For Project Runway contestant Geoffrey Mac, the road to the final runway wasn't easy. "I just had crazy anxiety from the whole thing," the Season 18 designer exclusively revealed to BravoTV.com. "I had a couple of nervous breakdowns."
From that turmoil came greatness. On the March 12 finale, the Brooklyn-based designer was crowned the winner of Project Runway's 18th Season, a life-changing moment which still chokes him up to think about. "It's still overwhelming," Geoffrey shared. "Winning was really important to me financially and mentally — I'm really competitive... But the joy on my mom's face was just priceless. She said it was the happiest day of her entire life. Just that alone is worth all the money in the world."
As fans saw on the show, an unexpected injury left Geoffrey in a time crunch. In fact, the entire 10-item collection was pieced together in only a month. That was particularly challenging for the designer, who has wrestled with self-doubt throughout the competition and in his life.
"As a designer, I've been struggling to get notoriety for over 20 years. I find myself over-designing trying to get attention," Geoffrey recalled. "None of that, I've learned, is needed. It's more of a self-esteem thing that I need to use going forward to know that I'm a good designer and I can do a minimal piece with just one detail and it's going to say a lot more than a piece that is trying to throw everything into it."
That new mentality helped him build a gorgeous, innovative final collection with a deeply personal meaning. "I started to play with the idea of armor," Geoffrey shared of the collection that incorporated metallics, steel, and iridescent fabrics. He named it Purple Heart, a reference to the military medal for wounded soldiers: "I was realizing that my father had three purple hearts and he wasn't able to come to the finale, so I just wanted to name [the collection] after him. It deals with being a survivor, which, I not only survived my life and overcame a bunch of stuff, but [also] the competition alone. It just kind of was this full circle moment that felt really right."
Now with the Season 18 title under his belt, Geoffrey is looking forward. "A break is first," said the designer of his post-win plans, which include a 10-day trip to Maui with his sister and best friend. Then, it's back to work. He plans to launch two fragrances — the first, a unisex scent named G, is already in the works — and of course, get back to designing.
"I have to figure out if it's menswear or womenswear, the size of the collection, a marketing plan," he said. "I only have one shot at this [prize] money and I need to get it right so that I'm here for a lot of seasons."
Scroll down to see every "future-forward, fearless, architectural" look from Geoffrey's winning runway show.
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