Jennifer: Staying True To The Vision

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Kenley Blogs Episodes 510-514

On The Road

The Real Winner

The Final Showdown

Leanne Speaks!

Finale, Part 2

What's Next

Tim Responds To Your Comments!

Love Is In The Hair!

History Repeating Itself

Garden Of Locks

Nature Calls

Rock 'n' Runway

Rock Steady

Rock N' Runway

Suede: Rockin' Out

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Take A Bow


Joe: Straight Talk

Working Girl

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Best Of The Best?

Written In The Stars

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What's Your Sign?

I Saw The Sign

A Designer's Dream

Fashion Inside Out

Stella: Lovin' The Leatha

Double 0 Fashion

No Leatha, Mo' Problems

Making The Most Of It

The Fashion That Drives You

A Softer Edge

Fasten Your Seat Belts

Show Some Love

It's All An Illusion

Daniel: Oy Gevalt!

Good Queen Fun

Drama, Drama, Drama!

Joe: All Aboard!

RuPaul: A Drag Race

Jennifer: Staying True To The Vision

Jennifer Diederich defends her choice in color and design in the Olympic challenge.

rate_runway_jennifer_504.jpg What was the inspiration behind your Olympic look?
We had the great opportunity to draw inspiration from the Track & Field Hall of Fame for this challenge. I love to research my designs! I saw an old tracksuit from the 1920s that was teal and white striped and had an embroidered logo of the Track and Field club. I used the logo as an embellished closure on the cardigan and the stripes as an inspiration for the skirt. What were the most important things to remember in order to be successful in this particular challenge?
Well, I think the designers went either one of two ways with this challenge -- a more formal/fashion forward look or a sportier/athletic look. Obviously, the judges were looking for a more athletic design -- everyone else was on the chopping block as soon as their models stepped foot on the runway! Have you ever watched the Olympic opening ceremony?
Yes, I have watched it! The opening ceremony is particularly great, because there is excitement in the air. At that moment, there is still the possibility that anyone can be a winner and everyone has high hopes! Why did you make the decision not to use red in your design?
I chose to use the colors navy, white and gold, as opposed to red, white and blue, with the thought of the Americans "going for the gold." I do see where the judges were coming from with their concern that without the red, the design wasn't immediately recognizable as the American team.

pr_episode_504_pic01.jpg What did you think of having an actual Olympian, Apolo Ohno, as guest judge?
I thought it was an honor to have an Olympian as a guest judge. I should have realized that Apolo would be looking for a design with an athletic point of view. Since my style is very girly, (I never wear pants--just dresses and skirts) I tried to combine a more sporty fabric, the fleece jacket, with a more feminine skirt. I really thought about the athlete's needs by adding a back pocket to the skirt for storage of digital cameras, passes, etc., but it seems it was not enough to impress Apolo or the judges. What did you think of the other designers' designs?
I really liked Korto's design. I thought it was modern, chic and portrayed beautiful American sportswear. Joe's and Terri's designs were what the judges were looking for, but I didn't see too much innovation. Jerell's look was "out there" for the challenge, but he sure knows glamour and how to make a statement. Daniel's didn't really say "Olympic" at all to me. It had similar problems to mine -- it was more fashion than athletic, and the colors were purple and red. I definitely think some of the other designers in the middle range skated through even though they had outfits that didn't fit the challenge. Did you think you would be going home after hearing the judges' comments about all the designs? Do you think that someone else deserved to go home instead of you?
I knew I was on the chopping block after hearing the judges' comments. Ironically, I was told by other designers that they thought I was a contender for the win. I felt my design was well thought out, executed beautifully, (I even embroidered "USA" on the silk bias-cut tank with gold thread from the skirt fabric!) and playful. Did I think it was the worst design? Definitely not! I loved it! I would rather not say if someone should have gone instead of me. Bringing someone else down to lift myself up is not my thing. Nina said that you put too much of what you would want to wear into your designs -- do you agree with that?
What's wrong with that?! Many successful women designers design for themselves. I take into consideration what makes me feel and look my best when designing for my collection. And that's as it should be. I was also trying to stay true to my vision as a designer, even in the Olympic challenge.

jennifer_504_widget.jpg What was the best advice you received during your time on the show?
Actually, Jerry gave me some good advice about business, seeing as he has more experience in owning his own business. He may have gone home first, but he knows a lot! Thanks, Jerry! Do you have a prediction as to who will go all the way? I think Kelli is an innovative designer, who works really hard. I also think Leanne has a new point of view, and Jerell is somebody I root for as a friend. Where can your fans see you in the future?
Visit for more of my line "suite." Are people noticing you? How has life "outside" been? Do people in Italy recognize you?
I am recognized in New York, when I'm there. Twice, on flights from New York and Syracuse, my hometown, Project Runway has been on TV and the person watching it next to me didn't realize I was sitting next to them! I think I was probably the most "normal" looking girl on the show, so I'm not always recognizable right away. I flew back to Italy about a week ago, and while it's beautiful and sunny here, I can't wait to get back to New York! (And no, nobody recognizes me yet in Italy because the fifth season of Project Runway won't air here until next year!) What was the first thing you did after leaving Atlas?
I hopped in a cab and went to a friend's apartment to stay in New York for a few days for a little business and a lot of fun -- without any cameras!

The Final Showdown

Bryant Park was a frantic frenzy backstage but most kept cool.

After weeks of vigorous drawing, designing and sewing, the final three designers arrived at the last challenge. The pressure was on for Leanne, Korto, and Kenley as they geared up to show their collections at Bryant Park for New York Fashion Week!

As the TRESemmé Styling Team entered the fashion tents, we were filled with excitement and anticipation to see what the designers put together. Since each contestant had 10 models each, backstage was buzzing! Kenley was frantic because some of her models were missing and didn't even show up until the last minute. Leanne was the complete opposite - she stayed calm and collected and even had all her models ready to go way before runway time. Korto looked nervous but was ecstatic to be at Bryant Park. She told us it was something she had been dreaming about her whole life. After we gathered the 30 models, we split them up by designer so that the TRESemmé Styling Team could start transforming the girls. Korto's collection reflected her African heritage and culture. To complement the loud prints and bold colors, we decided to give Korto's models an up-do to accentuate the embellished detailing on the neckline of the garments. First, I started by taking a zig-zag section from ear to ear across the crown. I worked in TRESemme Anti-Frizz Secret Smoothing Crème to help create a sleek base. Then, we tied two separate ponytails to the right side of the head within the top and bottom sections. To add volume to the ponytail, we created waves using a 1″ curling iron, and then teased the hair. After, we lightly brushed the surface for a smooth exterior and neatly twisted and pinned the hair into a doughnut-shaped bun.

For Leanne's collection, she found inspiration by the lake near her home in Portland, Oregon. Each piece in her line had some sort of ripple or wave effect to it in different shades of blue and cream. We wanted to create a hairstyle that had a similar wave-like effect. Leanne envisioned the hair to look natural, organic and earthy. I began by generously spraying TRESemmé Thermal Creations Heat Tamer throughout the models' hair. After blow-drying, I gave her models a deep left side part and tied back the front pieces of their hair into a ponytail. I pulled the remaining hair and the ponytail into one low pony and curled it to create soft waves.Kenley designed an assortment of colorful knee-length dresses that she hand painted herself! She wanted the hair to be classic and sophisticated, so we decided to give her models Marcel waves. To get this look, I created a low left side part from above the eye to the crown, then sectioned the hair from the crown to behind the right ear and clipped it aside. Next, I put the remaining hair into a side bun to the right side of the head. After, we released the top section of the hair from the clip and misted the hair with TRESemme Thermal Creations Heat Tamer before blow-drying for a smooth finish. Then, we finished by applying TRESemme Thermal Creations Curl Activator Spray to the front pieces and used a 1" curling iron to create face framing Marcel waves. Finally, we loosely pinned the remaining length of the hair into a bun.

Even though all the collections looked amazing on the runway, there can only be one winner of Project Runway. Tim Gunn, who surprised everyone as the guest judge, thought Leanne's line was uniquely structured and versatile. Heidi said her cohesive collection floated down the runway. The judges all agreed her designs were flawless and Leanne was crowned winner!

It has been such a memorable experience seeing Leanne grow into the designer she is today, and I'm sure we can expect many more beautiful collections from her. I can't wait to see what type of ripple effect this designer will make in the fashion industry!