Were you satisfied with Ali's transformation?
I was more than happy and that was the reward of this challenge. She completely transformed, in a much deeper way than simply making over her outward appearance. I believe her when she says that a lot of old hang-ups have been permanently left behind. I think that she really fell in love with her new self, which will make her kinder, softer, and happier with every part of herself and her life. I think she has really embraced her beautiful body and has dumped all her prior cynical issues. In Ali's case, I believe that the show has impacted her life in many different aspects. She was at the point where she had developed a real hardened edge that wasn't allowing her beauty to shine through. We had to dissolve that edge. I saw her look fresh, and brilliant and optimistic and open and just really saw her say, "A-ha! I can really put a new look together now and I don't want to go back to that arrogant sense of style I had before."
When it comes to clothes, do you think people generally equate high prices with high quality?
With couture and ready-to-wear designers, many times the craftsmanship and the textiles, or the workmanship and the design level, is one that simply demands a high price point. but I think for a lot of people like Ali, people who are not informed, they buy labels as a cop out or escape. Ali was able to spend a lot of money on clothes and felt that the labels were really going to save her style. This episode proves that labels can't save style. I think that's a great lesson. Style and true quality is not necessarily related or even saved by a high price label. Ali was really at a disconnect that allowed her to take a shortcut or the easy way out. She would take a look at something and think, "Oh, that's gotta work and I gotta feel good in it, because I believe that this label and this price tag will meet my expectations." If you're not shopping and selecting garments with a critical eye, then you will fall into that trap. The worst part is that you will be paying far more than what anyone should be paying and not extracting any style value from the look.