Tim first flew to Oahu, Hawaii, where he visited Andy at his family's home. The 23-year-old told Tim of their struggles, including immigrating from Laos, and introduced him to some Chinese catfish (which Tim did not like!).
Though Tim was touched by Andy's stories, he was concerned about his collection – the young designer didn't have much more than accessories, since he was still waiting on a fabric delivery. His sketches were promising, but Tim warned him against making a "hot mess" of a collection with too many bells and whistles.
Next up was a trip to Michael C.'s home in Palm Springs, Calif., where he showed Tim his collection, inspired by feathers and the color of the sky. Tim told him to stop designing and start editing, but did appreciate some of his dresses. While visiting with Michael's family, Tim learned the 27-year-old had a rocky relationship with his parents, who didn't support his gay lifestyle or his design dreams – it wasn't until he landed on Runway that they celebrated his love of fashion.
Thankfully, we had Mondo to lighten things up! The quirky 32-year-old met Tim in his Denver design space, where he presented some of his colorful, patterned garments inspired by Mexican circuses and the Day of the Dead. Tim then joined Mondo's family for dinner, where his parents joked about how hard they tried to get him into sports or "macho" activities.
Finally, it was time for Tim to visit Gretchen, who also had a sob story: Since her time on Runway, her long-term relationship had crumbled, leaving her with an empty bank account and nowhere to live. Tim came as she was packing up her old house, and told her not to let her emotions get in the way of her dreams or designs. She showed him part of her collection, based on her Western roots and other worldly, rural cultures.
Return to New YorkThe designers reconvened in New York City, where they were told – surprise! – that they'd have to make one more garment to complement their collection. Ultimately, they'd show the judges that new look, plus two pieces from their 10-piece collection. It was added stress for the already-overworked contestants, and Mondo and Michael C. both struggled.
On the runway, we got a glimpse of each designer's collection. Andy showed a silver romper, a bathing suit with a sheer cover-up and a green mini-dress that he'd pleated by hand. Michael C. presented a Grecian-inspired champagne-colored dress, champagne top and feathered skirt and sequin pants and top. Gretchen sent a short patterned dress, jumpsuit and a bloomers-jacket combination. And Mondo showed colorful shorts-and-top look, patterned skirt and a T-shirt and long black-and-white dress.
While all four designers had highs and lows, none of them really presented anything that "wowed" the judges. Nina Garcia criticized Michael C. for using just one color in all his designs, and told Gretchen her collection was "too crunchy granola." However, Michael Kors did praise Mondo for his individual pieces, and Andy for a "sharp, romantic" show.
After Mondo and Gretchen were deemed safe, Andy secured the last spot at Fashion Week. Poor Michael C. took the elimination particularly hard. Backstage, he had a mini-breakdown, tearfully telling Tim and the other designers that he was worried about how his family would react to him now that he's off the show.
Tell us: Are the right designers going to Fashion Week? Would you want to join Tim on his fashion roadtrip?