Monday, March 10, 2008

It Ain't Over....

Just when we thought that Project Runway was done for the season -- finis, kaput -- we find out that there was one last Bravo on-line challenge, called “Sew Not Over,” where fans browsed through 12 of the 15 designer collections (Victorya, Sweet P and Simone sat it out) and chose their fave. And guess who won it? None other than Jillian Lewis, our own girl from Selden, who not only received the popular vote, but got a cool $10,000 as well. We caught up with Jillian who said that though not winning the whole shebang hurt, this “feels really great. And the $10,000 is pretty nice too.” Uh, yeah. – Anne Bratskeir

Thursday, March 6, 2008

VIDEO: Christian Siriano wins 'Project Runway'

What's the first thing Christian said he'd buy with his $100,000 prize for winning 'Project Runway?' If you watched the episode where Tim Gunn visits the finalists homes, you'll realize why he naturally said -- a bed!

Watch video from the screening party and hear Christian's first thoughts after taking the top prize.

VIDEO: Scenes for the 'Project Runway' finale party

We got early access to the 'Project Runway' designers for a little Q&A before the finale screening. Watch the video below:

Q & A With Christian Siriano, The Big Winner

Newsday gets some private time with the Project Runway winner.

AB: You’re always so confident and cocky but in that last episode, you seemed kind of nervous. Were you?
CS: I was nervous. I worked so hard, and once I saw Rami and Jillian’s work, well, I got kind of scared. Their work was so good.

AB: Did you have an inkling that you were going to win?
CS: Maybe the last few minutes. I really didn’t get any criticism, and then there was what Victoria Beckham said (she loved it), and I was thinking, am I going to win?

AB: What did winning mean to you?
CS: If I didn’t win, what would I do? I have no money, no job, zero. I didn’t plan for not winning. I needed it more than I wanted it.

AB: Did you have doubts about your collection?
CS: I was so exhausted and tired and I had many problems backstage. I wasn’t as confident as I am normally, and I started to worry that the clothes were too outlandish.

AB: So when Heidi said your name on that final runway….
CS: When she said Christian, I just felt it, and knew it at that moment. And when she said I won, I really thought about Rami. It was weird. I didn’t want to be crazy like and rub it in his face. He worked so hard. Normally, I’m sassy and I’m a diva. I wish there was a second place.

AB: What’s next for you?
CS: Well I am going to take a vacay. I’m going to LA this next weekend, and I’m going to have some fun and enjoy the weather. I want to go to Africa and South Africa to get some inspiration. I’ve traveled all through Europe, but I’ve never been there. And I’m going to show in the tents at Bryant Park next season. There will be more wearable simple things, but it’s going to be crazy too, so many couture gowns.

AB: Um, are you sick of using the word fierce yet, and do people say it to you?
CS: It’s crazy. People everywhere say it to me. I really don’t say it that much when I’m just talking.

AB: You were a big personality on the show, and some people thought you were a little annoying. What do you have to say on that?
CS: The thing is, that no offense, a lot of the other designers were so serious. They didn’t show a lot of personality and I’m sassy and fun. When I was making comments, I wasn’t being nasty but funny and cute. And what they didn’t show is that I helped a lot of the other designers with their work.

AB: Do you think you were in good company with the final three?
CS: Of course, I respect the other designers but by day two, I said it was me, Rami and Jillian, and then at the museum challenge they asked us who should go to fashion week and I said them. I thought their final collections were amazing. His had so much cohesion. Hers was technically flawless.

AB: And yours?
CS: I was out to win, so every look was a look.

AB: Off the subject, one last thing. Our friend Jillian told me that you and she had quite a laugh over Chris March’ use of human hair on his garments. True?
CS: Oh my God, I called his collection ‘Tranny Velvet Nation.’ Jillian pretended to call the Animal Rights league about the collection. We had the best time and laughed so hard that we nearly peed on the floor. – Anne Bratskeir

Q & A With Tim Gunn


Newsday got some one-on-one time with Tim Gunn, Project Runway mother hen and mentor. Here he lets us in on some inside info from behind the scenes.

AB: So Tim, what were your thoughts going into the finals?
TG: I will tell you, I had some concerns about Rami having to do with textile choices and color choices. I loved the silhouettes and proportions but I felt the textiles and colors were limiting and a little dour and that translates as old.

AB: Did you have a heads up on what the judges are thinking in terms of the winner?
TG: I never knew where the judges would fall out this season. For all the designers, I felt the point off view was so strong and the level of work so impeccable. I was not concerned about Jillian. I thought she could win. I thought Christian and Jillian were neck and neck and I was pretty sure about it.

AB: So it wasn’t like Christian was a shoe-in for you?
TG: Oh, no. Did you know at first I didn’t even want him on? I turned to the producers and said, ‘Why are we seeing this kid?’” But they saw something in him. And then I swooned after looking at his work.

AB: Everybody knows the Tim Gunn lines, but we noticed you started using another word on the show. Do you know what we’re talking about?
TG: Ha, fierce. I only use it with him. And more frequently I’m asking him a question, ‘How fierce is it?’

AB: Do you think Victoria Beckham being guest judge had something to do with the final outcome?
TG: Victoria Beckham tipped the scale. Christian’s sensibilities were hers. She said, ‘I would wear anyone of those looks.’ I find that extremely limiting and not useful.

AB: Was Christian as annoying as he seemed?
TG: He’s polarizing. People love him but some people can’t abide him. I alternated between wanting to give him a big hug and a big smack.

AB: When you saw Chris March’ final collection with the human hair, you said you had to stifle your gag reflex.
TG: I still get it when I think about that collection. I couldn’t fathom it. I told him, ‘this is just such a distraction. Why would you do this to potentially derail yourself? Deep down in his core, he’s a costume designer.

AB: So, do you still think our Long Island girl Jillian is going to go far?
TG: I think she has an incredibly bright future ahead of herself. Do I think she has some maturing to do? Of course, but I have the most unbridled confidence in her.

-- Anne Bratskeir

Q & A With Nina Garcia

Some call her Meana Garcia because they think she’s such a tough judge on Project Runway, but not us. We think Elle Magazine’s Nina Garcia is a cross between sugar and spice with the added benny of being a major fashion plate – she is such a glamster. So we simply call her “The Nina,” for being the fashion force and fair-minded judge that she is on Runway. Here’s what really went down in the final judgment.

AB: So Nina, was choosing Christian as the winner difficult for the judges?
NG: No, it was clear. I don’t know if that’s politically correct to say, but it really boiled down to Rami and Christian and we think that Christian had a stronger collection in the end.

AB: Did Victoria Beckham weigh heavy in your decision and help Christian?
NG: At that point, he didn’t know Victoria was going to be a judge. Would she be able to wear those clothes? Yes. She felt strongly that he was a good winner.

AB: You sort have had a love-hate with Rami. What’s up?
NG: He’s an amazing designer. I do like his clothes very much. I appreciate that he is very sophisticated. But I’ve struggled all through the season with Rami giving me something else, more than a draped dress, which, he was able to deliver.

AB: So you do like his work?
NG: I would die to wear that polka dot dress in his final collection. If I saw it hanging on a rack in a store I would buy it. I would love to wear it and shoot it. He’s very sophisticated and won’t have a problem having a good clientele.

AB: What do you think of Jillian’s talent?
NG: She’s a great designer. Jillian is extremely professional, meticulous, fantastic. She needs to find her voice and once she does it will be amazing.

AB: Some people said that Christian was a little annoying. Did you ever get to see him that way?
NG: We don’t get to enjoy them on such a personal basis but from seeing him and the interaction with the other cast members, he’s just adorable, and a little bit of a rebel. Christian showed fearlessness. He has a lot of ideas and he’s got that creative energy. At Crhistian’s age, that’s very important. When you’re that sure of yourself, you need that kind of energy and talent.

– Anne Bratskeir

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Christian Siriano wins Project Runway

He’d be the first to tell you that he’s “sew faaabulous.” And the Project Runway judges agree. Pint-sized Christian Siriano, 22, of Annapolis, Md., and Bird of Paradise hairdo fame, who is equal parts peacock, personality and talent, won the Bravo TV hit show, beating Rami Kashou and our hometown gal Jillian Lewis.

“If I didn’t win, what would I do?” Christian said.

More importantl, what would we do if "fierce" didn't return to our vocabulary. Siriano turned the word into a household adjective.

“I didn’t plan for that. I have no money, no job, and I needed it more than I wanted it.”

Christian, the youngest winner in the show's four seasons, put out a stunning final collection presented during Fashion Week at Bryant Park in February. Signature stylings included piles of ruffles, sculptured jackets, and the piece de resistance . . . a dress of feathers.

“I was out to win, so every look was a look,” said Siriano emphatically. He plans on showing his own label, Christian V. Siriano, during Fashion Week at Bryant Park next season.

Judges Michael Kors and Nina Garcia, were joined by guest judge Victoria Beckham, aka Posh Spice, who thought Siriano’s collection was best. “It made me smile, and it takes a lot to make me smile,” the famously stone-faced Beckham told Siriano.

It was Beckham who “tipped the scale,” in Christian’s favor, according to design mentor Tim Gunn. “I thought Christian and Jillian were neck and neck. Then Victoria said, ‘That collection is me.’”

Even if preaching to the choir helped him win it, Gunn says the kid’s got talent. “He’s the only fashion prodigy I’ve ever encountered.”

Garcia, Elle Magazine’s fashion director, said, “The choice was clear. Christian’s fierce and fearless. He’s got that creative energy and that’s very important especially at his age.”

Christians scores $100,000 seed money, a 2008 Saturn Astra (red -- he deemed it “fierce,”), a spread in Elle Magazine and a chance to sell his line on

Jillian, who seemed slightly shell-shocked when she was “aufed” first by show host Heidi Klum, said, “I just felt really bad for my boyfriend and my family who were really hoping and praying for so long.” But she adds that the experience “launched my career and allowed people to be aware that I’m a designer with talent and vision.”

At the end, as Kashou and Siriano waited for final judgment, tears welled up in Siriano’s eyes and his lip trembled. But his trademark bravado shortly returned. Upon exiting the runway a winner, he imperiously waved a hand at Posh Spice and said, simply, “We’ll be in touch.”

- Anne Bratskeir

Watch their Fashion Week collections
Christian Siriano
Rami Kashou
Jillian Lewis

The final poll results

Just a few hours away from the airing of the Season 4 finale and we can feel your excitement.

As does Jillian, who won our final reader poll of Season 4. Here are the final results:

53% Jillian Lewis (374 total votes)
39% Christian Siriano 272
6% Rami Kashou (48)

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Regis, Kelly and . . . ?

Whoever is revealed as the winner of Season 4 of "Project Runway" on Wednesday night gets a ton of swag, no doubt.

And they also get to sit next to Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa on Thursday morning's "Live with Regis and Kelly" on ABC at 9 a.m. EDT.

Set your DVRs and TiVos, people. As much as we're rooting for our local gal Jillian to win it, we can't exactly hide the fact that it would be absolutely hilarious to see if Christian calls Regis a "hot tranny mess" on morning TV.

- Mark La Monica

The marathon will be televised

For those of you with room on your DVRs and TiVOs or for those of you considering taking a sick day or personal day on Wednesday, the "Project Runway" marathon begins at 9 a.m.

Happy viewing.