Missy Schwartz
August 20, 2010 AT 01:22 PM EDT

There were promises of delicious weirdness last night, what with Casanova mock-threatening to quit this whole perro and pony show and Mondo making his alluring pronouncement on textile vocalization: “There’s a million, trillion fabrics to chose from and I think they all have voices. And I’m hearing them.” Yet the episode turned out to be low on bat-crap cuckoo — and, for that matter, sublime creations. (If ever there was cause to cut loose and go avant-garde!) Ivy recovered from her Lindsay Lohan syndrome dehydration to return to fully delusional consciousness (“Really?…Me and Gretchen not even being in [the top]?!”). We got to see the designers eat, eat, and eat some more. And Gretchen furthered slithered toward her status as the designer most resembling a poisonous snake in the grass.

The challenge this week was to create a look inspired by and worthy of existing in the same hemisphere as a series of fantastical hats made by big shot Irish milliner Philip Treacy. Though they oohed and ahhed themselves silly over the honor of working with creations from such an artiste, the designers all chose hats based on the model who was sporting them, rather than the appeal of the blessed headgear itself. All of them stuck with their previous models. The model you know is better than the hat you don’t, I guess.

It was clear as soon as the gang romped back into the workroom from Mood that Kristin was flailing in the sartorial deep end without the help of floaties. She got one of the most evocative hats — a big ol’ orchid — but complained that it was too literal. Say wha? How her particular piece of noggin garnish presented a trickier task than, say, Casanova’s abstract swoosh was lost on me. Even when she embraced her hat’s Georgia O’Keeffian, lady part-ish-ness (“It’s just a big vagina!”), she still had no clue what the heck she was doing. Gretchen offered her two cents on Kristin’s aesthetic, calling it “sloppy” and “not very thoughtful.” The self-proclaimed “force to be reckoned with” might be an annoying, egomaniacal pain in the arse, but in this case, she was an annoying, egomaniacal pain in the arse who was right.

Ah, but not for long! Backstage, following the runway show, Gretchen sat like the cackling mother hen she so desperately wants to be and sounded off on her picks for top and bottom three. She proclaimed that she’d wear every piece of Christopher’s outfit in a heartbeat — as if her stamp of approval was the be-all, end-all determination of worthy designs. Then she led the group in hating on both Michael C.’s copper dress and Valerie’s lovely red frock. Wrong and wrong! Lady, I’m not sure you should be doling out criticism after crafting a schizophrenic turd of an outfit that combined a shapeless print top with lace and pleather leggings. Oh, and what’s with the sudden Betty Crockering of the makeup?

But back to the runway show. Andy had immunity, so he and his hot pink Working Girl ensemble were in no danger. Peach finally graduated from drunken geriatrics to borderline chic; A.J. somewhat redeemed himself from last week with a cute black and white polka dot party dress; Ivy made another yawner in the key of beige hospital curtains; and Mondo sent another dispatch from his planet of nuttiness. (It’s a place where beautiful women wear mustaches. Okay, so maybe there was a little crazy last night.) And despite proving that he really does not get it or any imaginable variations of it (to Tim Gunn: “So the dress should be not wearable?”), that train wreck of tastelessness Casanova managed to stitch up a dress that didn’t appear to have escaped the psych ward of the best little whorehouse in San Juan. Yes, the black, “Donna Karan 1988” thing was on the dull side. But mierda if it didn’t get Casanova straight through to the next round. Maybe he really is a “cat with seven life” [sic] after all.

Perennial bridesmaid Valerie made another strong showing this week. Like the Not So Mad Hatter, I didn’t quite get where she was going with the outfit or what it had to do with the lacey black Treacy mask — until she explained that the dress’s low scoop front was a modern take on the classic Edwardian neckline. Ah-ha! I thought that was very clever.

Had Treacy been a bigger fan of Valerie’s red frock and white bolero, I’d like to think she would have made the top two, ’cause I don’t get how Michael D.’s corrugated-board get-up beat her. The red crinkle skirt had its charm, but that top just baffled me. No matter how much it evoked the sculptural, architectural quality of that humongous straw thing sitting atop his model’s head, it still looked like it came from the UPS store. And no, the fit was not good. Nope.

But in the battle of Michaels, it was Michael C. who whisked off with the win. The reliable supplier of sass who was so lost at the top of the hour that he was ready to “pack my f***ing bags” pulled himself out of the doldrums and churned out a pretty goddess dress that didn’t rock my world, but had the judges all but clutching their hearts in admiration. Philip the Hat Man appreciated how the shimmer of the copper fabric recalled the glimmer of the red (let’s face it, vaguely spermatazoid) hat. The fit was nice. The back was lovely. And somebody had to win. So why not the funny guy who sadly missed out on spending Father’s Day with his son Giovanni? Fair enough. I can tell you I was a lot happier for Michael C. than his sourpuss colleagues were — those folks who greeted him backstage with the lamest, limpest of applause. Clearly, his fans are few. “What the f***?” asked Ivy in confessional. “So, they loved yours, Michael?” cooed Gretchen in her yuckiest faux sweet voice. Then she smirked. Behind closed doors she sniped, “He’s a replicator. He’s not a visionary.” Sore losers, party of two!

On the opposite end of the criticism, cutie Christopher took a beating from the judges. I thought Heidi might cotton to his silver and black flowered jacket with leggings, if only for its superheroic shine capabilities. But she nein’d it for being too dark and sad. (She said this while wearing a staid black dress, mind you.) Her fellow judges agreed, Christopher was crushed, but he still managed to avoid the ax.

Of course, it’s not as if he merely squeaked by or anything — not with the double whammy of Madam Bunch It Till You Can’t Bunch That Shizz No More (Kristin) and Our Lady of Pampers (April). Honestly, both gals — Kristin with her slap-dash, amateurish black dress punctuated by rando pink panels and April with her white diaper and black zippered top — choked so hard Tim must have been ready to dial 911. Both were guilty of offensive uses of pink, but the stuff sticking out of April’s boy shorts was so sloppy it looked like her model had forgotten to remove the de-elasticized granny panties she secretly wears at night. (Or: three panties for a three-day weekend. Thank you, Sir Quips A Lot!) Plus, I’m sorry, but ass cheeks are never modern, on-trend, or whatever silly defense April attempted to lay on us. The bottom two garments were such failures they should have yielded a double elimination. But oddly, the judges didn’t lay the harsh on April as much as I’d expected. (Nina liked the top. Go figure.) So in the end, only Kristin got the boot. Hey, look at the bright side. She wanted a critique. And a critique she got! She wasn’t all that broken up about her auf’ing. Was it me or did she rather merrily trot out of the backstage area to clean up her workspace? Gracious loser, party of one!

What did you think? Did any of the designs impress you this week? Did you notice how much more effusively the designers cheered for Christopher than they did for Michael C.? Did you laugh at Peach’s comment about her short skirt not showing off “the good china”? How do you feel about Valerie’s measuring tape headband look? Should Michael D. know what “walking the precipice means”? Are you curious to know more about Ify’s bad attitude? And finally, did you roll your eyes or blot your eyes when Heidi walked onto the runway to the sounds of her hubby’s “Kiss from a Rose” while sporting — oh yes — a Philip Treacy rose on her head? Bonus points if you guess how I reacted!

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