Simone: Anger, Suprise, Amusement

Simone LeBlanc reflects on her short stay.

What was it like meeting Tim and Heidi for the first time?
It was exciting in the sense that it solidified the fact that I truly was standing in Bryant Park, on camera, with no sleep, as part of Project Runway.

What was your impression of the first challenge -- to express who you are as a designer?
I thought it was a great challenge. The running through the grass was a bit ridiculous and gimmicky though. The fabrics were gorgeous, and the energy was great. The competitive sensibility was just starting to peek through, and we were all just trying to get our bearings. It's an interesting phnomenon -- to see what happens to people when a camera gets put on them. You begin to see multiple sides to some personalities.

Which designer did you find the most intimidating when you first arrived?
This may sound naive, or perhaps overly optimistic- but I wasn't intimidated by anyone. Had I been on the show longer, I would have been intimidated by the technical capabilities of a few of the others. I definitely had my snap judgements (I reluctantly admit) based on appearances when I first arrived. But those transformed as time passed. We all visually are so different -- it was more about trying to figure out who was who for me.

During the first days on the set, what was the thing that struck you the most?
The feeling that I had been sucked into a weird cult or something. I had no way to get away, gain my bearings, and have a comfort zone. I realised that I had stepped in as a cog in a tremendous machine, who's innerworkings began to reveal themselves the longer I stayed. That actually sounds quite intense, doesn't it?

What did you feel when you were left on stage as part of the top or bottom six?
I went through a few levels of feelings. I was surprised, angered and amused all at the same time. Surprised because of what I was witness to on the runway vs what the viewer will most likely see. I was angered because I felt like I had been played a bit of a fool by the whole experience. Amused because it's television, entertainment, and they are great at what they do.

Honestly, how do you feel about the experience?
I was sequestered for a month, which was a complete nuisance! It's an odd feeling -- I would not recommend it to anyone, but I would not tell them to turn down the experience either. It was not pretty, that's for sure. It was educational, informative, and I'm very happy to be in the present, looking towards the future.

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The Real Winner

No doubt about this years Project Runway 5 winner!

Just a heads up that my book Fashion Inside Out is almost upon us! Though I've heard places are starting to ship it out, the official release date is on 10/28, so mark your calendars! I'm heading out on a book tour to celebrate with you all, so be sure to check my website for details on times, dates and locations: After a year and a half in the works it would be delightful to see all of your supporting faces!

But NOW, it's down to business! PR5 has finally come to an end. I hope after a week of digesting we've all be able to form clear-headed opinions about who we really thought was the winner.

Oh, don't get me wrong, I hands down think it should have been Leanne, but what did you think? Tightly edited, unique and comparable to no one, I think she did an excellent job of taking her inspiration and running it cohesively through each and every piece she sent down the runway. Unlike some of the other designers, Leanne's work is both subtle and intricate, and I applaud her to no end for being able to successfully straddle that fine line, especially at exactly the right time. Korto and Kenley both showed very nice collections, but I do think that Leanne was the one who had the whole package. Korto's sense of color and proportion are excellent, and the way she styled the looks was just intoxicating - the high buns, dewy skin, and fluttering fans - she certainly infused a lot of "earthy sexiness" into it. That being said, you take away all of the extras and we're left with clothing that didn't quite stand up to Leanne's more intricate work.

To me, watching Kenley's show was like watching your friend go into her glamorous closet, and parade out to see if the look is a "keeper" or a "throwaway." Although it was filled with definite highlights and interesting (sometimes costume-like) elements, I just didn't feel that it was a cohesive collection. One of the highlights for me was the green silk dress with the ballooned shoulders - I just thought it was a chic, well made, and truly stunning look.

All in all, these designers will find work and hopefully create stunning collections in the future. Congratulations to them all for coming this far and a HUGE congratulations to Leanne for the win! I'll see you in NYC sweetheart!


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