Best. Episode. Ever.

Everyday women, the loss of Jack, and that unfortunate wedding dress!

What is us? Or was this kind of an awesome episode? It had everything. High drama. Runway firsts. A real challenging challenge. Redemption in the form of tremendous weight loss. What's not to love? But, oh...poor Steven.

Seriously. Anyone but Steve. He's so sweet and quiet and lumpy. And we really like that in a person. We got to have a long conversation with Steve this morning and we had a ball talking to him. He says that being on the show hasn't actually gotten him as many dates as you might expect. And you know what's funny about that? Pretty much every reality show contestant or participant we've talked to -- has pretty much said the same thing. Does anybody have any thoughts on this?

team_01_405_320x240.jpg

But this...oh no. No no no no no.Let's say this about the "Everyday woman" challenge. Until this season, we always sort of saw it as straining to find a way to make clothes for ladies who aren't very small. Models are little. Having been to our first fashion shows in the last couple of years, it really is astounding to find that models are itty bitty little girls. So, there's a part of us (a few of us being "everyday women") that thinks, "yes, yes, now is when they do the episode for the husky people." And then we all pause for a sigh. And pass each other the ice cream.

But then out come these women who had lost significant amounts of weight. And the very best part -- at no point did we see the "before" pictures. There they were. Just standing there, proud of who they are, not ashamed of who they once were.

rate_runway_05_405_widget.jpg

We liked this lady a lot. She seems intense. She came with rules and demands. Good for her.
jack_01_405_320x240.jpg

Jack. Oh Jack. There's something impossibly sad about this. Can you imagine? Getting your chance to be on the show, and then suddenly -- your face swells up and you have to go home?

He makes the decision to go home, which flat out bulldozes the room. Everyone's sobbing like children. And now that we spent the morning on the phone with him, so are we. chris_04_405_320x240.jpg

Okay, here's the thing about Chris -- we can imagine doing summer stock theatre with Chris. You know, drinking late into the night and hearing stories about that production of "On the Town" he did with:

team_02_405_320x240.jpg

This lady. Who we are sure was GENIUS in that play. But, seriously, if we saw this woman wearing this outfit anywhere but Disneyland, we might be tempted to be those judgey bastards who laugh at people. Actually, even if we were at Disneyland -- we might still laugh at this. elisa_01_405_320x240.jpg

Elisa totally helped this lady bust out a new look. Tracy (the model) told her that she really wanted to be a rocker. (True story, it's in Elisa's Burning Questions blog.) Tracy even brought her own boots. She was ready.

And then she gets on the runway, and Heidi says something along the lines of, "But this lady is a frump. Why is she wearing something cool? What up?" Let the woman rock, Heidi! That's the lady we want to party with! The one who brought her big red smock and let Elisa set her free!

Tracy, you rock out! You let that Marianne Faithful soul of yours dance you right into that new rockin body! We at Bravotv.com are totally behind you!

No kidding, Elisa and her crazy hippie antics are melting our bitter jaded hearts, down to the studs.

Okay -- here are some answers to your comments. Keep 'em coming.

Mary wrote in to tell us what a pounce wheel was and what it does: Even though I think you're kidding...one would use a pounce wheel to trace something to make a pattern- so to copy a pattern, or in this case just create one from the existing pants pieces without having to actually take them apart. It makes a line of little holes on the pattern paper which you can cut out. They are very fun to play with and bother people with, too, because it's a weird feeling, like little spurs or something that doctors test reflexes with or whatever.
Mary, we think you're kinky. And we wish we were kidding all along -- but no, we never figured out what a pounce wheel was and waited all week for your note. If we were allowed to, we'd send you a pounce wheel of your very own for answering the question, but technically -- it'd be giving a prize, and that would involve everyone signing things and the drafting of rules. At any rate, in our minds (and in yours) -- you've won a pounce wheel. No, no, a chocolate pounce wheel.

And this came from several of you, and we hang our head in shame over it: Hey Guys, In the Rate the Runway section, you have Kevin's name for the dress that Rami made and vice versa. How could you get that wrong? Everyone was worried that Kevin wouldn't finish the "shorts" on time.
We did fix this. And we wish we could blame an intern or something. But see, here's the thing, you may have noticed that the site is new, and doesn't really look so much like the rest of the site. It turns out that everything behind the site, the makework of it all, is MUCH more user friendly if you're AT ALL adept at using a computer. And we're...essentially, typists....so sometimes, we can't figure out how to plug the right thing into the right thing. And sometimes...that goes poorly around here. Thanks for letting us know. And Kevin, Rami, we're sorry. We suggest, that when you see mistakes like this -- that you please share it with us, and then do what all the IT guys in the building do -- choose to find it charming.

Kala wrote: Does Michael Rucker still work on the show? Where is his blog? It was by far the funniest and had the most entertaining insights into the show. Please say it will return! I miss it...
How do you know we're not Michael Rucker? (OK, we're not. We wish we were. He's so cute!) But we were HUGE fans of Rucker's blog, and begged him to write again this year. But the good news about Rucker is that he actually has a lot more responsibility this year on the show, and has absolutely no time to blog about it. BUT, you can check out some of the extra footage he walks us through here. And leave a comment for him. Tell him how much you miss him.

That's all for us, gang. Have a great holiday. We'll be back after the new year!

What's Next

Words of advice to Leanne, Korto, and Kenley.

Leanne put together something that was interesting and sophisticated and it definitely had a point of view. In a weird way she managed to have a focused collection that still had variety. She took an idea and she stretched it. The clothes were young as well as sophisticated at the same time.

What's next for her? Well, everyone thinks that they have to put on this big runway show and that's not necessarily always the case. I think her clothes are very much about seeing the workmanship, the detailing and all that, so I definitely think she's got the goods to do her own thing. I don't think she should feel obliged to do a big show right away. I think there's something to be said about things growing slowly and organically and that might be better for her. Then people can really see the clothes up close, because when you put the kind of workmanship into something that's understated, things can get lost. She could do a fun presentation, maybe, or a still life on mannequins. I don't think she necessarily has to rush out and put on a whole show. I think her clothes will be appreciated in both Europe and Japan so she should probably think about bringing it over her line to Paris where you're going to find more of the European buyers as well as the Asian buyers. Once again, I think her clothes will do really well in Asia. I think they have an understanding of sophisticated workmanship. You're not going to see her clothes in the local mall. They're not for that. She's got to keep it high-end and sophisticated and keep her focus, which I think she will.As for Korto's collection. I remember the beads well. There was one asymmetrical dress where the beads were built in and I loved that. Everything she wanted her collection to be - ethnic without being costume-y, playful with color - she managed to hit that with certain parts of the collection. But I think the necklaces, when they were just necklaces on their own, looked added.

With Kenley the reality is you have to have a confidence in what you do and you have to believe that you're right. A designer needs a big ego because you really are going around and telling people "You're wrong and I'm right." But I think that there are ways to do it gracefully. It's the kind of industry where you're always going to have good feedback, bad feedback, or sometimes no reaction, whether it's the woman in a store, the buyer, or the press. It's always a public thing, not a private thing. The important thing to remember is as much as it might burn you when someone criticizes you, the real reality is you don't have to take it totally verbatim. I think she takes things totally verbatim. And one can listen and say, "I got what you're saying but I'm ultimately going to do what I want to do, thanks for the input" and maybe you will learn something. You should learn something. When you think you know it all at 25 then your career's going to be really short. The whole point of fashion is that you never know it all. She's gotta learn how to keep her point-of-view and her confidence, but learn how to be a little more of a lady. Granted, being tough never hurt anyone in fashion.She's obviously got a point-of-view. She's got a great hand. The painting on those clothes was just gorgeous. In general, the quality and the craftsmanship of everything she sent out was beautiful. But I think when people are dress designers, which is really what she is, it doesn't make for the most compelling fashion show. It might make a very nice line. I think that in history there have been a lot of designers who are "dress houses," so to speak. They don't do a whole collection and they can have very successful businesses. It's hard to tell a varied story when you are so specifically dress-oriented and especially when your look is so particular. So I think she could put a line together and do very well with it. There's always going to be someone who likes something feminine and flirty and she's another one where I don't necessarily think the runway is always going to be her best friend. I think the greatest thing that has happened from the show in the last five seasons is that it's certainly made people aware that their clothes don't just appear in their closet. It's kind of like knowing the farmer who grows the crop. Suddenly you have an appreciation for the food that's on your table. I think that Runway has really opened people's eyes to know that this is an incredibly difficult endeavor and it takes real tenacity and talent.

I think that's the greatest part of the show for me. I'm a real fashion person so when something turns the corner and I think it's really spectacular that's the greatest moment for me. When Christian's show started and I saw the chicness of this 3-Musketeers silhouettes I thought "Wow." Same thing with Leanne. I look at the whole thing lined up and I think this is what we're here for. I'm happy when it looks great. My other highlight is sometimes just losing it laughing. Whether it's the wrestling challenge or... just losing it laughing in general! As much as I love it all and we are excited about it and spend so much time doing it, at the end of they day, they are just clothes. And sometimes it's good to just laugh about it all.