In a test of patience, the designers were paired this week by the judge’s evaluation of their skill sets. While that made for some interesting moments, it was also downright awkward at times.

In one of the show’s reliable and most reputable challenges, the crew created looks that had to be on budget, on trend, and on demographic for Lord & Taylor, one of the oldest department store in the country. Anytime the show forces them to actually design for a client in mind and stay in boundaries, I feel smugly pleased, thus making this one of my favorites challenges each year.

Things got hairy quickly as the lack of sleep, pressure and tension got to our formerly joyful little elf Daniel and he snapped at Michelle while cutting up his happy jacket with tears in his eyes to make a dress for a younger customer. Stanley micromanaged Patricia in an understandable way, but she still churned out an ensemble appropriate for Blanche Devereaux and the Golden Girls cast. Richard and Layana battled out their bad attitudes while their third team member Samantha was caught in the crossfire and distracted enough to make a juniors outfit.

But the real story is one of the importance of self-editing. Time and time again designers on the show get so stuck in their original concept they are mired down in them when they aren’t working. Michelle’s first idea of a rain vest over her adorable chartreuse mini dress was weighing it down. I’m thrilled she recognized that, abandoned the idea and let her dress shine as the clear winner of the challenge. As the winner, Lord & Taylor manufactured her design for the company and in less than a week it is already sold out from the high demand. Congrats Michele, that was one good dress.

In sad news, we lost Samantha for trying to appeal to the younger market and I for one would’ve rather see Patricia go after that capri disaster. Next week the remaining six designers hit the museum for some inspiration and we’ll see where this crazy ride takes us.

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