'Project Runway' Fashion Recap: Season 9, Episode 4: What Nina Wants, Nina Gets

08/19/2011 02:24 pm ET | Updated Oct 11, 2012

It's all about Nina Garcia -- when the "Project Runway" judge and Marie Claire editor greets the season 9 contestants to reveal a show first: She's their client.

Stylelist's - first reaction? That's easy, just make her something black.

But Garcia leaves the wannabe designers to tremble at their computerized sketch pads with two fashion demands conveyed with epic seriousness via mentor Tim Gunn. "Don't Bore Nina," Gunn implores. And by all means, "avoid grey."

And sew it goes:

The Challenge: Create a garment for Garcia to wear to the Marie Claire office that won't elicit any snickers from her fashionable co-workers. Oh, and make that garment fabulous enough to take Garcia out-on-the-town.

The Bonus: The winning look will be featured in a Marie Claire editorial and in a true hail to fashion; Gracia -GARCIA will show off the victor's garment in ads perched on top of New York City cabs.

The Making-it-Workroom Drama: With pursed lips and raised eyebrows, Garcia visits the workroom to declare a list of things she finds boring. These verboten things include: "Dynasty" jackets, mousy colors, Christmas tree greens, cowl necks and the entirety of Cecelia Motwani's "very, very sad" grey ensemble. Nina saves the full-on pained facial contortions for Anya Ayoung-Chee's bold mustard fabric. "Do you have a plan B?," she asks Ayoung-Chee. Ouch.

The Runway Show: Demonstrates how some people really can't take direction. We count four ensembles that rely heavily on grey; two snooze-worthy little black dresses, one strutting Christmas tree and something Garcia could only wear to make pureed squash for her new baby boy.

The Guest Judges: Actress and "arts advocate" Kerry Washington and Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles join the panel.

Who's In: Kimberly Goldson gets the bragging rights for her spot-on vision for Garcia; a chic, gold-tone sleeveless blouse accented with with architectural details and interesting sheer cut-outs. Goldson paired it with impeccably-tailored (if predictable) black pants. Judge Michael Kors declares Goldson worthy of her first win "for understanding what's in a modern women's head." The look does flatter Garcia --who actually does wear it to the office--but our nod would have gone to Ayoung-Chee for a last-minute dye job that saved a streamlined jumpsuit Garcia initially hated, but ended up placing in the top three.

Who's Out: When Joanna Coles sneers, "If Nina Garcia wore that to the office, she'd be fired," it is time to clean up your workspace. Such was the fate of Julie Tierney, 25, of Grand Junction, Colo., for the sin of imagining Nina Garcia in a "housecoat." Tierney, a quirky designer who had already paid several visits to the bottom three, was circumspect about the loss. "I had fun," she said.

Meanwhile, her fellow contestants were livid that Motwani, who confessed she was "ready to go home" didn't voluntarily depart to save Tierney.

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