Listening to the designer's runway experience.
The reunion show is a great time to catch up with all of the contestants and see how each of them are doing post-Project Runway. It is a great time to gain insight on their experiences on the show. Did they enjoy the process? Would they put themselves through the sleepless nights, the close living quarters, and the anxiety of not knowing if this was going to be your challenge to win or be auf'd? What I hope for all of the contestants I have seen through the years is that they found their experience on Project Runway to be beneficial to their career, whether they showed at Bryant Park or not. Most often, the designers find that being on the show was cathartic and allowed them to get to know themselves as designers.
Elisa, of course, took the philosophical route and used her experience on PR to grow and learn. PR was great for Jillian, who after working as a designer for Ralph Lauren and consistently produced looks that were dictated by someone else's vision, was allowed the chance to find out what she liked to design and cultivate her own aesthetic.
I have to say that this group out of all the seasons were the most mature in their treatment of one another when it came to the workroom. When challenged to work in groups there were no hateful exchanges, and ultimately, though sometimes found personality clashes, treated one another with respect. Big surprise that Mr. Double-Snap Fierce won the popularity contest. His outrageous commentary was always entertaining and I thought the outtakes of his hair obsession -- I can relate -- were hysterical! At 21, he has all the energy, determination, and fearlessness that one should have when you feel you are the center of the universe. He is really an "enfant terrible" and his personality is even more exaggerated by the fact he works along such serious types as Rami and Jillian, who seldom lose their cool. Speaking of cool I love that the fans had a chance to see the usually "cool" judges lose it when we had the wrestling challenge and Michael burst out in laughter uncontrollably. The thing with Michael is that he has the best one-liners that send everyone into a laughing riot, but during that particular deliberation his outburst was so contagious that we all could not control ourselves. I am glad we had the chance for the contestants to ask us how and why we judge the way that we do. By blogging it has been a great way for me to expose our thought process behind our decisions to the fans, but think it is important for the designers to know that we judge solely based on what we are presented on the runway and judge them on the same level as what we as industry professionals see in the real world.
I cannot wait to see the final collections of Rami, Jillian, Christian, and Chris. We have such a diverse group of designers that it is really anybody's game to win. Tell me who you think should have made it into the final four and who didn't get a chance. Who do you think will win between Chris and Rami? See you at the show!
Project Runway judge and Elle magazine Fashion Director