-out silhouette he likes so much. Given that they'll be dressing real women, this should separate the real designers from the people who'd rather be dressing coat hangers.
The designers meet Carolyn on the deck of the Intrepid, and Josh has dressed for the occasion by putting on a tank top that looks like 1980s neon floral vomit. So respectful, that Josh! Anyway, if you haven't guessed already from the big boat, the special guest models for this challenge will be female military veterans Corporal Jessica Lord, Captain Donna Barrios, Petty Officer Lisa Dalhouse, Captain Leslie Nicole Smith and Isaac her service dog. Don't you wish Ven were here to say something snotty about them being "real" women, and then they could shoot him with a service revolver?
Josh gets Leslie Nicole, a tiny spitfire who lost her leg to a… blood clot. Give this woman a "I went all the way to Bosnia and all I got was this lousy prosthetic leg" T-shirt, because her story is just a cosmic bummer, although she really is delightful. The woman defines spunk and grit and lots of other cute adjectives usually reserved for Holly Hunter characters. Her first question after losing her leg was, "Am I going to be able to wear high heels?" Josh loves her. She loves leopard! How could he not?
Anthony Ryan is paired with Captain Donna. She's going to dress up for her 40th birthday and wants a strapless, long gown. She's also one of those "real people" Ven hated so much on Season 10, and I think Anthony Ryan may struggle with making something flattering for her.
Emilio is assigned Petty Officer Lisa, who was a jet engine mechanic and has been in Afghanistan. She's going to a bachelorette party in Las Vegas, so she wants to look fabulous. She likes color! She wants to be young and fun and sexy, and Emilio is so excited to learn she likes yellow. Yes, Emilio will be making another yellow dress. I guess if she doesn't like the end result, she can grab a Sharpie and go as a bumblebee for Halloween.
Uli is matched up with Corporal Jessica, who's going to a wedding. Ah-ha! For once, Uli can't use white! Even better, Jessica likes purple. I'm so looking forward to seeing Uli design something in a big, bold color. Hopefully she'll leave the feathers at home, lest she send this girl down the runway looking like the love child of Barney and Big Bird.
The designers rush off to Mood, and Josh finds a cheetah print he loves -- but as it's monochrome, he's going to dye it. Uli can't find a purple she likes, so she also decides to go for a white and black print. Oh, come ON! That whole store, she couldn't find a single purple print to work with?
visits the workroom. She's so pleased they're dressing veterans, she's going to be extra vigorous in her critiques. The designers pretend to quake while hiding yawns, as no one really listens to Joanna anyway. Anthony Ryan is first. Joanna thinks he should give her a shoulder strap to make her feel more support up top. Rigorous!
Joanna notes that Uli's dress looks exactly like what she's wearing. Still, she thinks it's flattering. Zing! That Joanna, really taking the designers to task!
Joanna thinks Emilio's girl will have to be very brave to wear the dress he's made for her, as it's very, very bright. Yes, Emilio found a bolt of yellow fabric that came with a warning label: May cause unexpected eye bleeding. Joanna hopes Lisa likes it. Wow, Joanna just could not restrain herself with caustic critiques, could she? I'm floored. Or bored. The words rhyme, so I got confused.
Josh talks about his dress. I'm a little worried about a green cheetah print, but Joanna thinks he seems more inspired this week. Ah, yes, it's time for a personal story. His brother is in the military and did two tours in Afghanistan. Josh gets choked up. Apparently his brother no longer thinks he's a piece of crap because he's been on television. He doesn't say that exactly, but it's implied, and I can't really imagine a guy who's done two tours in Afghanistan being overly impressed by someone who makes spectacularly ugly dresses most of the time. But I guess knowing his brother has the hook up to runway models stops him from giving Josh wedgies when he's back in town.
The designers run around frantically, and so far, so good… until the women come in for fittings. What looked okay on the mannequins doesn't translate so well to real bodies in a few cases. Anthony Ryan's dress, totally unflattering. She looks like an ombre manatee, and there's no reason for it because she's not that big. Emilio has to toss out his top and start over with his dress. The fact that he sends anything down the runway is a minor miracle.
Runway time! Our judges are Georgina Chapman, Isaac Mizrahi
, former Mrs. Tom Cruise Katie Holmes and designer Carmen Marc Valvo.
As disappointed as I am that Uli did another monochrome design, Jessica's dress works perfectly. It even nicely offsets her back tattoo. You can't say that every day on this show, can you?
Considering this went wrong in the workroom, this looks okay. It's bright, it's fun, it's sexy and shows skin tastefully. But it seems a little off. There's some gapping on the side, and the back could use some finessing. We can't see it up close, but I suspect there are problems.
And he's going home. She looks like a wadded-up comforter held up with a jock strap.
Well, I'll be. Leslie looks cute as a button. Even the dog has a little outfit. I would have gone longer on a mature woman, but as she's petite, it's okay. The green cheetah print is almost black, so it's, yes, tasteful. Is this really Josh? Or did he get body snatched only to be replaced with a shockingly tasteful person? I'm stunned!
Judges be judging. Josh is first. Katie thinks it's a beautiful dress, and thinks it looks comfortable. Carmen Marc asks if she wanted to show the prosthetic, and she did. Carolyn loves the V-neck and the trim. Isaac loves everything about the dress, but wishes Isaac the dog was in something more glamorous. Georgina likes the way he broke up the animal print, but wishes it were a dress.
Katie loves the yellow of Emilio's dress. Georgina thinks it looks as if he ran out of fabric, and was disappointed in the execution. Isaac thinks he has to be more obsessive about the details, because it can make or break you. Carmen Marc says he needed to cheat the back angle to hold it tight against her body. Carolyn doesn't mind the color variation, and thinks the overall design is perfect for a bachelorette party.
Uli's turn. Carolyn loves the back and loves the shape. Georgina thinks the high-low hemline feels very free and thinks it's perfect for a wedding. Isaac loves the shadowy thing around the bustling. Katie thinks the embellishment could have been softer. Like, a feather. She's been watching! Carmen thinks Uli did a very, very good job.
And now, time to savage Anthony Ryan's dress. Carolyn wishes she would celebrate her curves. Georgina would have liked to see her body shown off a little more. She thinks the straight across neckline is very hard and the straps are claustrophobic. Katie thinks the straps should have been beaded to make it fun. Isaac loves the spirit of the dress, even though it's not figure flattering. But it's fresh and young! Wow, are they just trying to be nice? This thing is AWFUL.
Once the women and designers are gone, it's time for the judges to be honest. And they honestly thought Anthony Ryan's dress made her look like a trussed-up sack of potatoes. But Isaac loves the dress anyway! He loves it! And he won't listen to argument! What the hell is wrong with Isaac? It doesn't matter that it's NOT FLATTERING? I now know why so many designers send ugly stuff down the runways and into stores. Thanks, Isaac, for hating women.
They also think Emilio screwed up badly, so it's a tie for the bottom -- Georgina and Isaac want to keep Anthony Ryan, Katie and Carmen Marc want to keep Emilio. Gee, wonder what this means? It wouldn't be that they're sending the final four into the last round, would they?
Verdict time! Josh and Uli are the top two designers. And the winner is… Josh. Yes, it's upside-down land and we now have a king instead of a president and the sexiest woman alive is Jonah Hill. But it was a nice little dress. He feels validated. I feel shocked. And yes, Uli is safe.
Anthony Ryan is… safe. And Emilio is safe. There's no reason to eliminate anyone, according to Carolyn, which I guess could be said every week, but that would make for one hell of a long season.
So, no one goes home, next week they all go to Paris, and we get to see if Josh's sudden tendency toward elegance holds. Color me shocked. Just don't color me electric yellow.
Were you surprised to see the final four will return? Did you like Anthony Ryan's dress? Were you surprised Josh put together an actual winner?