In a Project Runway first, Heidi brings me onto the runway to introduce this challenge. I inform the designers that they will be designing for a fashion legend. Furthermore, we're taking a field trip to meet this legend. We head off to the Meatpacking District, a high-end-fashion shopping destination. There we enter the office, studio, and showroom of our legend, and legendary she is: the incomparable Diane von Furstenberg! We watch, rapt, as DVF descends an enormous, suspended four-story(!) staircase to greet us.
Diane presents the designers with their challenge: Design a look inspired by her fall 2008 collection, A Foreign Affair. The collection was inspired by Marlene Dietrich's 1948 film of that same title in which she portrays an actress/singer/spy in Berlin who escapes to Shanghai and then moves on New York. Indeed, it's an uber-inspiring narrative. Diane has provided access to her sample room, too, where the designers have carte blanche to source fabrics. This gives them the potential for their design to seamlessly morph into DVF's collection. And please note that each designer is restricted the 10 yards of fabric, total. Diane is extremely generous and would have put no limits on yardages, but we wanted to ensure that the designers were thoughtful, rather than piggy, in their choices.) The designers also have DVF's fall 2008 lookbook for reference.