Posts Tagged ‘Project Runway’


I wear my mask. What does yours look like?

People need to wear masks; they need to social distance. They need to be rigorous and responsible about this. This is not something to be taken casually or lightly … You could kill people or you could be killed yourself. 

Tim Gunn, fashion icon and host of Project Runway and Making the Cut. Gunn was recently on the radio interview show, Fresh Air with Terry Gross.

Everyone’s favorite fashion icon, Gunn shared what he’s been wearing while sheltering-in-place: sometimes pajama bottoms with a plain white t-shirt and a navy blue robe, but he says he would never step outside his NYC front door in such a casual ensemble. When he goes out to the corner store he wears a turtleneck sweater and dark wash jeans. For Zoom meetings he dons a sport coat and tie.

Gross asked if he wore a fashionable mask and he explained that he didn’t want to bother with having to consider colors or pattern. A plain medical mask goes with everything.

Good point, although, I have to admit that if I were a fashion designer I’d be working on a line of matching mask and skirt/dress/pants/jacket.

Yep, I’d be all over that! Because Covid-19 isn’t going away anytime soon and therefore, neither are masks.



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J.C. Penny, which has suffered more than most in the current bad retail climate is hooking up with Project Runway. Smart move! I wonder if their stock went up after the announcement.

Despite the unforgettably lousy Season 14 the Project Runway brand still holds some cachet, from which J.C. Penney hopes to benefit. The new season starts August 17th but looks from last season are available in Penney’s now.  The store will sponsor two challenges and make the winners’ designs available exclusively and immediately in select doors and online. Plus there will be a Project Runway clothing line available year round. The hope is that this will revamp the women’s contemporary clothing department and show that the retail store can handle Fast Fashion (like we need more of that).

As with other past collaborations, in the show there will be the J.C. Penney Accessories Wall used by the designers to style their models for the runway shows.

Just FYI – included in the designer lineup for Season 16 are two locals – from San Francisco and Oakland.

I actually prefer PR Junior (more talent, less attitude) but I’m giving the original another chance. Looking forward to it!

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Make your own Mega-Hoodie designed by Emily Payne. Photo courtesy of The Sewing Room.

Make your own Mega-Hoodie designed by Emily Payne. Photo courtesy of The Sewing Room.

One of the many things I enjoy about attending Gatsby Summer Afternoon is all the creative and interesting people I meet. This year I crossed paths with Jennifer Serr when she and I stood next to each other on the dance floor waiting to parade for the costume contest. (Later we commiserated that neither of us made the first cut. Ha!)

But no matter, my prize was chatting with Jennifer who with her mother set up a charming picnic table for two. Turns out that Jennifer is an accomplished seamstress and proprietor of The Sewing Room in Alameda.

The Sewing Room offers sewing classes, camps, and workshops, particularly for kids, but for anyone new to sewing. Interested students can learn it all from how to use a machine to hand sewing to alterations to how to work with a pattern and much more.

There are also special workshops and one coming up on October 18, 2015 is The Mega-Hoodie Drape with Emily Payne, Project Runway Season 13 contestant. Students will drape and sew (time allowing) the best-selling Mega-Hoodie with fabric provided by Britex and with the guidance of Ms. Payne.

Jennifer says of the workshop, “Emily simplifies the process of fashion draping, allowing the student to access a system more often limited to those in the fashion industry. She is a gifted instructor and designer and is very excited to work with new students!”

What an opportunity to meet and work with Emily Payne and Jennifer Serr. The Sewing Room, 2434 Webb Ave, Alameda. October 18th, 2015, 1-4. Fee is $125 and includes fabric from Britex. Click here for more information.

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I feel people who don’t know anything about high fashion like Lindsey … she really does look like an old dusty librarian. 

This is a comment made by contestant Blake Patterson on last week’s episode of Project Runway.

What Blake is referring to is Lindsey Creel’s design for the current challenge and he’s right. But still, there are aspects to the outfit that I like. So I thought I’d write about it.

Lindsey Creel's design for Project Runway, episode 4.

Lindsey Creel’s design for Project Runway, episode 4.

First of all this is the best Lindsey has come up with so far. What I think works about the outfit is the coral-red jacket pops against the neutral colors of the two-piece. The texture in the two-piece gives interest but unfortunately it’s also a problem in that the fabric is too heavy. (Heidi pointed out that it looks like “furniture fabric.”) The skirt is way too long and even though I am not a fan of super short skirts, I think Lindsey needed to go in that direction to avoid this dowdy look that the fabric and the longer hemline lean into.  And those clunky shoes just drag the whole things down even more. Had she shortened the skirt and made the jacket longer, like a duster, and styled with perhaps a pair of high heel ankle boots then at least she’d have created a contrary look with that difficult fabric.


Lindsey usually sports a plaid shirt paired with a statement necklace.

What Blake says is true, if Lindsey knew anything about high fashion (or proportions) she wouldn’t have made what he and I consider these mistakes. I do wonder if perhaps she’s a little Anti-fashion.

But, in her favor, Lindsey took a risk with the use of that fabric (did she intend to?) and what she designed was very much her POV – two things the judges harp on. I think the girl really is a bit of a librarian – she seems smart and bookish and damn, can she pull off that little old lady chain around her glasses! She reminds me of the character Cassidy Finch in the television show The Middle.

Cassidy Finch from The Middle.

Cassidy Finch from The Middle.

I think it was taking the risk that saved Lindsey last week. Even though the judges didn’t like the way it turned out and she was in the bottom three, she’s still with us and I look forward to seeing if she can find a way to make Old Dusty Librarian chic.

For all the librarians out there, go Lindsey!

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You took a risk Blake and I like it!

Heidi Klum

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I like Blake’s design this week. It’s unexpected, great pop of color, and he made that billow in the back work. I also like the touch of sporty with a racer back.

But …

I think Candice’s design was better.

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I prefer the sleek silhouette of the dress and the detailing is impressive. It fits like a glove (in faux leather), is sexy while still ladylike with a lower hemline. Too bad we can’t see the jacket, which has black piping that lines up exactly with the detailing on the dress. Beyond that, the quality of Candice’s construction was far above Blake’s. (Viewers get to see such things on camera closeups.)

The challenge this week was to use the NYC skyline and Mary Kay Cosmetics as inspiration.

Congratulations to Blake and all the designers this week on Project Runway, although we had to feel for Gabrielle, who had a really bad day and painful loss.

Click here and see for yourself how it all unfolded. 

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What an event it was on a very hot October morning with costume designer Patricia Field and ah … sixty plus mostly young fashion students packed into the narrow ground floor of Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. To be honest I had no idea she’d be such a draw, particularly among the under 40s.

Ms. Field is known for costuming the long running HBO series Sex and The City and the film, The Devil Wears Prada starring Meryl Streep. Both the series and the film are very much last decade (and prior) and I would have thought perhaps a bit passé for the 20-something crowd. But I was wrong. The students knew her work, so well in fact that there were several nods to Ms. Field in the form of Carrie Bradshaw copycats – lots of stiletto heels, one woman in pink sported a name plate pendant, another went for the strands of chunky pearls paired with a t-shirt look, and another donned a slip dress, which wasn’t a bad choice given the record heat. These outfits were noticeable for their Ms. Field touch but actually, I was surprised how dated they appeared and I had to wonder if a better nod to the costumer known for mixing it up would have been to simply dress in one’s own unique style.


Patricia Field takes a cigarette break just outside the back door of Britex Fabrics.

But all that aside, Ms. Field was delightful – humorous and down-to-earth. She roamed among the tables and shelves of beautiful fabrics chatting with people, finally stopping in the middle of the floor and settling in for a discussion about her career, which she said began with her shop in New York City and then the pivotal moment being when she got the SATC gig.

People asked for “juicy” stories of working with the cast of The Devil Wears Prada and Ms. Field obliged with a nice tidbit about Meryl Streep, who played nasty magazine editor Miranda Priestly. The two were discussing the character and the potential costumes and Ms. Streep asked about hose. “I told her I didn’t have a problem with her not wearing hose,” Ms. Field said and then she recounted Ms. Streep’s reaction: “Pat! My legs are going to be coming out of a limousine on huge screens.” Lesson learned. Bare legs on screen look big, wear hose!

When the inevitable question was asked – What advice would you give a want-to-be designer/stylist? (read celebrity) – Ms. Field said, “Love what you do, if you don’t love it you shouldn’t do it.” Good advice but not satisfying, I suppose, as the same question was asked repeatedly in several different ways.

A more interesting question was – What is fashion? Ms. Field commented that fashion is just suggestion and it’s up to us to play with it and make it our own. “You don’t need to be head to toe designer … at the end of the day you’re expressing yourself.”

Eager for different challenges, Ms. Field said she no longer takes on head costumer projects but she will hire herself out as a consultant. Currently she’s working on a new Darren Star (creator of SATC) television production set to premiere in January. But her real passion is directing films and she’s anxious to explore that world.

Project Runway contestants Richard Hallmarq and Emily Payne joined Ms. Field later in the discussion. Both commented that PR changed their lives, opened doors and created opportunities that just wouldn’t have happened otherwise, but the fashion biz is still a lot of hard work. Photo ops and more questions and then Ms. Field needed a cigarette break and it was time for this reporter to move along.

Thank you to Patricia Field and Britex Fabrics!

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Project-Runway-with-Christian-SirianoI think the whole idea is that now fashion is really about building a brand, a lifestyle, a head-to-toe look – hair, makeup, shoes, and accessories.

– Christian Siriano, fashion designer (2008 Project Runway winner).

Lifestyle Branding is a trend in corporate fashion. Brands such as Michael Kors, Kate Spade (BTW, the actual designer Kate Spade sold her company years ago) and Isaac Mizrahi, who also sold his name, are among the many offering merchandise from clothing and beauty items to bed linens and candles.

Lifestyle Branding saves customers from having to think too much by giving a cohesive look for all aspects of life. I can see the attraction for busy people who don’t have time, or perhaps don’t feel they know how, to put themselves and their homes together. Also, sporting a complete look by a brand could be like joining an exclusive community. I don’t know, do women who carry the ubiquitous MK handbag feel a sense of sisterhood when they spot one of their own?

Yes I understand all that, but personally, I think fashion is all about the creativity of not just the designer but the wearer and Lifestyle Branding takes that away, creating less individuality. People who are trying their own look, however imperfect the results, are much more interesting to watch.

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