Whew! How fun was THAT?!?! Wow. I invited people over for a party to watch my episode of Project Runway, asked them to “dress like you mean it” and let people go from there. I didn’t get a lot of good pictures. But I can show you some amazing shoes! Later. I am giggling and delighted at how they edited “me”. I do think they captured my enthusiasm.
I have oh-so-much to say about my time in New York and the inside look at the making of the show. But first, let’s just get down to brass tacks: Ken, the green fabric, and the dress.
Yep, I got Ken. You have to remember, when we walked into the workroom, that was our introduction to each other. The season had not started yet. When we were introduced, we knew that these were the top 50% of the designers and that they had just come off 8 challenges in a row. So they were tired, worn down, seasoned, and being introduced to “real women.” They told me I was paired with Ken, I greeted him and congratulated him on making it so far.
We got together, chatted and he sketched. It was amazing to watch him work and sketch. (sincerely)
They did not really define the challenge AT ALL. They never said, “do a party look” or “show the lady to her best advantage.” To be honest, I was really hoping for something dazzling. This was their chance to really show their point of view and I think they should have RUN with it. He sketched a gown, a short dress with a kicky skirt and a jacket, and the dress that they showed. I was very excited about the gown. He dismissed it immediately. And I am not sure why. But at this point, I was really trying not to dictate his process. I must have said 100 times, “I want you to love it,” “I want you to be happy with the look.” And on and on. And let me say FOR THE RECORD – he picked that green. From the sketches on, he started in green. And I thought that was a good direction. I wear a lot of bright colors and I was glad we were not in the beige and nude pallet. And besides, everything changes when you go to Mood and start to turn the sketch into an actual LOOK.
We were taken away from the work room and sequestered. Then they shuttled us to Mood. We entered in separate groups, then, once the cameras were rolling, we were allowed to speak again. Obviously I was wildly excited to be there. Mood is unparalleled as a fabric store. It is a magical place. I let Ken go and do his own thing and I went to the silk area. I found some really beautiful prints, flowing, small floral, and gauzy lovely draping silks. Divine. At some point Ken came over and I showed him the ones I had pulled and he said, “No, no, and no.” Okay. That’s fine. And then I followed him and he showed me an olive green jersey that he had pulled. I said, “that’s okay. I don’t love the color. But it will work.” He said, “Let’s hold it here, and we’ll keep looking.” I said, “Okay!” He looked more and brought over the other green (that the dress was made from). HE PICKED IT OUT. AND HE LOVED IT! LOVED IT. He said he loved it more than once. It was/is a silk with a slub in it.
You can see the two here together.
It have a good texture, and it was quite thick. (And now, I have to laugh a little. Ken has picked really thick fabrics all along. Remember the glamping challenge where he uses a heavy fabric and does a sculpture in the front out of THICK wools all combined. And in HORRIBLE colors. Most notably last week, he used purple wool suiting to make a gown. A sleeveless gown for a wedding. So looking at that in hind sight, it is such a “Ken” choice.)
We went together down to the leather section. (Pause – the leather section, at Mood!! A whole section of hides and skins and patent, and suede. It was breathtaking.) He was thinking and pulling things to the table. And I thought that he was going to make a jacket. I asked quietly, “Which look are we going with here?” And he said, “the dress,” meaning the short dress. I was a little bit disappointed that we had left the gown arena, but okay. And the clock was ticking. I didn’t want to throw him off. He said something like, “I think I will use this for the trim.” There were no cameras around at that moment and I spoke my mind. I said, “Ken, they are giving you two days for this challenge. You have to really dazzle them. If you just do a dress, they will say ‘Is this all you did?’” And he said, “Yes, I will have to really make it great. That’s okay. I will.” At that point, I had said it and he went to go look for what else he needed.
Later, we met up again and he had the gray leather. Hmm. Maybe he was going to do a jacket after all? Time was up and there was no more talking. We went out to the “holding area” again and we were “on ice.” That means no talking.
Here the dress is inside out. And the neck is just okay, but you can see there is a fit issue. It needs darts. He could have done the shaping in the leather, but he didn’t. At least here my bra isn’t actually showing.
As I watched the season, and Ken started to come off as a rager, it was hard to watch. The first time, I really thought the big fight was kicked off because he was defending Helen against Sandro’s comments, but then it kind of veered into his own shoutfest. As the season progressed, he kept screaming and swearing episode after episode and my heart sank. I started defending him and feeling bad that he was getting such a harsh edit. But every week, week after week, they cannot possibly be that far off if he has given them that much material for them to work with. Sorry Ken. I started to worry about how his confessionals were going to be… Was he going to go behind my back and say ,”DID YOU SEE HER!?!?!…” Or, if he would actually pull a Ven and say, “I knew there was not a belt in the room that would fit her…” He didn’t go quite that far. But he certainly has his own twist on the events.
I will tell you that all of the designers were very respectful. No one was treated badly. Ken was very nice to me, in person. He offered to let me sew a seam on the dress (at the shoulder) and that was a THRILL. Poor Sue, she never got the hang of those machines. Oh, that is another post. Ken never gave me the stink eye. (He gave it to Heidi last week though! And she called him right out! ) He never gave me any attitude…when I was there.
After the show is another matter. Now he is tweeting that he hated the green and that I picked it. And that he threw the challenge! He is saying that he wanted to go home and that they practically begged him to stay. That is just sour grapes talk. If you want to leave Project Runway you leave. The crazy, and perhaps brilliant, Japanese designer left one or two seasons ago. And didn’t the older lady leave too? Just pack your bags and leave. Easy as that. You don’t have to yell at anyone. Everyone watching will agree that you wasted an amazing vehicle in which to showcase your work. And then you will be forgotten 10 minutes later. Instead, if you tweet you wanted to leave the show AFTER THE FACT, you are just sour grapes. And you have confirmed for all, on national TV, that you would be very hard to work with. Can you imagine being on a design team with him? In a work place? Even if your collection does not show at fashion week, there are people watching you, and you could get hired off that show anytime. Unless, of course, you act as volatile as a toddler and Tim Gunn has to have a counseling session with you and point out, with greatest care, that you have an anger issue. You are not moving to the top of the candidate pool after that goes down.
Coming soon, I’ll have more behind-the-scenes stories. Fun, fun and more fun. (Update: You can read the next part in this series, all about the first day of filming, here.)
(All pictures in this post are from Lifetime.com)
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