Thursday, October 16, 2008

Michael Kors Meets Us In Manhasset

His Highness, Michael Kors, turned up in Manhasset tonight at the opening of the newly expanded Michael Kors store -- (beyond gorgeous, the store that is, and Michael looked pretty darn good too) -- located at the Americana shopping center there. It must have been fated - we spent some one-on-one time with the designer-cum-Project Runway judge right on the heels of the finale episode.

We had to ask. How's the new season going? "The commute could kill you," he said laughing and referring to the fact that the show is being filmed in LA. He says the shooting progresses despite contract disputes between the show, Lifetime and Bravo, and he's actually wowed by the new scene. "Oh my God, we have dressing rooms," Kors said. "And there are flowers, and bottled water." Compared to the no-frills aura of Parsons School of Design, which Kors has spent many hours around and in, well, let's just hope it hasn't all gone too, too Hollywood. There is something to fashion and our gritty NY city. Are you ever coming back Michael? "Well, of course we'll be back for New York Fashion Week," he said.

In the meantime, you'll all just have to get your dose of him at the store. Trust us. It's going to cost you. -
Anne Bratskeir

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

5/ The Finale

It is “sew over.” Now we all know that sweet, gangly, self-admitted nerd, Leanne took the win. Did she deserve it? We honestly think so.

For the first time, the women dominated, and, you know what? Their collections were darn good. Kenley didn’t win in part, because she was, to put it nicely, imitative. To put it not so nicely, she was a copycat. And to be mean, there was an element of knock-off artist with at least two of her dresses identifiable as other – famous – designers’ looks. Add to that the attitude factor. When Tim Gunn became the fill-in judge for Jennifer Lopez who had “a foot injury,” (uh, yeah, that’s why our spies told us they saw her wearing five inch high heels later that day) she said, “Okay, maybe I should have improved my attitude.” That said, her collection featured sublime fit and much whimsy.

As for Korto, her collection was stunning, though one of the criticisms was that it was overboard with decoration. We didn’t see that. But perhaps the judges believed that brainy Leanne, who approached each garment with an architect’s eye and had such a unique vision, was the most talented and promising of the bunch.

If you read the last entry, you know we had a little chitchat with Leanne this afternoon. The girl was positively overjoyed. But when we asked her who the meanest judge was, she did not hesitate for a second. “Nina was the toughest critic by far. But you know when you impress Nina, you’ve done something really good.”

As for the show tonight, here’s a rundown of highlights:
-Korto’s gutsy move making two new dresses before the big gig
-Kenley getting Tim visibly mad – ouch.
-Kenley and Leanne throwing barbs at each other on camera. Kenley, “Leanne does not know how to use color.” Leanne, “Kenley’s collection looks like Holly Hobby. It’s so amateurish.”
-In the why- must- we- witness this category, Sophie the dog, relieving herself near Leanne’s gown, and the model who was wearing it cleaning it up. Uuchh.
Sorry, to leave you on that note. Let’s all join figurative hands and make a little fashion wish together…here’s hoping next season (whenever it comes) is as good as Bravo’s five seasons of Project Runway. See you soon. - Anne Bratskeir

Leanne Marshall wins Project Runway

REVENGE OF THE NERD: Leanne Marshall Wins Project Runway
By Anne Bratskeir

It all came down to girl power in Project Runway’s Season Five finale.

And of the last three female designers standing, Leanne Marshall, 28, of
Portland, Ore., who was the show’s definitive shrinking violet, proved that
beneath the nerdy glasses and the goofy demeanor, her talent loomed largest. She
was the mouse that roared.

"I am a fashion nerd," said a very happy Marshall in a phone interview Wednesday. "I just love to have fun, and I’m not afraid of kind of being a dork.”

As for the whole Project Runway shebang, she said, “Without a doubt it’s been the most amazing experience. I would
do it again in a heartbeat.”

Armed with $8,000 for materials and the directive to incorporate a wedding dress into a 12-piece final collection, Marshall’s vision played like a dream sequence on the runway at Bryant Park’s Fashion Week in September. Inspired by rippling water, her two-color palette was soft aqua and cream with a distinct architectural feel including details such as fan-like pleats.

Neither a favorite nor a dark horse, Marshall was a solid contender, who, during the season’s 14 episodes won two challenges -- one using seat covers from a Saturn
car, and another for creating a look for Diane von Furstenberg’s fall collection.

During the finale, the judges took Marshall to task for being "borderline on a one-note," she said. "But I knew I needed my collection to fit together."

Though her two co-finalists, Korto Momolu, 33, of Little Rock, Ark., and Kenley Collins, 25, of Pompano Beach, Fla., exhibited much stronger personalities throughout the season (in fact, Collins was the show’s prerequisite villainess), their collections fell short of Marshall’s, both lacking the cohesiveness and technical skill. As for that evidently hostile relationship with Collins, Marshall said, “We started off as friends but the competition became kind of cutthroat. All Kenley’s relationships kind of deteriorated. There’s a level of respect that she didn’t really have all the time. But
I don’t hate her. I wish her the best.”

Marshall’s Project Runway booty includes $100,000 seed money from Tresemme to start a clothing business and she is doing just that. She’ll soon be
moving to New York to start her new label, “Leanne Marshall.” Musician boyfriend Nathan McKee, who composed her runway music at the finale, is coming
along. “I guess I’m going to have to buy a lot of fabric with it,” she said. She also wins a 2009 Saturn VUE hybrid, a spread in Elle Magazine and a chance
to sell her fashion line on

As for season six? The hit show will go on but will not be aired on Bravo. Instead it moves to a new location, Los Angeles, and a new network, Lifetime -- depending on the lawsuits still at play with the Weinstein company and the two networks. It was originally scheduled to premiere in November but may be pushed back to January.

We’re kind of wondering if without the New York backdrop and Parsons School of Design . . .well, will it be in or out?

Week 13 poll results

Hooray, you finally agreed with the judges. After a consistent disagreement all season between the judges' aufings and our readers' aufings, both sides are in synch.

40% - Jerell (270 votes)
33% - Kenley (222)
21% - Korto (143)
3% - Leanne (25)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tim Gunn

We weren't the only one thinking Tim Gunn was a prime candidate for prez. Reader Molly's boyfriend Duncan did this rendering and we love it.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

5/13 Tim Gunn For President

First off, just when we thought that Bravo had totally turned their backs on the show – the new season already being filmed in L.A. for Lifetime – well, they pull out one of the best episodes of the season. Bravo, Bravo.

The four finalists, Jerell, Kenley, Korto and Leanne, are sent home with an $8,000 budget and two months time to create their own collections, which, Heidi dictates, must include a wedding gown that represents them as a designer. Tim Gunn visits each one, and quite frankly, is more charming, more diplomatic, more helpful and more informed on his issues than any candidate for president we’ve seen buzzing around lately. At Korto’s home in Arkansas, he sweetly engages her shy daughter and seems enchanted by Korto’s African drumming. In Portland, he warns Leanne that her wedding dress might miss, and then, despite his formal demeanor, rides a bicycle built for two with her, and (heavens) sits on the grass. With Jerell, he counsels that the overwrought collection has a “lot of look,” and then mingles easily with Jerell’s friends and family who are obviously nervous. His greatest feat may have occurred in Brooklyn, where he meets with Kenley, who has been incredibly rude to him. Here, he leaves it all behind, encouraging and praising her. And then, before the going gets really tough, he sheds tears – he’s embarrassed but tells them all, “I care deeply about each of you.” And you believe him. This is an extraordinarily graceful and gracious person. He’d be an asset in the White House.

Okay, so back to the show. The kids think they’re home free but alas, there’s one more challenge… make a bridesmaid’s dress to go with the wedding dress. Leanne, who totally redid her collection’s wedding dress, aces it with a pale turquoise and cream short strapless number that repeats her wave motif at the top. The judges are swooning. Kenley, too, does a fabulous job. Her navy blue poufy mini dress is the perfect combo with her “crazy good,” as Heidi puts it, feathered wedding dress. Jerell’s stuff – scary – we told you once before – too tricked out, including some styling errors such as “a flower pot growing out of her head,” says Michael Kors. We didn’t much like Korto’s gown either – over-pleated and kind of bulbous or her bridesmaid’s dress…Banana Republic sale rack.

Allow us, for one brief moment, to gloat…we called it…Jerell goes, the women dominate. And now, we’ll go out on a limb. We think it comes down to Leanne and Kenley, and we think that Leanne will take it all. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Readers choose Leanne

Waaaaaaay back on Sept. 12, we posted videos off the six remaining designers' collection at Fashion Week in Bryant Park and asked you to choose the winner.

Granted, three of those shows were decoys to keep the integrity of the competition alive (even though the Bravo people refuse to consult a calendar when deciding when to air each season). But alas, it gave you more to look at.

Here are the results of that poll:

57% Leanne Marshall (1,843 votes)
30% Korto Momolu (989)
6% Kenley Collins (197)
4% Jerell Scott (131)
1& Joe Faris (36)
0% Suede (19)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


Yay. Boo. Once again Project Runway judges, who tonight included Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman -- her dramatic evening gowns virtually rule the red carpet these days -- could not make a decision. It’s déjà vu all over again – remember last season when they couldn’t auf Chris March?

So here it is Runway followers: Jerell, Leanne, Korto and Kenley will all make final collections (we know this because we’ve already shown them to you), but one of them will be out before the show at New York Fashion Week. We always feel sad when someone goes…but you gotta make a choice and that should have been tonight.

This show did nothing to enhance our opinions of any of the designers. As Michael Kors noted, “I don’t think this was their best moment.” The challenge was to create an evening gown inspired by flowers at the New York Botanical Garden. They had a budget of $250 and two days to work their magic. And honestly, if this had been last year’s crew, Rami, Jillian, Christian and even Chris, it would have been a total wow. But instead it was mediocre at best.

Jerell won the challenge with an empire gown of plums and purples that was badly constructed though somewhat interesting. Trust us, anybody with more than A-cup would have had to figure out another way to harness the girls. Leanne came in second with a lavender and blue job that had a pleated embellishment. The judges thought was soft and pretty but again, not well made (as in what the heck was the blue dust cloth aka bustle hanging off the model’s rear?) Korto’s gold and lace number seemed inspired at the start but turned out to be what Kors called a pageant dress, not even good. Kenley, who refused to take any mentoring from Tim Gunn, created an old-fashioned siren dress of snakeskin fabric with leaves hanging off the bottom…the Muppets meets creepy.

The underlying theme of the night? Hate-fest. Leanne, Korto and Jerell ganged up on Kenley, whose nasal whine, annoying cackle and inappropriate defensiveness almost, but not quite, made her deserving of their abuse. She’s an easy target, and we would hope that since they’ve all fought their own life battles (they all cried at one time or another), maybe they could have shown a little restraint in the meanness department. That said, she is hard to like. She behaved so horribly on the runway that Heidi chastised her, and Michael wondered allowed, “Imagine if a buyer says, ‘I don’t like that sleeve. What will she do? Take out a knife and kill them?” In the end, Kenley broke down too and you had to feel a little bit sorry for her, like when all the finalists had a group hug with Tim…except her. She sat in a chair by herself and watched them. Fashion can be pretty ugly. – Anne Bratskeir