Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Jillian: 'I am a drama queen'

Some people are harder on themselves than others and Jillian Lewis, who is getting oh-so-close to being a finalist on Project Runway, is one of them. After the last episode, when for the first time she landed in the bottom two, Jillian takes a moment to confess all (almost) to Newsday style writer Anne Bratskeir.

AB: Um, this wasn’t your most stellar episode. What happened?
JL: It was just a point in the series that it was way too exhausting for me to keep going. I hadn’t been eating healthy, or sleeping enough. Usually I have good stamina for staying up at night and working like a crazy person. But I hit a bad point. I remember that morning when they woke us to go on a field trip; I could barely lift my head. And by now, it’s pretty obvious. I am not a fast person. It was stupid to make a coat. It wasn’t enough time for me. I tried something different and I failed.

AB: How irked were you that Victorya also made a coat after the great avant-garde one you collaborated on the week before?
JL: I was really shocked. She didn’t seem to be into that sort of thing. At the time I was annoyed. Now I’m annoyed that I was annoyed. My whole attitude was just disgusting.

AB: You said you were bleeding everywhere but the camera didn’t show it. Were you?
JL: (Laughs) I was not bleeding anywhere. That’s why I thought the whole package was disgusting. I was in pain. I hated watching myself last week.

AB: Oh so you are a bit of a drama queen?
JL: (Laughs again) I do have that side to me. You can ask my family. They’ve seen that side.

AB: Describe how you felt when you were standing on the runway with Victorya knowing you were in the bottom two.
JL: I hate to say this but I didn’t feel like I was going to be eliminated. I was so numb that when Heidi was saying ‘Your coat was terrible,’ I had the same feeling as if I were doing well. I guess it’s a whole strategy of closing off my emotions so I don’t end up in a mental institution afterwards.

AB: So, when Heidi said you were in, you didn’t almost swoon?
JL: I felt that Project Runway values creativity over failure. They at least appreciated that I tried. What Victorya did was very anti-Project Runway. But it wasn’t enough of stepping out of the box. I’m confident, not conceited and I had faith that it was not my time to go.

AB: It sure didn’t look like people were sad to see Victorya go. We noted that only Christian gave her a hug. Was that the general feeling?
JL: Victorya only had Christian as her friend and that was her decision. None of us were very connected to her and she didn’t put herself in a very friendly situation. It was the dynamic the whole time.

AB: Give us a little hint about next week’s challenge. It’s with the Divas of World Wrestling Entertainment, not your average customer. Was it a tough challenge?
JL: Yeahhhhh!!!! At first I was shocked but then I thought it was pretty cool. I used a royal blue shiny spandex coated with something. As for the Divas, I have one word for you: spray-tan.

AB: Which designer do you think is your toughest competitor?
JL: I would say Christian, partly because of his overwhelming level of confidence that makes people around him think he’s better than he is. Then again, I think he’s pretty phenomenal. And for his age he’s pretty fabulous. What’s admirable about him is that he takes risks and is not afraid of being on the bottom.

AB: Has anyone asked you for your autograph yet?
JL: My sister will send me pictures of me and her, so I will autograph them and she can give them to people at work. I am getting more attention on the street. But if someone asked for my autograph I would wonder "Why do you want me to sign a piece of paper?" I’m just like a person on a reality show.

- Anne Bratskeir

Photos from BravoTV.com

Monday, January 28, 2008

Who will win Project Runway this season?

A few weeks back, we gave our predictions for the final three designers to show at Bryant Park during Fashion Week. We then asked you to vote for your favorite three.

In what was perhaps the scariest moment of this young calendar year, you agreed with our choices of Rami, Jillian and Christian making up the final three.

Well, seeing how this week's show is a re-run, we figured we'd still give you something to do. So, now it's time to pick the overall winner of Season 4.

We're sticking with our pick from the show's start: Jillian.

Why? Because we're riding our local girl until the end.

Who's your choice to win it all? Vote in the poll on the top right. We'll keep the poll open for a week and then announce the winner on Feb. 5. What the heck, it is Super Tuesday!

(P.S. Fashion Week starts Feb. 1 and closes out Feb. 8, with the Project Runway show set for 9 a.m. on that final Friday.)

(P.P.S. That photo is from Jillian's junior year in high school)

- Mark La Monica

Week 9 poll results

Hop on that Project Runway bandwagon, people. Once again, you agreed with the judges in whacking Victorya from the show after her work with denim.

Here's the results from our reader poll:

73% Victorya Hong
20% Chris March
5% Jillian Lewis

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Levi's loves Ricky - and you, too!

A rep for Levi's emailed this afternoon to say that the limited edition Ricky Lizalde denim dress is already sold out.

That same rep pointed us in the direction of Project 501, their new campaign to let one lucky person become a denim designer.

It works like this: Create your own denim masterpiece using the materials from the 501® jeans and trucker jacket.

"Make sure it captures the originality and youthful spirit of Levi's®," the Web site proclaims. And for the love of Pete, do it before Feb. 6, otherwise you are out.

Readers will then pick their favorites and the top 20 will be announced on Feb. 20, with the winner being announced Feb. 28.

The winning design will be sold on Levi's site, just like Crying Ricky.

- Mark La Monica

Episode 9: Denim Blues

Jillian, don’t ever do that again. We’re sorry to play favorites, but Jillian is our homegirl hailing from Selden, and for the first time, she was in the bottom two…and worse she deserved it. But wait we’re starting at the end.

The gig was denim tonight, specifically Levi’s 501. The mission? Create an iconic denim look that captures the spirit of the brand. So, the designers pack into a maroon van with Tim Gunn and off they go to a pier on the East River where 500 pieces of Levi’s products are stowed -- jackets and pants -- along with bolts of cotton. It’s “Supermarket Sweepstakes,” for the gang who make a mad dash for the denim which is hanging on clotheslines and then stuff it into laundry bags bringing it back to the sewing room to deconstruct and reconstruct.

Shocker: Ricky finally wins it with a sassy little denim mini dress that features Levi’s trademark buttons down the front and a kicky pleated skirt. It will be sold in limited edition on Levis.com. For the true Ricky experience, you’ll have to cry when you wear it…natch, Ricky shed a tear or two tonight.

Victorya, high off her big avant-garde coat success from last week tries it again, but her trench-wannabe lacks inspiration – it’s your basic denim jacket with shmata attached -- and she gets the boot. She doesn’t cry and nobody else does either, though Christian hugs her.

And speaking of Christian, his line of the night may have been, “I’m going to die of barfiness.” His jeans and jacket ensemble received high marks from the judges though we think we’ve seen Michael Jackson wearing something like it. As for Jillian, it was too much coat and gimmickry. We hope never to see anything like it from her again.

Rami bagged the draping thing he always does and used zippers as seams (a little Geoffrey Beene-ish but not nearly as polished) receiving a happy nod from the Nina, Michael and guest judge, Caroline Calvin, senior vice president of design for Levi’s. It was Sweet P’s swank, fitted strapless dress featuring color-blocked patchwork that Kors said had the, “voodoo,” because it was so sexy and flattering. And we want some of that voodoo, we do. – Anne Bratskeir

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

32 heart attacks in 18 seconds

We've never hidden our publicly secret desire to see our local girl Jillian Lewis go as far as possible this season, and heck, maybe even win this whole "Project Runway" thing.

(For those Internet readers who don't know Newsday's coverage area, we cover Long Island and the New York City area. Jillian is from Selden, a town in LI's Suffolk County.)

So when she was one of the final two on the runway to hear the judges hammer them and shred someone's dream like they were a pair of Skidz on a person in 2008, we had roughly 32 heart attacks.

It wasn't very comfortable, although my cardiologist is pretty happy about the new inground pool my insurance company is about to put in his backyard.

In the interest of objectivity, we can say that Jillian's denim coat/dress/whatever wasn't her best work and she earned the scare. But we salute Victorya for allowing Jillian to be the second worst in the judges eyes this week. Heck of a job, V!

- Mark La Monica

Project Runway gets a new sponsor . . .

. . . and it's Kleenex!

Why? Because freaking Ricky is crying again!

And the judges loved his work!

The exclamation point on my keyboard is broken now because of Ricky's latest display of waterworks!

- Mark La Monica

Heidi brings the pain!

I used to think "cheap" was just about the worst thing a designer could hear about his or her clothing.

Then Heidi Klum dropped this bomb:

"It looks a little home-sewn."

Ouch. That's gotta be a bit uncomfortable to hear.

- Mark La Monica

Caroline Calvin + denim = Good stuff!

Caroline Calvin, the senior VP of design for Levi's and guest judge on Episode 9, is pretty hot.

I'm just sayin'.

Not Monique L'Huiller hot, but sexy as all heck in denim. Hellooooooooooooo, cougar!

Again, I'm just sayin'.

Here's a 2004 profile on her from Time Magazine, in case you want to learn more about her.

- Mark La Monica

Catty shack

We're nine weeks in to Season 4. The competition is getting mad tight.

And the designers are getting mad catty!

Barbs are flying back and forth, from quips on Christian to quips by Christian. This is just one of the added bonuses of watching the show this late in the season.

Scissors aren't the only things snipping in that workroom. Let the nasty fly!

- Mark La Monica

'My Fair Siriano'

We love spin-offs!

Flavor Flav went from "The Surreal Life" to "The Flavor of Love," which also spawned "I Love New York."

Peter Brady and Adrienne Curry went from "The Surreal Life" to "My Fair Brady," a real-life wedding and two Playboy pictorials.

It's time to suggest, regardless of the outcome of this season of "Project Runway," putting Chris March and Christian Siriano together in their own show next semester.

Does is it really matter what the theme of the show is? You know you'd watch it.

- Mark La Monica

Ain't no such thing as bad publicity

Ever notice all the swag they give away on "Project Runway?"

From the buckets of Hershey's goodies a few weeks back to all the Levi's gear this week, it's crazy exposure for these companies.

The guess here is they pay for such product placement. But maybe not. Either way, I wonder if these companies have quantified such exposure yet?

I can confirm that after the Hershey episode, I bought a package of Twizzlers the next day at work. I haven't bought Twizzlers since I used to sell them in junior high school.

Just one of the things to think about during commercials when you start watching it at the beginning and can't DVR your way through the paid advertisements.

- Mark La Monica

Week 8 poll results

The readers hate Ricky!

If he were reading this now, he'd probably start crying, seeing how this is the third time our gang of loyal Runwayers voted to whack him off the show. He's 3-for-5, good in just about anything aside from reality competition shows.

Here are the results from the Week 8 poll:

65% Ricky Lizalde
23% Rami Kashou
5% Sweet P
5% Kit Pistol

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Jillian's still in it, and we keep interviewing her!

With only two more new episodes between now and Fashion Week at Bryant Park, Long Island’s own Jillian Lewis is still one of the favorites to make the final cut. That last episode was a tense affair for the young designer, but Thursday afternoon, she was happy and calm as could be when she when she took a moment to catch up with Newsday style writer Anne Bratskeir.

AB: Okay, so let’s talk about the “head laying on the sewing machine,” moment during last night’s episode. Were you really that frustrated?
JL: There’s a difference from being on the show and watching it. Everything is so consecutive, and at that point in the competition I was just completely exhausted.

AB: In the Twizzler episode and this one, you seemed like you really might not finish your work in time for the runway presentation. Is that editing or fact?
JL: It’s the truth. Everyday is walking through the fire for me. I come from a background of making clothes for corporate companies, and this level of finishing is not something I’ve dealt with before being on the show. For me, it’s not a quick process. Both Victorya and I went to Parson’s and were taught the very proper way of making clothes. I go through a process. Rami, Chris and Christian, they make clothes on a mannequin. I do a pattern. It’s not as natural for me, and I suffer a little more.

AB: To be honest, it doesn’t seem like you and your partner last night Victorya, are BFF’s. What’s the deal?
JL: It was a very funny situation. We barely exchanged words before we teamed up together. I never had that warmth with her and I was skeptical. I was worried about her being controlling like she was with Ricky. But I was surprised. We had the most incredible partnership. I almost feel that my partnership was more successful with her than with Rami. I learned a lot from her and we both respect each other. Professionally, we were very successful. I wouldn't say that we were the best of friends after.

AB: Friends or not, that coat you two produced was amazing. So was the whole ensemble. Did you think you were going to win?
JL: For me, it was a real turning point in my entire designing career. It was a dream challenge and I never made anything like that before. That’s why I came to the show. I thought everyone turned out strong work and I didn’t necessarily think I was going to win, but I thought the coat was killer.

AB: What’s the worst thing the judges can say (other than you’re out) about a designer’s work?
JL: That your work is amateurish. You definitely don’t want to hear that.

AB: Alberta Ferretti seemed like a pretty critical judge. How did you feel about her?
JL: I was very impressed that she was there. To have a European designer be a guest judge . . . how impressive is that? We don’t necessarily need people to keep saying, "great job" all the time. I thought she was right on and strong and good.

AB: We know how close you are with Rami. Do you think he’s getting a bad rap or was he really that much of a crazy control freak last night?
JL: I love Rami, but I think he was out of line with the situation. He was one of those people . . . the boss you never want to have. I had one of those and everyday you come home feeling you’ve been micro-managed. I really felt bad for Sweet P and now I understand that it is important not to suppress someone in a team situation. He’s a controlling person when it comes to his vision, but I don’t think it’s a reflection of his personal character. He’s a nice person.

AB: What about Kit leaving?
JL: I was shocked she was eliminated. She’s a very positive and very intelligent person. On our chalkboard in our apartment it said, ‘PMA’ – positive mental attitude – and we tried to leave the house thinking that way and that was Kit’s positive influence. She’s a great designer, and a level-headed, strong individual. Kit and Sweet P were best friends so I was really sad for them, and I will really miss her.

AB: Are you getting recognized on the street these days?
JL: Pretty much everyday sometimes up to 10 times a day. It’s funny. I have to get used to it. People say, ‘Oh my God, I love you,’ and at first, I didn’t know how to react. But now I just say ‘Thank you!’

AB: How are you feeling to still be in it?
JL: It’s an honor at this point to still be in the competition. It feels very good to be at that level.

AB: Um, speaking of winners, are you a Giants fan?
JL: I’m really not, I have two sisters and we are the girliest family you’ll ever meet. I’m a total ballerina type girl.

Photos from BravoTV.com

Michael Kors strikes again!

I knew there had to be a good reason why our readers voted Michael Kors as their favorite judge a few weeks ago.

That good reason revealed itself on Episode 8. In hammering the pants made by Sweet P for the Rami Kashou avant garde piece, Kors said:

"She looks like her ass is in her front."

Dear lord, that's brutal. Even the model had to cringe at that one.

Stellar work, Mr. Kors, stellar work.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Project Runway Episode 8: It Gets Hairy

“If I were a diva,” my name would be ‘Ferosh,’ ” (as in ferocious) pronounced Christian. And indeed, our favorite drama queen teamed up with belly laughing Chris of costume designing fame, and handily won this week with a look that was the embodiment of guts and glamour.

The challenge was hairy. Models wearing an array of extreme hairstyles – a faux hawk, a beehive, a bird’s nest – were to serve as the inspiration for an avant-garde look. “It does not have to be practical or even wearable,” said Tim Gunn who paired up the designers randomly.

Christian and Chris’ model wore a Grecian, ropey swirl of hair, and Christian’s concept was to create a gown of swirls. Using 45-yards – that’s a lot -- of rosy-taupe fabric, the sculptural knockout was “couture,” pronounced guest judge Alberta Ferretti, the Milan-based designer.

Gunn caused a panic when he added a second look, mid-challenge -- an interpretation of the avant-garde outfit but saleable as ready-to-wear. The duo did this reasonably well, a simple skirt, and lovely blouse that featured modified swirls. The prize was a goody: a Tresemme hair products ad in Elle Magazine featuring the hair, the designs and the designers. Yay, boys.

Ferretti was less enthralled with Kit and Ricky’s grouping. Inspired by their model’s bird nest hair the apron-like design with tiers of lumpy satin looked “cheap,” she declared. Michael Kors took it a tad further saying it was like Scarlett O’Hara, but instead of using drapes, they ripped the sheets off the bed. Ouch. Ricky’s little day dress was also lowbrow. It was all unsophisticated to say the least, but Kit took the heat and was aufed. Alas, hair today, gone tomorrow.

Jillian and Victorya were tense partners. Victorya had immunity for winning last week. Jillian had a meltdown. But that girl is good – her blond model wearing a fierce faux hawk stalked the runway in her vision of “an apocalyptic trench coat.” Shiny black and lined with plaid, it topped mod jodhpurs and an arty blouse. It was sort of Ralph Lauren on acid, if you will, and beyond fabulous.

Shame on Rami for being such a bully and get over your draping, fella. He brought Sweet P, who is not particularly assertive, to tears with his relentless nagging. But, ha, the judges liked her cute little day dress, and his flowing, corseted, draped (natch) job to match the model’s flowing hair was deemed boring and in our eyes, ungapatchkaed. Too much stuff going on, and too little teamwork bud. The judges called him on it. Yet he lives to drape another day. Let’s see if he changes it up a bit next week.

– Anne Bratskeir

Week 7 poll results

It seems the hatred of Ricky boiled over this week as readers voted to whack him off the show in Episode 7.

The judges had other ideas, whacking Kevin instead. Show producers were most likely happy about that because Ricky is a lightning rod for viewers.

The final results

57% Ricky Lizalde
27% Christian Siriano
7% Kevin Christiana
7% Rami Kashou (if he didn't have immunity)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Project Runway Episode 7: Jersey Girls

Designing the all-important dress for 17- and 18-year old girls – yeah, we’re talking prom – that was the challenge this week. And the models, some of them divas in training, hailed from St. John Vianney High School, a Catholic school in Holmdel, New Jersey.

Witchy Victorya, whom the edit tries to soften with her admitting she misses Elisa, wins the challenge with a vibrant blue chiffon mini featuring a geometrical halter that is studded with jewels. Guest judge Gilles Mendel, whose J. Mendel collection not only features outrageous furs, but also includes close to couture evening dresses with dreamy details, is appreciative of her work.

One of the teenagers offers some breaking news: “Girls who go to Catholic School are really wild.” No kidding. Sweet P counts Catholic school as part of her education along with an all-women’s motorcycle gang. But her dress of champagne silk was pure refinement and one of the best conjuring red carpet movie stars.

Kevin, who has prided himself upon being the group’s only straight male, is a goner. And truth be told, his ill-fitting shiny red dress was cheesy – cheap looking as the judges put it -- and well, so long, farewell. He was dignified enough when he took the final walk down the runway, and asserted his manhood even further when he told the cameras, “I got a hug from Heidi Klum. That wasn’t the worst thing in the world.” Um pal, she was kicking you auf, didn't you notice her dominatrix duds early on?

The conflict of the night was between Christian, whom we almost pitied, and his client. Honestly, we reserve the toughest judgment for grownups of course, but this girl was a brat. That said, Christian should have asserted himself more. The dress, a brown satin shirred disaster with black lace overlay, was gracelessly poufed -- ouch. But how very immature of him to blurt out how difficult the girl was during judging. He needs to grow up, though the guy was sort of funny with antics like rolling around on the floor and drama queen statements such as, “I’m going to die.”

His color combo was poor, but by far, the worst color of the night was Ricky’s vampire flesh tone that basically sucked the life out of his model.

Cute touches included the designers' own prom pictures as visuals – Sweet P was really sweet-looking, Christian incredibly avant garde and Kevin, also from New Jersey, seemed the handsome greaser sort. We loved Jillian’s big query: “Is it just me or is my hair bigger than usual? Maybe it was, but then, at least it wasn’t her ego, as was the case with Rami who basically told the judges, “This is what I do,” when explaining why his knee-length acrid–green cocktail dress that had not a hint of youthfulness, looked so very wrong.

- Anne Bratskeir

Photo from BravoTV.com

Project Runway Week 7 diary

I got a late start on "Project Runway" this week, but thanks to the wonders of technology, my DVR recorded it. So, we decided to still put my plan into action for this week and keep a running reactionary diary for the show.

And away we go watching/blogging (note: time is based on minutes into the show, so when you see :04, that means four minutes into the show.

:01 – “Bottom line, I’m the best.” OK, Carmen, whatever you say. You were better than Simone, that's it.

:02 – Wedding dresses?

:03 – Nope. Prom dresses. Interesting.

:04 - “Oh God, I don’t know what the poor girl who chose me must have been thinking because my portfolio is full of crazy stuff.” Well done, Mr. March.

:05 – And the models get to pick the designers. Nice switcheroo, Heidi!

:06 – “I know that whole Jersey high school thing.” OK, Kevin, now let’s see you design some really big hair!

:08 -- Christian is funny. Christian with flat hair is funnier.

:09 - $250 to shop for materials for one article of clothing? Mix in the labor, the supplies, the overhead and no wonder why clothes are so damn expensive these days.

:10 – What the heck was that? God bless DVR.

:10.30 -- Wow, that was Christian in high school. That photo is something off a Classmates.com banner ad.

:12 – Check out those hooptie earrings on Kit. Dang, yo. Last time I saw hoops that big, they were on fire and a mascot was jumping through them.

:13 -- Maddie vs. Christian in celebrity deathmatch? Tough call. I'll put my money on Caddy Chris.

:14 – Commercial. Time to rewind and see that pic of Christian from high school.

:15 -- He looks like a gang member from “The Warriors” and a character from any John Landis 1980s movie had a kid.

:19 – Here comes Tim Gunn!

:21 -- Sweet P is the voice of reason. Thanks for not dressing your girl like a little hoochie mama.

:22 – Uh oh, is this Comeuppance Day for Christian?

:23 – Hey, how come Ricky hasn’t cried yet?

:24 – Tim to Rami: “Can I just make one comment? She’s going to look like she’s wearing her mother’s dress!” Wow. And there we have this week’s Tim Gunn highlight. It doesn’t matter what happens after this. Tim Gunn won’t top that verbal groin kick.

:26 -- Anyone have Tim Gunn’s cell phone number? I’m going to need a pick-me-up one of these days and he’s the best motivator since Herm Edwards.

:32 -- "When I had a girlfriend, I actually made her prom dress," Ricky said. "That should have a clue right there, right?" Great line, Ricky. Sorry about that crying comment nine minutes ago.

:36 – Pre-runway predictions: Sweet P will win, Christian stays. The show editor would be fired otherwise for making it way too obvious. You can't fool me, Mr. Red Herring.

:41 – I spoke 29 minutes too soon on Kit. Those hoopties are the biggest ones I’ve ever seen, and I grew up in the '80s.

:42 - Victorya’s dress is whack.

:42 - Chris' design is pretty good.

:43 - OK, maybe Siriano will lose.

:44 - Good thing for Rami he’s got immunity this week.

:46 -- Nina is not crazy about the red on Kevin’s dress? Uh, unless my TV screen is all whacked out, isn’t Nina wearing red?

:47 – This is why I’ll never be a guest judge on Project Runway: they all seem to love Victorya’s dress.

:48 – Christian sells out his model. Good for him.

:49 – Kors to Rami: “When I look at that dress, she’s a 35-year-old woman in New York going out to dinner.” Great line. Looks like our boy Tim Gunn was right 25 minutes ago.

:52 - Here comes the over-production music and sound effects. That must mean the commercial break is approaching and it’s time to decide who gets whacked. I’ll guess Kevin.

:58 – Victorya wins. Sweet P gets hosed!

:59 – Sweet mother of mercy! Guess whose DVR just cut out before Heidi could torment Kevin and Christian a bit more and then whack one of them!

:59.10 – For the love of Pete!

:59.20 – Damn you, Cablevision satellite clocks! Fire Isiah!

:59.30 – I hate technology!

:59.45 – Deep breaths, go find out online who won.

1:00 – Kevin gets whacked. Glad I was right about one thing tonight. Too bad I missed the actual reaction. I hope he didn't raise a ruckus.

- Mark La Monica

Photo from BravoTV.com

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

You love Michael Kors

This week's poll results are in. And Michael Kors won a commanding victory for your favorite judge on "Project Runway."

Poor Nina Garcia. She came in fourth, one spot behind "whoever the guest judge is." Ouch. She's harsh but fair in her comments. And funny, too. And she lost to the wild card.

The final tally

42% Michael Kors
29% Heidi Klum
15% Whoever the guest judge is
12% Nina Garcia

As a special bonus, here's a look at Kors' Spring 2008 collection from Fashion Week, thanks to Newsday's own Annie Mac.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Elisa Jimenez interviews

The good people of Blogging Project Runway scored a solid interview with Elisa Jimenez.

Give it a read. She's crazy, but worthy of 12 minutes of your time.

There are quite a few other Elisa interviews circulating. Take your pick:

Entertainment Weekly
Buddy TV

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Jillian Lewis dishes about 'Project Runway'

After last night's dandy candy episode that fleetingly took Jillian Lewis to a new low point, the Project Runway star from Selden takes a breather and checks in with Newsday’s style reporter Anne Bratskeir for a second exclusive Q&A session.

AB: OK, so tell the truth, will you ever eat red Twizzlers again?
JL: Well, after that crazy mess, I swore off of Twizzlers, but now I’m over it. It was crazy. During the deliberations the lights were very hot and they were melting so although it smelled sweet, it was also really nauseating.

AB: Did you think that you were a goner on the show last night?
JL: At most points I thought that was it for me. I loved the design but it just really kicked my butt. I’m not the type of person who edits my ideas based on the time given, but how can you be sent to a candy store and not use the candy? I was very worried. I hardly ever curse, really rarely, but when I heard the bleeping I knew I must have been really bad.

AB: When Tim Gunn said there were only two hours left including hair and makeup, were you in freak mode?
JL: I think when my model sat down and helped me with stitching; her presence was distracting from the horror. During nighttime, when I only had half of the bodice done, that was scary.

AB: You hit the depths and then we were thinking you almost won. Did you feel that too?
JL: I have honest eyes. I thought Rami was really innovative and there’s enough room for many people to be great, I was actually rooting for him.

AB: In your experience with him, has Christian ever been more annoying than in last night’s episode?
JL: Oh God, I know. He didn’t come around me or Rami to critique us. He knows better. Why he thought it was appropriate to walk around giving his opinion to everyone, well, everybody knows he’s a little immature.

AB: Kevin seemed ticked off at him. Do you think that Kevin might actually throttle Christian?
JL: No, they’re friends. Kevin was just being cute and sarcastic when he said he’d take him off. If I were Kevin I might have knocked him out. Fortunately for him, he didn’t come my way.

AB: Does it make you smile to think that Rami kinda, sort of considers you his muse, and don’t you think he has the world’s best dimples?
JL: He is so adorable, I loved his aesthetic. It’s ironic that it looks like he was designing for me, but before we ever met, we had a similar aesthetic that crosses over in some areas of styling. I don’t know if I loved (the dress) because I wish that I designed it, or I loved it because I want to wear it.

AB: Have you evolved on the show?
JL: In the last episode, I can sense I’m getting more comfortable. I’m not hiding or shy. In a lot of cases I was trying to stay out of the spotlight. That’s changing.

AB: So, as of now, are you feeling the win?
JL: I feel like I’m getting somewhere, but I never feel that I have an automatic on the top. I’m not taking anything for granted. I’ve done well and am getting a great response.

AB: You seemed to well up when Elisa got the boot. Were you sad about it?
JL: I liked her presence, though sometimes she talks too much. She’s a really genuine person, and she does have positive energy, which is real, not like an act. I was touched how she felt so appreciated about the bonds we all share. I did not like her dress and the overall darkness. As Christian would say, “It was a hot mess.”

AB: Speaking of people leaving the show, how’s Jack? (For those who don’t remember Jack, who is HIV positive, left the show for health reasons.)
JL: We all keep in touch. He’s fine. He recovered really quickly. He’s the go-to person. If there were a captain of Project Runway, he’d be it.

AB: You really seem to like vivid colors. Do you have a favorite?
JL: I’ve always loved red. That never changes, but I’ll wear any color. Though in the winter, I tend to wear darker colors. I really loved that sweet, happy combination that Rami just did of fuchsia and red.

AB: Well, this is about fashion, so, what are you wearing right now?
JL: I’m wearing cashmere stirrups, and a bra because I was just trying something on before you called. I’ll be putting a white button down shirt back on after this interview is over.

Photos courtesy of Bravotv.com

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Project Runway Episode 6: Candy Land

Twizzlers and Kit Kats and Reeses…oh my. It was all about the sweet stuff on this week’s show as the designers were herded off on a field trip to candy emporium, Hershey’s Time Square, and in five short minutes had to pull the material for their own runway confection.

Rami took top honors, and guest judge Zac Posen, who often produces the most whimsical designs for his own runway, loved the designer’s darling, little dress of pleated wrappers with mod vinyl bodice. It was creative and charming, and his ultra-lean redheaded model wore it well. We were blown away by Jillian’s ensemble. She was the only contestant to actually use edible material (that would be red Twizzlers) – a corset completely sculpted of them and a skirt with playful Twizzler fringe. To note: that woman can kvetch, as she did until the end, worrying that her design, literally, wouldn’t stick.

There were actually a lot of yummy looks this time around. Chris’ sexy strapless Hershey sheath was to-die-for; Ricky did an adorable silvery York Peppermint Patty balloon skirt and Christian’s ruffled Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup wrapper dress was a gas.

The judges booted earthy Elisa who envisioned a modern, edgy take on Gretel (as in Hansel and Gretel) and it was sort of hip though she blew it with separate silver Jiffy Pop-like sleeves that Michael Kors said looked like shower caps. Her exit was gracious, sweet and natch, a little unconventional. Frankly, we’re sad to see her go. Worse, by a long shot was Victorya’s “Little House on the Prairie” ruffled job of York paper. Her model did this stiff, little shuffle down the runway with her arms extended…completely bizarre. Victorya said she was going for an ice princess effect, but the dress needed to go into deep freeze. The judges got it wrong.

Off the charts: Christian’s annoying factor. Finishing his dress early, he used the time to buzz about the sewing room zinging insults. What a pest! Kevin, whose bolero-topped number was fab, desperately wants to kick his derriere and made no bones about it.

The “He could care less moment?” Kit bumming because Tim Gunn saw her in her pajamas…without a bra.

– Anne Bratskeir

Your Bryant Park predictions match mine!

Dear Lord, that's scary.

Either I know what the heck I'm talking about with this fashion stuff (Hint: I don't), or it so blatantly obvious to the entire world.

Either way, you agreed with my predictions of Rami Kashou, Jillian Lewis and Christian Siriano making it to Bryant Park for Fashion Week.

Here's a look at the overall poll results (readers were allowed to pick three designers):

75% Rami Kashou
61% Jillian Lewis
39% Christian Siriano
32% Kevin Christiana
23% Victorya Hong
21% Kit Pistol
8% Elisa Jimenez
5% Sweet P
3% Chris March
2% Ricky Lizalde

- Mark La Monica