Fashion Inside Out

Diane von Furstenberg presents a challenge with a lot on the line!

Okay, before we get started I have to share some exciting news: I just got an advanced copy of my new book Fashion Inside Out from my publisher and it looks AMAZING!!! So many long hours went into it, almost a year of shooting, and countless moments of frustration, but to see it bound and looking beautiful in my hands made it all worth it! There's a big book tour coinciding with the US and UK launch date (October 28th I believe) that will take me all over the country, but I'll be sure to post more information about that when the time is closer... but I just couldn't resist sharing the exciting news!

Okay, tone it down Daniel, you rarely use so many exclamation points in one paragraph and you're starting to sound like a 10 year old on IM (LOL!) This week's challenge was a fantastic one, wasn't it? The designers were blessed with using high-end fabrics, they got to hear about what the challenge from the designer herself, and then, on top of it all, they had the opportunity to have it reproduced! Diane von Furstenberg is truly a living legend in the fashion community, and someone who has consistently designed beautiful clothing that makes women of all ages and sizes feel beautiful and sexy. Her qualifications make her an excellent judge and mentor. Tie in having Fern Mallis (both of whom are in my book! Wink wink) critique the designer's work, and they're getting a real-life dose of what NY Fashion is all about.


Considering Blayne's penchant for color and extremism, I have to say this look is pretty good. The jacket is fantastic and I simply can't believe that he did that in such a short amount of time; the silhouette works in beautifully with DVF's fall collection with its wide collar and cinched waist. Though I feel the blouson shorts may have worked in a slightly softer, more sophisticated fabric, I just don't see them looking chic enough as is. The exposed ties on the legs also make them look a little home-made, and then pairing them with bare legs and black pumps makes the whole look seem a bit disjointed - summer meets winter meets business casual. Good pieces, but not a knockout.


Fantastic job this week! I thought he did a great job of marrying his style with Diane's, and ended up with a gorgeous look. The color story and silhouette scream DVF, but I really enjoyed the futuristic touches of patent blue inserts he included on the jacket, really elevating it from looking like something she simply pulled from her archive. The only reason I can think of as to why this didn't make the cut was because of the length of the skirt; similar to his last challenge's mini skirt, this one is just a tad too short, and too young. I do think he styled his model appropriately and think the t-strap shoes and box hat help to make her look more period and relatable to the collection's inspiration. Nice job!


Though I find this design to be pretty bad, I was on the fence halfway through the show, thinking that it was possible for him to end on the good side of straddling the risk-factor. The color combination was a risk, as was the hooded cape, but add in the poor execution (which I don't understand because he's handled past challenges beautifully?) it really was destined to crash and burn. When Joe was first showing Tim the hooded cape idea in the workroom, he held up (which I now know was just muslin) white fabric that looked much cozier and appropriate for the garment. Granted, the skirt/top was made very badly, but if he had made the cape out of cozy cashmere or wool in winter white, or something more outwear appropriate than the metallic dancewear he chose, I think it could've worked.


Hmmmm. I'm not sure what to really say about this dress. Yes, the fabric is gorgeous, yes, the silhouette is reminiscent of the inspiration, and yes, she's styled beautifully, but I can't get over the fact that it's just a dress. Unlike some of the other designer's looks, and many of Kenley's past challenges, this just doesn't hold its own when compared to the other designs being shown. Regardless of how it would sell in a store, it still needs to stand out the runway amidst everyone else's designs, and I think Kenley just didn't do enough. There are many times where a designer is weary of over-designing a look when they want the beauty of a fabrication to stand out, but I think that there was a way of doing a more interesting dress without losing the focus of the gorgeous fabric. In the end, the best part of the dress IS the fabric, and that's the one thing that Kenley didn't create. I'm sure I'm being so tough on Kenley because I think she's a good designer and I'd like to see her keep pushing herself - come on girl!


Another very good, very bold look from Korto! I really think that she creates beautiful clothing and I love when she's confident in her designs - as she really isn't afraid to be daring when she's on. Korto really seems to love volume in her clothing, but she's smart enough to do it strategically. This jacket is flattering, wearable, sexy, and a smart accent to the dress. Though I'm usually not a big fan of colored inserts in evening gowns, I think the way she did it works. I'm also not a fan of ankle-length dresses and feel that it would've been more of an impact had she made it floor-length, though somehow it works on her model. Similar to Leanne's look, Korto designed two strong pieces that work together, an approach that some of the other designers really struggled with.


I'm in lust with this look. From her finger-wave tresses to the sweeping hem, I can find NOTHING that I dislike about this design. I adore navy for evening wear, finding it both sexy and strong (something that I feel is very much DVF's aesthetic) but when accented with a cascade of soft ruffles it just oozes sexiness. I literally "ooohhed" when Leanne's model took off the jacket to showcase the dress's neckline, a subtle take on a classic v-neck. The jacket is both soft, yet structured, and is proportionately perfect for her model - Leanne was smart to heed Tim's advice about chopping the length. Another win for the lovely Leanne! Yay!!!


Wow, this was pretty bad. I was surprised how bad the execution was because that really seemed to be one of Stella's strong points - her technique. I have a feeling that she's more accustomed to working with tight woven fabrics (or leather) which don't have a lot of give to them, so you can sew it up and just pour the model into it... everything pretty much stays in place. Though with this spongy wool, it has a tendency to have a much softer hand and though it's a "menswear" fabric, it's still soft and feminine. Not to bring back horrible memories, but do you remember the suit that Nick designed for me for the make-over challenge? It was a good design that needed a crisp, sturdy fabric and not the softer, spongy version that was used. Anyways, I digress. I think that Stella truly was the rocker with a heart of gold and really did a great job of holding her own on this show. Stella will never work for a designer as feminine as DVF, and she shouldn't, because they both have their own distinct point-of-view and that's what makes them both fabulous. Good luck Stella and know that many of us, including my boyfriend and I, will greatly miss your sharp wit and straight-to-the-point comments!


This is the (Okay, I've really lost track at this point) week in a row that Suede has sent a disjointed look down the runway. I love the green "camo" print he chose, and the neckline of the dress was both sexy yet demure, but the awkwardness of the heavy skirt (with unnecessary slit) and sporty vest took your eye away from the good points of the look. When Tim commented that there was too much fullness, I thought Suede would take the hint to either lose some (which I think he did) or chop the dress to make it younger and flirtier. If he had gone with option two, I don't think it would've meshed perfectly well with the rest of DVF's collection, but I think it would've been an improvement over what he had, and honestly, more Suede.


Though Terri was getting flack from the other designers for repeat designing her signature pant/jacket combo, it doesn't really bother me that much, because she keeps changing it up. I think that this look was very DVF and would fit in very well with her fall collection. Yes, I can see that the crotch of the pants are a bit... ummm... tight, let's hope it's just the way the model is standing that's causing so much...ummm...tension. Overall, I think that this look was good, but there wasn't that "wow" factor that some of the other designers had, leaving her somewhere in the safe zone for another week.

Tim Responds To Your Comments!

Thoughts and explanations about this season of Project Runway.

Tim I love you! But I have the same question ... why is Kenley still there?? -Yaz
Oh, Yaz, I know, I know. Although she can be terribly annoying, Kenley is indisputably talented as a designer. Regrettably, for her, she seems incapable of listening to any feedback without assuming that it's an attack on her character. Had she attended a design school (she's self-taught), then the critique process that she would have experienced would have either killed her or cured her.

I want to put in an official question to Tim...Ever since season one, all he's wanted is the best for his designers. He's given them all the help that he can, and I think of him as such a kind, sweet man. I used to be a Kenley fan (every season has its "Attitude" member...Wendy, Santino, Jeffrey, Christian...) but I've never seen anyone be so completely rude to Tim - who does nothing but help her!!! Tim, how did you react to this rudeness? Was it difficult to keep on giving her constructive feedback? - Charlotte Bailey
Charlotte, years of teaching (29 to be specific) have given me resources to draw upon and bucket-loads of patience, but there are some individuals who test even my arsenal of diagnostic measures and metaphorical prescriptions. Kenley is certainly one of them. I feel like you do; That is, I'm only trying to help her. But I have a refrain that's appropriate for these circumstances: I can't want you to succeed more than you do. And in the end, it's important to take the high road and not let these individuals know to what extent they're pushing your buttons. Furthermore, and drawing upon my teaching experiences, again, I know that I hold the power in these circumstances, and there is absolutely no need to abuse it. Ever.

Sometimes I'm shocked by the judges' picks. They have picked a few items that no one I know would ever wear! What do they base their choices on? - Debbie
Oh, Debbie! I wish you could be with me in the literal and metaphorical darkness of the Parsons auditorium as I watch the judges' deliberations! Like you, it's infrequently that I can anticipate the judges' decisions. Who's going home? Who's out? Beats me. When the designers' looks on the runway are well executed, then the decisions become a matter of taste. What are Heidi's, Nina's, and Michael's proclivities on any given judging day? I can't begin to answer that question. Chacun a son gout.

There were comments that there are several options to the traditional jacket/skirt suit for interviews. Anyone have appropriate ideas for more creative business wear? I wish they would have elaborated on that comment! - Melissa
Melissa, you're right; there should have been some examples given. Whenever I talk about a woman's alternative to stuffy menswear tailoring, I cite Donna Karan, who redefined executive dressing for women going back to the mid-'80s. It was Donna who took those basic pieces - jackets, skirts and pants - and made them sophisticated and, yes, sexy. She achieved the latter by showing off the curves that women possess, not by trying to obfuscate them under boxy separates. There is no reason for a woman, under any circumstances, to dress like a man.

What exactly is the point of this 4 designer showdown? I mean, come on, what was the point of last night's show anyway if the judges couldn't make up their minds and boot off the least deserving designer? - Amelia
Um...,'s this flavor of question that gets me in big trouble because I agree with you! I feel that it's unkind and even mean spirited to victimize one of the designers, because the judges were unable to render a verdict at an earlier time. If they can't decide, then they should accept responsibility for their indecision and allow four designers to present at Bryant Park.