Tim Gunn and Angela Keslar from "Project Runway" blew into the Windy City last Thursday night to host INC International Concept’s Fashion Show (Angela won the INC challenge in Season III).
The 15 minute Q & A was worth the price of admission (OK, it was free) and all the winning designs from Season III were on display!
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Some of Tim’s opening thoughts about US fashion;
It wasn’t until after World War II that the US was on the fashion map. It would take American designer Claire McCardle to revolutionize women’s sportswear after the war. She was the first to use denim in fashion (bless her). Calvin Klein brought denim back into fashion in the early 70’s. Today the US owns denim as a fashion fabrication.
The US looks at fashion through a lens of commerce. This means taking factors such as marketing, wearability and sellabilty into consideration. Tim maintains that every season this adds to the creative challenge and constraints of the designer. The designer must be relevant.
Question 1. What do you look for in designers for Project Runway?
TG: Actually, believe it or not aptitude over personality. In Season III more professionals showed up so we knew we had to raise the bar and pick only those that they thought could make it through until the end.
Question 2. What are the requirements for the garments to be considered finished?
TG: As I always say you have to ‘make it work’ so whatever it takes. In Seasons I and II the garments were not as well made. I was afraid some would not make it down the runway. I swear none of the garments had sleeves those seasons.
Question 3. What was your favorite design of all of the shows?
TG: I would have to say the first challenge of the first show of Season I. Austin Scarlett’s corn husk dress was incredulous and I literally swooned.
Question 4. What was Santino like off camera.
TG: Exactly THE SAME!
Question 5. What is the biggest fashion mistake in the Midwest (to Angela)?
AK: (Let me start by saying, I don’t think she thought Chicago was in the Midwest) Being ten years behind, big hair and people don’t think in terms of what’s appropriate.
TG: I see this mistake everywhere, even NY…the size of the clothes people chose. They are either too big or too small.
Question 6. Who is your favorite fashion icon?
AK: Diana Vreeland.
TG: Another DF…DVF (Diane von Furstenberg).
Question 7. What made Jeffrey’s final collection stand out from the others?
AK: It was exciting and fresh. The collection made sense. It was marketable, innovative and believable.
TG: Laura and Uli’s were expected. There was no surprise. With Jeffrey’s collection there was a tidal wave of excitement and experimentation. He was innovative and "without risk taking we have clothes – we don’t have fashion." (Amen to that).