Runway: High Fashion Stoops Low

Runway: High Fashion Stoops Low

09/24/2010 AT 04:00 PM EDT

This week's Project Runway challenge came with an added incentive: the winner wouldn't score immunity, but instead $20,000. And while the prize had some designers seeing dollar signs, the elimination took everyone back to basics.

Contestants met Tim Gunn and L'Oreal Paris makeup guru Collier Strong in the workroom to receive their challenge: design a high-fashion look inspired by L'Oreal's Studio Secrets eye shadows. The winner would receive the pricey prize, and have his or her look featured in a L'Oreal Paris advertorial

Designers picked their cosmetics-based theme – bright, crystal, matte, metallic or velvet (which Tim warned against) – and got to work. Ivy chose to go with a blue theme, inspired by Hawaii, while Mondo based his design on a kaleidoscope. Gretchen, the only designer to pick velvet, planned on a wrap-style dress with kimono sleeves.

Since they were allotted two full days for the challenge, some designers moved a bit slowly – an ended up paying for it, because of course, there was a twist. On the second morning, Tim announced that everyone would have to create a second, ready-to-wear look that complemented their couture design. It shouldn't have necessarily come as a huge surprise – this has happened on Runway before – but needless to say, everyone was stressed.

Valerie had a mini-breakdown after chatting with Tim; she felt her designs were sub-par, and worried she'd be sent home for something that didn't show her point of view. Meanwhile, Gretchen – whose color scheme was similar to Michael C.'s – was slightly scared that her high-fashion look was too avant-garde.

On the runway, Andy, Gretchen and Mondo all stunned, and April and Christopher were declared safe. Gretchen's flowing couture dress – accented with gems and feathers – was a favorite, and Andy earned major points for being the only designer to make pants. But it was Mondo who scored – again! – for his fun, striped corset dress and accompanying ready-to-wear look (a smart, chic black shift).

"I left Colorado with $14 in my bank account," he said after earning his second straight win, "so I have $20,014 in my bank account now!"

Sadly, the news was not as good for Ivy, Valerie and Michael C., who landed in the bottom three. Michael Kors likened Ivy's poorly made blue dresses to "bridesmaids under the sea," and guest judge Naeem Khan called Michael C. out for the disproportions of his garment. Valerie got the dreaded "taste question" from Nina Garcia, who said there was "nothing modern" about her pageant-y white gown and uninspired ready-to-wear look.

In the end, Ivy went home – deservedly – leaving pal Valerie, who was prepared to pack up, in tears. With just seven designers left now, things are bound to get intense.

Tell us: Did Ivy deserve to go? Should Gretchen have won? And how cute is Swatch, the dog who lives at Mood?

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