Tim announces to everyone that Andrea left in the middle of the night, and Christopher feels terrible. Apparently, the producers have been unable to reach her. Rather than sympathy, her fellow designers seem to be angry that Andrea could walk away from the competition. Everyone agrees that the fashion industry is very difficult but that they need to bounce back and rise above the challenges presented.
Next, Michael announces the task for the week. The contestants will need to make a look for a "woman on the go" - stylish and fashionable that has versatility, practicality and function. Tim and Michael insist that fabric choice is important for this time around, as the piece the designers create will need to last through the day. They've got $150 and one day to do it. After getting a 30-minute sketch session at Michael's flagship shop, it's off to Mood. Tim advises everyone to imagine their model as a character, and design their looks based on what they think their woman is doing on that particular day. The pieces really need to be true to each designer's aesthetic, so it's important they tread carefully with this one.
At Mood, the contestants scramble around to find the perfect materials for their look. Buffi tries to veer away from using pink, but tends to keep going back to it. Dimitry is not finding the right shade of black in the right fabric, but others are slightly more focused. Kooan's incredibly stressed, and his attitude is noticeable to his fellow competitors, though he insists it's just that he has "a lot to think about".
In the workroom...
Back in the workroom, the designers want to discuss what happened with Andrea. Christopher feels that he's partly responsible for her exit, but everyone tells him not to worry too much about it. But during this conversation, another announcement is made. Kooan - who has been noticeably quieter over the past few days - has decided to go home. While the others try to convince him to stay in the game, Kooan is sure of his decision.
It seems like everything is falling apart, and then a tearful Nathan speaks up and says that he understands where Kooan is coming from as he also wants to leave the competition. Everyone in the workroom is quite upset about this, but Tim comes in and gathers everyone around and wants to know what's happening. He tells them that everyone has worked hard to get there and that plenty of people would love to be in the competition. However, Kooan insists that he has made his decision and must find his own way in the fashion industry. He wants to design in his own way and is ready to go. He says his goodbyes to his fellow designers and is on his way.
The mood in the workroom is pretty depressing - everyone is upset. However, there's a challenge to be done and with only one day to create their 'woman on the go' look, there's no time to sit and think about it. Tim tells them that things happen for a reason and that this is still a competition - and considering that the judges need enough people to choose from, they've brought back Raul! Only eliminated last week, it's certainly a mood lifter. The only person who isn't so excited is Ven, who thinks that Raul has too many excuses on the runway. But that's neither here nor there - Raul's jumping in on the task right away (and has a few more hours, considering his late start).
It's not long before Tim is back yet again, though this time, it's without any announcements. Instead, he wants to check out the designers' work and see how they're getting on. Fabio gets some positive feedback, though Tim warns him to "be careful" with his proportions. Buffi's look is a bit misdirected, and Tim helps her along by telling her not to go overboard with prints when it's the simple elements that work the best.
When it comes to Christopher, his ideas are alright, but Tim notices that he seems "ambivalent". Christopher insists that it's just because he's worried about being in the bottom again, and Tim adds that the drama of the past 24 hours probably hasn't helped his mental state. Meanwhile, Raul is moving right along with his work, though he struggles with time management. Ever the naysayer, Ven thinks that Raul needs to go home again because "everything he does is a mess". Ouch!
The last few hours of the day pass quickly, and finally, the time to work is over. But after the model fitting the next day, tensions are still running high when Christopher tries to offer Buffi some constructive criticism and she reacts none too kindly to it. Raul also runs into a major disaster when his model tries on his pants, as they're four inches too short and not nearly wide enough. Still, there's not too much time to get it all together - they need to get ready for the runway!
The runway show...
Heidi is joined at the runway by judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, as well as this week's guest judges, actress Hayden Panettiere and designer Rachel Roy. Before the show starts, however, Heidi has some choice words about Andrea and Kooan leaving the competition, saying that some people just can't handle the pressure of the industry. But no matter, let's see the clothes!
After the runway walk, Gunnar, Ven, Nathan, Alicia, Melissa and Elena make their way through to the next round. As for the others, they're the highest and the lowest.
Sonjia is the first to receive her criticism on her grey twist jersey dress, which Heidi loves, saying that she managed to manipulate the fabric in an interesting way. Michael loves that she didn't do anything too conventional as it can be dressed up or down. Nina calls it "conservative but sexy" and even Hayden admits it's one of her favourites this week. Rachel wonders whether it could be worn front to back, and applauds her for thinking so much about the design.
Fabio's black and white tribal print dress seems a little too structured for Michael, as he wants to see how Fabio presents himself incorporated into his clothes, which Rachel agrees with. Heidi would have made the matching black blazer longer, as it now looks shrunk. Nina can see how the mini dress is comfortable, but thinks it lacks glamour and that it had much more potential than he put into it.
Christopher's silky black dress with leather jacket is a hit with the judges. Heidi can't believe he made both pieces with $150, and Hayden loves it as well, calling the jacket "killer". Rachel applauds him for achieving a "day to night look", saying that he knows what's modern but still relatable. Nina thinks it looks polished, easy and sexy. Michael thinks he "nailed it" when it comes to balancing glamour and function.
It's not such great news for Buffi, whose pink chiffon over black and white leopard print dress fails to strike a chord. Hayden wanted to see something that pulled it together more, but she does like the colour. Heidi thinks it looks "really inexpensive" and admits that it doesn't work for her at all. Rachel admits that if you have to rely entirely on a belt to pull your look together, it doesn't work. Michael compares it to a "hair salon smock", dubbing it "just weird".
Raul's look - the grey trousers with black fabric (to make up for the misfitting, of course) and the loose vest, is pretty bad. Michael hated it when it came out on the runway and says that the jacket was "on deathwatch" but that unbelting it very barely saved it. There are some major technical issues, as well, as his work looks sloppy. Nina notices that the jacket is too long, and Rachel thinks that Raul was too ambitious as he couldn't complete just one element.
Dmitry's black dress is "the best made garment" the judges have seen today, according to Michael, though he wishes it was in a more "fabulous" colour. Heidi likes it, but she doesn't have to have it as it lacks sex appeal. Hayden wishes that he went one step further with the design, but Nina thinks there are "infinite possibilities" to do something big with it. Rachel applauds his sewing skills and that he balanced the look, making something "beautiful and exquisite".
After talking amongst themselves, it's revealed that this week's winner is... Sonjia! Hayden will be wearing her dress to a red carpet event, plus she gets immunity for the next challenge! Christopher is also safe, as is Dmitry. That leaves Raul, Buffi and Fabio in the bottom three. Miraculously, Raul survives (perhaps because he only just got back).
Finally, it's revealed that Buffi is eliminated and will be leaving the competition. "All the other designers kept telling me 'Be yourself, that's why we love you', and it's been a huge learning experience," she says following her exit. "I do like mixing prints and colours and maybe it's tacky to some people, but I like being unique and I wouldn't want to dress for anybody else."
Project Runway airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Lifetime