updated 09/08/2011 AT 4:00 PM ET
•originally published 09/09/2011 AT 8:30 AM ET
When Heidi Klum is carrying her button bag, you know that’s a bad sign. That proved to be the case this week as the Klum of Doom helped place contestants on two leaderless teams, leaving volatile contestants like Josh, Bert and Becky to work together in an intense challenge.
Tim Gunn met the designers in the workroom, where he introduced the HP/Intel challenge: create several textile designs from scratch, use those textiles in a five-piece collection and produce your own runway show and include background video and music. Designer Betsey Johnson popped by to offer a few words of wisdom, too.
Teams got to work conceptualizing and choosing names. Team “Chaos” – named for its busy textiles – consisted of Anthony Ryan, Anya, Viktor, Olivier and Bryce. Team “Nuts and Bolts,” which got its name from the clock theme it chose for its collection, included Josh, Laura, Kim, Becky and Bert. “Josh, Bert, Becky all on one team? That is just a disaster waiting to happen,” Anya said. She was right.
As soon as everyone began designing, Josh went off on Bert, criticizing him for cursing in conversation. Before things got too heated, though, the team split up, with Kimberly, Becky and Bert heading to Mood and Laura and Josh setting out to film the background video for their show. To continue with their time motif, they filmed Laura running around New York as a stylish woman who’s always late for events.
Meanwhile, Viktor and Bryce went to Times Square to film moving LED lights, people walking, water splashing – the “chaotic noise” of New York, they called it. As day one was winding down, Josh made a very public apology to his teammates and Bert, even offering the senior designer a friendly hug.
On day two, the custom textiles arrived: Nuts and Bolts used literal items like numbers, cogs and the words “cancelled” and “delayed” written like graffiti, while Chaos went with black-and-white patterns inspired by the Rorschach test. Tim loved the cohesion of Chaos’s looks, like Anya’s open-back cocktail dress and Viktor’s inkblot black-and-white gown.
Nuts and Bolts struggled, though; Tim was “troubled” by many of the contestants’ looks, and even made them hold hands and vow to be honest and communicate with one another. In the meantime, Josh suffered a mini-meltdown, recalling how he wasn’t able to rush to his mother’s bedside when she passed away two years ago because he was in New York, trying to make his fashion dreams come true. A sweet phone call with his dad lifted his spirits, though.
On the runway, where designer Rachel Roy and Bridesmaids star Rose Byrne served as guest judges, the differences in the two teams’ work was obvious. For Nuts and Bolts, Josh created a black-and-white blazer with a blue cami and graffiti-printed pants; Becky made a black jacket, green top and graffiti-printed skirt; Bert made a one-shoulder, mid-calf dress with the cog textile; Laura designed a blue jumpsuit; and Kimberly made a voluminous skirt and blouse.
Team Chaos stuck with a black-and-white theme, as Anya sent her cute cocktail dress down the runway; Bryce made an airy red top and printed shorts; Anthony Ryan designed a printed, collared top with white skirt and red necktie; Olivier made an exquisitely tailored jacket and printed pants; and Viktor dazzled with the black-and-white inkblot gown.
During judging for Nuts and Bolts, many flaws were discussed, like the busyness and literal look of the team’s prints, the “hooker convention” of a background video (per Michael Kors) and the negative vibes between designers. Bert and Becky told the judges they thought Josh was the weakest link, while Josh and Kimberly said Becky was the one who should go home. Not surprisingly, Josh and Becky ended up in the bottom two.
Meanwhile, Chaos earned points for a truly cohesive collection, and though the judges gushed over Viktor’s gown and Olivier’s tailored jacket, Anya earned her first win for her just-right cocktail dress.
Becky was eventually sent home – though the judges recognized she has a talent for sewing, they thought her look was weak, and that she was lacking a point of view. “I don’t think I deserved to go home today,” she said icily as she packed her supplies. “I know I’m a good designer.”