One of my e-mail readers has requested no spoilers in my Project Runway post titles so here is your warning: this is an interview with the auf’d designer from last night’s final elimination before New York Fashion Week.
The challenge was to design a three-piece mini-collection inspired by the large scale metal sculptures of Mark di Suvero, on display at Governor’s Island.
Bye, Bye, Barbie – An Interview with Project Runway’s Laura Kathleen
I didn’t think I was going to like Laura Kathleen and her “privileged Barbie” attitude from the first episode but she really grew on me.
And, even though it was completely wrong for Nina, I really liked Laura’s Christmas party dress:
I was less impressed with her efforts last night:
The concept was there–I do like the idea of the fabric that evokes wrought iron. And she definitely gave thought to the placement of the circles…though I give her a B, rather than an A+ because I think some of the placement was a little awkward, like the giant circle right below the tush and the crowded area on the stomach.
However, as much as I appreciate that she played with scale, there was something heavy and clumsy about the proportions. Her sewing may be top-notch but the execution of the idea that was in her head fell short. I don’t think being paired with the darling Anthony Ryan helped her, either. He’s just too nice to give her the reality slap she needed to pull back and edit.
Laura does have some excellent design chops (as shown in her final collection) and a good killer-instinct about playing the reality TV game without becoming the villain–but I think the time pressures and constraints hampered her design.
Thanks to Lifetime Moms, I had the opportunity to chat with Laura Kathleen about passion, privilege and the pet store challenge!
I think I was lucky to realize my passion at such a young age. Maybe mine would run deeper because it has been a part of me for so long. But it is hard to say who has more passion because we’re all in such different places with different experiences.
On designing since she was a little girl:
When I was a littler girl, I was a tom boy, believe it or not, and I did not like dolls but I really like stuffed animals. So, the first thing I did was sewing clothes for them and then I got in this period of wanting to knit and crochet all the time so I started knitting and crocheting halter tops and mini skirts for my teddy bears, which was hilarious looking. And then me wanting to make my own clothes, sewing pillows for my dad, funny things like that, being in front of the machine. The really good things that I made were when I sat down with my mom and she said, “okay, we’re going to make this the right way!”
On the advantages of being advantaged:
I definitely think sewing from an early age gave me an advantage. Having access to higher end fabrics…some of the designers hadn’t sewn on real silk before and that’s a whole ‘nother trick to learn. Everyone was saying I was the master of silk because I would just run through it like it was denim.
On sewing versus creativity:
I think that…technically I am very sound. I think that creatively…obviously I wouldn’t have been in the competition so long if I didn’t have any ideas. I think that I very much appeal to a certain market. We’re in these challenges where you have certain guidelines and certain things you have to be inspired by…it brings a certain side out of you as a designer.
When you look at the fashion week collection, that was done without parameters and completely just on who I am as a design and the judges at that point certainly said that I didn’t lack creativity.
On the pet store challenge:
The whole top was a little asymetrical because in our critique, Tim said to let the nature of the leashes stay. It was his suggestion to make the whole thing fasten with the hook and to leave the sliders that were on the leashes. Yeah, I wanted the top to look like it was coming from one side of her body and then pulling over to the other side and following with the one shoulder.
On being on Project Runway:
Of course being on Project Runway is only going to strengthen your aesthetic and push you creatively. In the real world, you have no parameters. You can inspired by anything you want. By no means, though, has Project Runway hurt me as a designer, it has only helped.
On the final Fashion Week collection (which I called urban chic) versus the competition clothing (which I termed post-sorority and high-end department store):
I really think that both what I’ve done on the show and what I did in the collection…both speak to the same woman. I would never describe my clothing as urban but I would definitely describe it as chic. I think really think those comments speak to the color palette. The color palette has a lot to do with time as far as being able to really look for the fabrics you want to work with. And I don’t think that everything on the show really reflected to Middle America or reflected to the post-sorority. I think they all represent the same aesthetic, though. This season was full of clients and team challenges and being at home you finally got to have your own voice.
On how she was edited:
I was saying that was the way they were going to spin me. And all the contestants said, “But that’s not how you are at all”. And I said, “In my casting, that’s exactly what they wanted me to be.” This was my fourth time trying out and I knew the reason I hadn’t been cast yet was because there was no story to spin around me. I have had a great life and I am very grateful for it and appreciative. But that doesn’t necessarily make for the best reality TV story. So, when the producers started saying, “You’ve had this great life; you haven’t had to work” I definitely didn’t fight it in the casting. However in real life and in my interactions with people, I don’t rest on that and I don’t boast about it. It was a little bit of the magic of reality TV. Who I surround myself with…everyone comes from different walks of life. I really am a down-to-earth person and that was a bit of editing.
On her pick for the win:
For me the one person who I continually thought was an amazing designer is Viktor Luna. He not only is technically phenomenal but the design…I don’t know a woman who wouldn’t want to wear what he makes because it is so flattering and so architectural at the same time that it can make any woman look like she is chic and fashionable.
On her next plans:
Her Fall Collection will be out in Winter 2012. Check LauraKathleen.com.