Wasn't it a blast seeing SJP finally walk into the "Project Runway" design room? I thought so. Every year, I beg the lady to appear on "Project Runway" and every year she thinks about it really hard, gets really tempted, and respectfully turns us down.
This year, we figured that her successful clothing line, Bitten, provided a natural bridge to our Runway. We were right! I rang up the always classic Parker after she'd had a minute to digest her appearance on one of her fave shows.
YOU'VE BEEN SUCH A FAN OF THE SHOW FROM THE START, WHAT WAS IT LIKE ACTUALLY BEING ON THE SHOW? SURREAL?
It was surreal -- that's a great word for it. It was funny that after all these years I wouldn't know better how different the scale between real life and TV is. I kept saying "It's so much smaller and the runway looks so much different than it does on tv." You end up saying everything that people say who've not worked in the industry for 30 years and are going into a studio for the first time. When you're in the audeince it's a different feeling. I had the same feeling when I went on the set of "Sesame Street." I was saying, "This is Oscar's trashcan!? It's so SMALL!" I never thought i'd be there as a participant. To be part of the conversation and decision heightened the quality of the experience. It was so weird for me, I felt like I was hypnotized....
TALK TO ME ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE OF JUDGING, AND IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANT TO ADD NOW THAT YOU'VE SEEN THE EPISODE?
Judging was as I suspected: Thrilling to see the runway show and awful to have to lay down opinions publicly.
THAT PROCESS OF JUDGING WAS ONE OF THE THINGS THAT KEPT YOU AWAY FROM THE SHOW FOR SO LONG.
I didn't want to judge. I felt it in my head, but watching the episode I didn't realize how much editing took place. I didn't realize it was an hour or more dedicated to discussion of the fashion, so watching on TV there's less nuance. Nina, Michael and Heidi, because they are experts, have strong opinons, but on TV it seems spare and harsh because it's edited. So watching on TV it makes me feel kind of terrible. Having experienced it, I see you can't devote an entire episode to the judging and give all the time it needs for the nuace (though I would watch an hour of judging!). So, my fear was realized; I wish I could get transcripts to the designers so they knew every single thing I said about them. It's such a fragile time for them -- regardless of their years living and years experience. The more you feel your confidence taken because of critical thinking it's harder ... you do better with support and cheerleaders. You worry that your words will be the final words they hear that won't allow them to go the full distance. You don't want to be the nail in their coffin of creativity, you know? That's why I got so hung up about Christian. The judging conversation took a left turn I didn't expect it to take. We got hung up on the vintage of the look, on the decade, and didn't get to talk about his work. Remember how impressed I was with his sketch? Nina and Michael and Heidi are used to this experience and understand the need to get points across quickly and maybe don't want to coddle the way I want to. I wanted to take a little more time with Christian and say "You are clearly a really talented designer, you have an amazing perspective, you're 21, and just because this dress isn't right for Bitten doesn't mean it is any less great. Does it recall Charivari, yeah for a moment?" I wish I could've said all this to him. And to Rami, I wish could've expounded on more to him so he knew there was a lot of success with his look even if he didn't win.
WERE YOU SURPRISED TO SEE WHAT WENT ON IN THE WORKROOM BETWEEN THE TIME THE DESIGNERS PITCHED YOU AND THE RUNWAY SHOW? SPECIFICALLY ELISA SPITMARKING HER DRESS.....
I was shocked at the lack of time and felt guilty about the lack of money! I was very amused at Elisa's techniques. I felt responsible for Sweet P's aggravation, but was glad of it for comedy sake. What I saw that I haven't in past seasons was that, even though these designers are so talented, it seems like they are helping each other out in the workroom. Like Carmen was counseling someone. That surprised me about the workroom -- even at this early stage of the show. They were nice to each other and helping each other, which is great. The thing that boggles my mind is the lack of time. It is boggling what is expected of them in 8 or 10 hours. When Christian and Carmen finished that dress and jacket early, weren't you shocked?! I was so impressed. It's also that stage of the show when there is a lot of humor to be found in the workroom. Who knows what will happen in a few weeks.
WHAT ELSE, SJ?
That workroom is so much smaller than i thought, and it's turned a different way in my head. You know how the iPhone turns pictures around? I had it flipped! I can't explain it.
WE WERE HOLDING OUR BREATH WAITING FOR THE DESIGNERS TO SEE YOU. TELL ME ABOUT WAITING BEHIND THAT DOOR TO WALK IN AND THE RESPONSE YOU GOT?
Waiting behind the door was so scary because I have seen every episode, some more than once, and it's too much. It's too weird.... The whole time I was thinking I was gonna dissappoint them when I walked in like, "Oh great...." There were things I had to say that I didn't want to mess up or make sound silly like "May or may not be sold" and try to be clear with them when i described the line. My ideal would be to walk in there and chat for an hour and a half... figure out who they are and where they come from and all that -- that would've been the dream. I would've like to spend more time with them even in the pitches. I wanted to say more to each of them. The welcome and reception was so, you know, sweet and amazing. And I wish Pat Fields had been there because I feel lke a lot of that is for her....
SPEAKING OF PAT, HOW'S THE MOVIE GOING?
I can only say a little bit.... it's going really, really well. The hours are brutal and it's getting more exciting as we get closer to the end because I am seeing the whole thing in my brain.
AND VICTORYA'S GARMENTS ARE IN STEVE AND BARRY'S STORES THIS FRIDAY!?
Yep! When I saw that outfit on the runway when I watched the episode, I was like "Wow that was a great piece. It was really right." And there were great pieces all the way around. There was a lot I liked about Rami's piece. Kit's sweatshirt was fantastic. And Elisa's piece was so great and beautifully made. Victoria's piece looked so great on the runway and i saw it in the store in Manhattan the other night and I thought "Wow, this is gonna sit beautifully in here." It will suit a lot of women but it will be accessible. It won't be too avant garde or too fashiony. People won't be afraid to try it and the pieces will be sold separately (the dress for $19.99 and vest for $14.99). There's one in a burgandy and one in the navy. And women can wear it with tights or a drainpipe jean or bare. And I think its the right dress for the line. I can"t believe she changed the fabric -- when she pitched it, it was ivory or white which wouldn't be right for this time of year ... and she just intuited beautifully. It's gonna be great and people are gonna love it!
WELL I CAN'T THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR DOING THE SHOW. WE LOVED HAVING YOU AROUND.
Oh it was my pleasure! I loved it! Sometimes I wish I could go back in time and relive it! I loved it so much. I loved it. it was an experience of a lifetime.
OK. PICK A WINNER.
I can't. I have my suspicions. Come back to me in a couple weeks. Remember, though, that I picked the winner and loser of the first episode right away... Remember?
YOU DO KNOW HOW TO PICK EM, SWEETIE.