2006_02_prsantep.jpgBreak out a bottle of Haterade, because it's Santino versus the world! Since Andrae, aka the glue that held everyone everyone, left two episodes ago and then Nick, aka Daniel's BFF, left last episode, it just meant that there were less people to deflect Santino's lovably hateful ego. The other three Project Runway designers, Daniel, Chloe and Kara, immediately put themselves in the "we're not Santino" camp. Their challenge: To design an evening gown...and not just any gown - a gown that will represent their vision for their runway show! Yes, say it with Gothamist: "Oh...My...GOD!" And then the designers got to meet with Fern Mallis, who heads 7th on 6th and basically chooses who gets to show during Fashion Week. Yes - OMG! After one designer asked if she had any advice and Fern answered that they should be nice, Daniel, with stage theatricality, craned his head back to look at Santino. And as if us viewers didn't get the idea, Daniel does a one-on-one to basically say he wanted Santino to know he had to be nice. Then there's a Santino one-on-one where he's all "I don't have to be nice."

The designers got an hour to sketch, and typically, Kara didn't know what she was going to do. Daniel, Chloe and Kara stuck to just fabric, but Santino also picked up some paillettes for embellishment, which we were excited about, because we knew nothing good could come of them. Back at the workroom, the designers worked and worked, with Kara consulting with Daniel and Chloe, and Santino throwing them evil looks. When Kara complimented Santino's choice of pailletes, Santino was silent. Silent! Anyway, the designs can be summed up thusly: Chloe goes for 1940s "leading lady" glamour - and a backless look; Daniel goes for simplicity; Kara's got a racerback; and Santino is about volume and being different from the others. The day ends. Oh, but not before Chloe says something about maybe her heart not being in the competition - she doesn't want to be in the game, been there, done that. And all others freak out, Santino speaking for the first time in a while! Back at 35D, Santino tells Daniel that it's either Daniel's or Kara's dress that will be out (we think); The Great Santino predicts Daniel will be okay, and compliments him even. Aw. Back in the girls' room, Chloe says that Santino's dress will look like a turkey, echoing Michael Kors' comments about Santi's skating outfit.

The next day, Tim calls them in to tell them something: That the winning dress will be modeled on a red carpet by...Iman. Iman! "Oh...My...God!" That's a really awesome get for Project Runway, even if she did do an episode of America's Top Model where she showed the models wannabes how to make exfoliators out of things in the kitchen. Daniel is adorable when he says that they'd shit a brick if Iman modeled their dress. The designers excitedly get back to their designs.

2006_02_prparty.jpgSantino keeps talking about how his design is very different and that the other three are playing it too safe. When Tim calls them for dinner, he says there's a field trip. Wha? They head to Suede, where they see Austin Scarlett, Jay McCarroll, Kara Saun, Michael Kors, Heidi, and their models! Par-tay time! Especially since Wendy Pepper isn't there. Michael Kors says he knows the designers are working very hard and doing a great job, but he sounds somewhat insincere. Which makes Gothamist think about the NY Times' fashion writer Cathy Horyn's audio slide show of Fashion Week, where she says that going to a Michael Kors show is a guilty pleasure. Jay McCarroll tells Santino that their final four bombed with their evening gown designs (Iman is a total step-up from Nancy O'Dell) and then says that he hopes Santino gets canned. Oh, Jay, we can't wait until Project Jay next week. Chloe enjoyed hearing from Kara Saun and for some reason, we remember that when Kara kept winning challenges, it wasn't as boring as when Daniel wins challenges.

Anyway, the designers work on finishing their gowns. Chloe says she does want to win, since she's made it this far. Tim tells the designers what works, what doesn' and it totally echoes what Santino said earlier: Chloe's dress will make the model look like she has a "big fat ass"; Daniel's is too safe; Kara's is too boring. But Tim tells Santino that his dress, with its over-paillette-ing looks like it's from a Renaissance Festival! We love you, Tim Gunn.

2006_02_prkaradress.jpgWhen all's said and done, the gowns are pretty tasteful if you like very simple lines or lots of gold pailletes. Daniel's blue dress with a long slit has the best tailowing, but it's just really boring. Chloe's silver dress has a lovely back, but the tailoring is really bad. Kara's black dress (right) has a nice, lean line - and the racerback looks great - but it's really boring. And Santino's dress is a masterful explosion of gold silk and gold discs. Iman gives really great criticism, including noticing that Kara's dress is unfinished (what the hell? Nina points out the hem is unfinished) and that Daniel's dress is boring... Heidi says Chloe's dress makes the butt look big and Michael calls Santino on thinking he's smarter than everyone else and that's why he overdesigns. The twist during this challenge is that they ask the designers who he or she would eliminate. Chloe says she'd eliminate Santino because he overdesigns. Santino says Chloe should go, that Daniel and Kara are talented and he's not into one-note designs. Daniel says Chloe should go, because she already has a busines. That's surprising. And then Kara adds to the Chloe pile-on, saying Chloe should go! Backstage, Chloe says she feels stabbed in the back, and while Gothamist can understand that, we can also understand Daniel and Kara wanting to eliminate someone who could probably bring their A-game to the Final Three. It's called strategery.

2006_02_priman.jpgThe judges are underwhelmed, but admit that at least Santino did something different. Though Daniel's dress was boring, the tailoring was great. They decide to eliminate either Kara and Chloe. So, the winner of the challenge is Daniel, and Iman says that even though the dress is boring, she is not so it'll be good. David Bowie is a lucky man! And the judges cut Kara, much to Chloe's relief. Kara hasn't been that impressive as a designer throughout the process, and we've thought she was lucky to make it through the past two weeks, so we are pretty pleased with the Final Three of Santino, Daniel and Chloe.

Flash forward to five months later, you see Daniel - with shorter hair - fitting Iman for her red carpet dress. She looks fabulous in it, of course.

Next week is the reunion show (Tim Gunn swears! Chloe cries! Andrae looks amazed!), so we get to work on our Final Three drinking game. What do you think of the Final Three?