Last night the cruel engineers of reality TV torture decided to dangle the ultimate carrot in front of the tired and malnourished struggling small-time designers: money. Tonight's challenged tasked the crew with creating a "serious wow moment" Paris couture-caliber showstopper. The winner's design would not only be featured in a L'Oreal magazine ad, but they would also receive a whopping $20,000. The significance of which was distilled by the look on Mondo's face when he confessed to the camera that he'd never made more than 12k in a year. So off they went to Mood with $300 of supply money and the security of knowing that they had not one but two—two!—days to work on what should be the most impressive garment thus far in their careers. Meanwhile Tim played with the little shop dog and Ivy rambled on about creating happy little blue waves on her dress.

So obviously something was bound to fuck it up.


Designers, I've got some bad news.

Good news and bad news after the break.

OK, so before we get to the "surprise twist" that closely resembles other landmines they've already unleashed: let's talk about that conversation between Gretchen and Mondo, about how Gretchen knows in her heart that both of them belong at Fashion Week. Without having talked to her about it, I'm pretty sure that shit was staged, which is freaking depressing. It seemed totally unnatural and insincere, but will no doubt still add fodder to the online Gretchen bashers.

Anyway, surprise! The designers actually had to make an additional look, a ready-to-wear to accompany their original piece, with only one additional Benjamin. Cue mental breakdowns and girl power pow wows in the bathroom. Michael C, for all of his cat fighting in the workroom with Gretchen over a similar color choice, landed his sheepish ass squarely in the bottom with a ridiculous ball gown with a giant train that really did look like a period costume. He got some flack for his little ready-to-wear, though I actually didn't mind that it was sexy on top and sexy on the bottom. Valerie's bibbity-bobbity-boo white dress elicited the episode's most hilarious gaffe, when Nina Garcia said it looked like "Miss Guatemala," and Valerie came back with, "Oh, well actually that's where my family is from." Ivy meanwhile, got the ultimate (deserved) dis from guest judge Naeem Khan, who while overall was quite gracious at one point held out his hand in seeming self-defense and said simply, "Not a good dress." He's great:

"There was a lot of wrong." Ha! I'm really not sorry to see Ivy go home. I think she probably has a lot of talent and is one of those designers who just doesn't thrive in the type of ridiculous situations these people are thrown at, but her attitude was really beginning to grate. As for the win, I kind of thought Gretchen was going to get it. I wasn't personally a big fan of her high fashion look, but the judges, especially Nina, were all over it. But it was no surprise either that Mondo took home his second consecutive win. He's on a role, and becoming more likable every episode.

Here's Gretchen's own take:

At this point I think Gretchen was still in the running at New York Fashion Week, though I still don't think she's going to take home the ultimate win. Stay tuned for next week, with the mystery models that made everyone gasp with surprised glee (please be dog models. they will probably be the designers' moms or something, but I so wish it would be a dog-wear challenge.) Also, Michael Kors delivering the line: "Fashion is not for sissies," at which my boyfriend had to go outside for some air.