This week, the contestants will face a unique task - the clients this time around aren't models, but instead regular people. They're giving makeovers to a group of ladies who are in "desperate need" of a new look. They're none too happy about it, either - Dmitry even asks if they have a choice in the matter, to which Heidi laughingly replies that they don't, of course.
The designers head over to the workroom, where Tim introduces them to Johnny Lavoy, the consulting hairstylist for L'Oreal Paris who will be working on the clients' hair and make-up. This week, he challenges them to "think beyond" styling and onto cuts and colours in order to make the clients feel better about themselves.
Sonjia meets her client first - Amanda's sister Anjelica thinks she needs a makeover since she's constantly dressing in athletic shorts and hoodies. Amanda doesn't like to shop because she never feels that things fit her right due to her pear shape. Sonjia is really helpful and understanding and suggests a dress that is fitted at the top but slightly looser beneath the waist.
Across the room, Elena meets Hilary and her friend Jenna. It's Jenna who is the "bubbly" personality that needs to tone it down and "sophisticate" her look a bit. Ven, meanwhile, meets with Terri and Theo. Terri is not your typical model size, which makes Ven "very disappointed" as he's not used to designing for larger proportions.
Dmitry thinks that his client Angela is perfect for him, as she's very plain and he believes he has a good base to build on. Nathan finds that he's designing for a pop and R&B singer who has a very specific idea of what she wants. Fabio is working with Ko-Rely, who doesn't really like skirts as she wants to avoid being sexualised, which he totally understands. Gunnar is totally into the challenge, as he loves to make clothing for "regular women who want to look great".
Now that they've had time to sketch and meet their clients, the designers have thirty minutes at Mood to get shopping. Everyone seems to have an idea of what they're going for and heads straight for piles of fabric to choose their materials, but Ven still seems to have problems working with "a plus size", despite the fact that he's not the most svelte himself.
In the workroom...
Nathan is slightly bemused by his client's request - she wants a form-fitting dress with cut-outs and an exposed midriff... but she doesn't want to seem too sexy. Sounds interesting. However, he's got the right idea going for what his client wants rather than what his own style would inspire.
In the meantime, the designers also bring their clients in to Johnny to discuss what they'll do with their hair. Melissa's is going for a very vibrant red, while Elena's gets some nice tones and highlights. It sounds like the women are in for a good change.
Ven is calling this task "unfair" as another designer has a client who "looks like a model" and his is a larger woman. Oh, give it a rest, Ven. Sonjia, however, is taking it in stride, saying that while she is used to making smaller clothes, the challenge hits close to home since her mum and sister are of "normal" sizes. The group gets talking about their family back home. Fabio even gets to talk to his boyfriend back home, which gives him energy to keep going.
A few hours later, Tim heads into the workroom to check in on everyone's progress. Nathan is going out on a limb, though he luckily has decided against the bare midriff. Christopher is making both a dress and a jacket, both of which can be worn separately. Tim loves the "multi-tasking" in his work and hopes that he can make it look "fabulous".
Gunnar's work is looking a little "pinata-ish" due to his multiple colour usage, but he knows this and decides to cut a few out. Meanwhile, Nathan gets praise for his "designed" dress that looks like a lot of thought has gone into it. Sonjia, however, is suffering a bit of doubt as she wants to satisfy her client but still make something enjoyable.
Guess who has something awful to say - it's Ven! He says that his client "doesn't have a sense of shape, definitely isn't fashion-forward and really has no sense of style". Wow, isn't he great? He goes on to say that the before picture is "definitely a nightmare", causing Tim to give him a rather blank look and his fellow designers to try and conceal their shock. Even Elena has lost respect for him after that. That makes two of us.
The clients are getting to see some of their designs now for the fitting. Fabio's client is thrilled with his structured dress and Elena's is also happy with how comfortable her dress is. Even Nathan's girl, with her love of feeling air on her belly, finds the dress he's designing to be sexy and she loves the colour. Even Gunnar is really winning me over a bit, as he's really committed to making his dress look as good on regular-sized women as he is on models.
But back to Ven - he's not done insulting his client just yet! He likes Terri's new hairstyle, but when he tells her about the dress he's making, he explains that he chose black since it's "slimming". He also gives her a belt which clearly doesn't fit and tells her that he'll ask for "bigger ones" as he acts incredibly annoyed. It's incredibly awkward and really, really rude. Back at the apartment, though, he's still not done - he keeps telling his fellow designers how difficult it was for him to work with such a large woman. For the record, Terri is a size 14 at most. Watch out, world.
The next morning, the designers have three hours to do final hair and make=up work with their clients as well as actual fittings and alterations. Ven is back at it with Terri, having created a pretty ugly outfit and repeatedly telling her that everything is "too small" for her. She tells him that it's embarrassing that he keeps saying things about her size, but he sort of just walks off annoyed. She's near tears and gets consolation from some of the other women, but Ven's priority is finishing the piece, not actually making her happy.
The runway show
Joining Heidi on the runway are the usual Nina Garcia and Michael Kors, but this week's guest judge is Alice Temperley, an English designer who's even made pieces for Kate Middleton!
After showing off their looks, Christopher, Alicia and Elena are allowed to leave the runway as they're through to next week. That means everyone else - save for Melissa, who had immunity - represents the top and bottom. Dmitry, Fabio and Gunnar have the highest scores, while Sonjia, Ven and Nathan have the lowest. Those with the highest get to speak to the judges first.
Dmitry's blue structured dress is a hit with the judges and with Angela, his client, as well. Heidi could feel her confidence while she walked down the runway, calling her "cool" and saying that it was "sexy but not slutty". Nina thinks that she looks edgy and loves the hair colour as well as the styling. Michael says that Dmitry was "smart" with the design, while Alice is also a fan, though she wishes the neckline was slightly lower.
Fabio's structured grey dress makes Nina "so pleased" as she thinks it looks "phenomenal" and shows off the perfect attitude. Heidi says that she would assume the client is an artist if she had never met her before and thinks it's "beautiful" the way he put it together. Alice appreciates the femininity and comfort in the look, though she thinks the belt he chose is "too fussy" with the dress. Michael applauds him for making a transformation but still allowing the client to be herself.
Gunnar gets praise for his black chiffon dress, which Michael thinks has movement and is "flirty but not childish". Alice thinks it was a "beautiful" makeover, and Nina also appreciates the "phenomenal" transformation, though she thinks a slightly lower neckline might have been sexier.
However, Sonjia's blue gathered dress didn't work for Heidi, who thinks it looks "a little slutty" because of the length. Alice says that the proportions are off and she wants to pull the knot in the front down a few inches, and Nina adds that Sonjia didn't bring out the best in her client.
On to Ven - he's complaining about having to design for a "real woman" again, and when Terri reveals that she's not necessarily happy with her outfit, Ven says that the judges should have seen the before picture. Heidi admits that it doesn't seem "real" to her and that it's not something she thinks Terri would wear. Michael thinks it's not flattering as the dress "chopped her in half", while Alice also thinks the teal colour up top isn't appropriate. Theo, Terri's friend, becomes emotional when she says that Ven didn't delve enough into Terri's life to find out about her and make her feel special.
Nathan's client, the up-and-coming R&B singer Ellana, loves her dress, but Heidi thinks that the blue dress looks "cheap" and she seems like a "hoochie mama". Nina says that since she's a performing artist, there were a lot of options, but this dress is ill-fitting, too short and ultimately a "disaster". Michael adds that the dress is a "cliche" and that "no human being should wear tight satin".
After the judges discuss their feelings on each of the pieces, Fabio is declared the winner of the challenge. But now it's time to find out who's leaving. Finally, Nathan is sent home. "I know how to dress people that don't feel confident about themselves. I get worked up about it," he says through tears. "I like altering people's lives so that they can step into the person they're supposed to be."
Project Runway airs Thursdays at 9/8c on Lifetime