Thursday, February 28, 2008

Jillian Lewis: 'I will create a fashion empire'

One more week and we will know: Is she in or is she out? We checked in with Selden native Jillian Lewis to find out her latest thoughts on Project Runway and even find out – sort of – what she’s wearing to the finale party.

AB: You really looked radiant on last night’s episode, did you feel good?
JL: I felt really good. It was the sunniest New York day, the East River was blue and I felt good about everything. I was back to being healthy because the regular part of the series was so stressful it took the humanity out of us. I had gained all the weight back (she lost 8 pounds) and it was shot around Christmas time.

AB: So you brought Tim Gunn to Long Island. Did you drive together? And how long did it take?
JL: We drove to Long Island in a Saturn, there was traffic and it took an hour and a half. Normally it takes about an hour but it was rush hour and there was a lot of traffic.

AB: Well, that’s nothing new. Was Tim antsy?
JL: Tim was totally cool about it. He’s so nice and low maintenance.

AB: Tim seemed really comfortable with your family, what did they think of him?
JL: Oh my god, they were so excited. Everybody was definitely star-struck. They wanted to brag about Tim Gunn coming to my house. My father is so shy that we didn’t even put a mike on him, but he was talking to Tim. He wore his “My Daughter’s On Project Runway,” hat. My mother had it embroidered for him and he wears it all around town.

AB: How was Tim?
JL: He was so sweet. He really liked everybody. He’s just an easy person. When I meet person I forget their names. But he would call people by name and not have to ask anybody’s name twice. He just has such great manners and is so lovely.

AB: So are you, as your mother’s psychic predicted, the famous child?
JL: I don’t know. I wonder is this fame, or is this being lucky enough to be on a show that documents my talents. This is just the beginning of my life, I can’t get comfortable with this fame stuff, the autographs, and it feels fake still and doesn’t seem real. There are benefits. My friend was able to get reservations using my name. I just feel it’s not really it yet. Maybe I know it’s reality TV --people come and go. I’m not insulting the experience. Now my life is completely changed and so different, and I’m getting really nice feedback. Before I walked around anonymously and now people know who I am.

AB: I actually almost felt you said this for Newsday, the thing about all great American designers coming from Long Island…Michael Kors and Donna Karan and Jillian Lewis. Do you think you’ll end up there?
JL: I know I will. I’m not trying to be conceited, but I know I’m going to make it happen. I’m a very determined person and when I want something, I’ll get it. I will create a fashion empire.

AB: I want your true reaction to Chris’ human hair fringe.
JL: I didn’t feel comfortable with what Chris was showing. I just think it’s not nice to put hair on a woman’s body. It was like saying that she’s an animal, she’s not evolving she’s devolving. I was reading it was hair growing out of the back of her body. Though I though some of his other work was really nice.

AB: Rami seemed really panicked pre-runway presentation. Where you all there for him as a support system and do you think you helped him get through it?
JL: That was the edit. He wasn’t at all panicked. There was plenty of time, more than enough time. He needed it to be perfect. We’re the brother and sister act, we worked together a number of times and I wanted him to be in the final three.

AB: What is the most important thing you’re taking away from this experience?
JL: The exposure and the feedback, that was for me the main focus of the experience. The best compliment I could have received is, ‘I want to wear what you make.’ As a designer, it all comes down to dressing people. I’ve gotten the momentum and a collection people will recognize.

AB: Have the stores been in to see the Jillian Lewis, Inc. fall collection yet?
JL: All the buyers are in Europe right now. I’ll probably show it the second week in March. It’s a little late but I felt like it was missing something and I really filled in with passionate pieces.

AB: OK, well, our Newsday gang is coming to your finale party and we’re really looking forward to it. So what are you wearing?
JL: Every time I have an event to go to I have to make something so I’m still deciding. I was going to make the pleated pants, but my boyfriend told me they made my hips look big which I appreciate. So what I’m thinking right now is very wide legged pants and an off the shoulder tissuey blouse. We’ll see.

- Anne Bratskeir

13 comments:

Shawn Fassett said...

ugh. she leaves me with ugly feelings. the sense of entitlement is disgusting. the clothes she makes are sometimes wearable, but most need fitting and alterations. her own personal style is nuts.

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