Elisa: Tracy Clearly Rocks

The client was happy and Elisa Jimenez stands by her work.

What did you think when the models arrived on the runway?
I was quite intrigued, and pretty certain we were to design collaboratively with the women presented before us. These models' accomplishments, and the level of respect and pride each of them deserves was, and is, humbling.

What is your take on designing for what is referred to as "The Everyday Woman?"
I thoroughly enjoy working with what fashion calls "the real woman." After all, are not all women, including those in the industry, "real?" Almost one half to two thirds of my clientele are what are called "everyday women," albeit amazing everyday women. I thoroughly delighted in the collaborative couture process with these clients, and looked forward to getting to know and work with Tracy. elisa_01_405_320x240.jpg

Jack goes home because of the Staph infection. What were your feelings? How did that strike you?
I was very concerned for Jack and could feel his disappointment and frustration. It was a disheartening experience, riddled with empathy and simple physical awareness for us and for him. It stuck me as somewhat harsh of the Universe to have thrown that to him, but a very clear message that health, self, and health-of-self are first and foremost.

The return of Chris March! What was that like?
It was a bittersweet way to receive Chris back in the workroom. I was happy for Chris.

There is a giggly sort of hilarity to having Tim in the workroom. Is that common?
The light and uplifting atmosphere of the workroom with Tim I attribute to the general glee and delight of the women having such a unique and delightful experience. It became infectious for all of us. elisa_02_405_320x240.jpg

What did you think of Christian's design?
I consistently refer to Christian as a "wunderkind." His work is consistently good and well executed.

Everyone sort of jumps in to help Steven finish his design. What did you think of the design overall?
There is a camaraderie that evolved between those in the workroom, despite the competition, so assisting each other out of respect is natural. A key component to Steven's design was his client's pleasure in it. Her verbalizing her happiness and enjoying how she felt in it is a crucial element of his design success. This was overlooked by the judges.

Was there anything else about this particular challenge that struck you as difficult or interesting?
I loved this challenge for the basic reason of transformation. We literally took the vestiges of old selves and altered and transformed them as new ones. What an honor and a thrill. This type of challenge resonated with a strong component of my own work, where the wear is emphasized over the worn, and how someone feels in the dressing is more important than what someone on the outside thinks of the dressing.

Herein lies the difficult part of this challenge for me. At what point is the health, the happiness, and the actual identity of the individual wearing the clothes going to circumvent the socially unevolved predominant ideal of "looking" like a coat-hanger for the clothes.


Heidi says that the outfit doesn't look like Tracy. What was your take on Tracy? What did the judges not know about her that made that outfit actually work on her?
I am very grateful to have the opportunity to articulate about this challenge, Tracy, and the runway commentary. I truly admired Tracy as we talked of her family, her husband, her weight loss, and a bit of her future desires. What a kind, smart, strong, playful, and sexy woman.

When we were discussing what she wanted to explore in the piece I was to create for her, being a bit East Village rocker-ish was a peek, a tad rock n' roll girl in a way that she hadn't been able to for awhile, in addition to being able to be at work. She wanted to show her waist. She brought her own boots and stockings.

I thought by our interaction that she was pleased, enjoying herself and her experience, and that was really all and who I cared about. I still stand by our collaboration, despite how the off-the- runway people viewed it.

It is a shame that people who didn't even talk to Tracy assumed on their own preconceptions of beauty and body, who she is. I wish I personally could have protected Tracy from that.

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