As if being one of the five remaining designers wasn't enough pressure in itself, this week's Project Runway challenge had the final contenders stepping into a dual role- they would each be designing a look inspired by a musical genre. Their client? A fellow contestant. Time flew by as they struggled to play designer and model all at once, and the pressure manifested itself in all sorts of ways- Leanne embraced her hip-hop persona with a hilarious rap, Korto started feeling the country twang, and Kenley, despite being outfitted in a getup that was purely pop, had an attitude that was quite the opposite. When it was time for Heidi, Michael, Nina, and guest judge LL Cool J to weigh in, it seemed as if many missed the mark, holding back in their designs for fear of going over the top, while others decided going all out was what it would take to win. Kenley's frustrations flared, and Kors' comments were some for the record books- specifically towards Leanne's design for Korto's country persona ("It looks too much like a woman going out for ribs") and towards Suede's look for Jerell ("It looks like rock n' roll going to the grocery store"). In the end, the win went to Korto, whose punk look for Suede was the perfect balance of over the top and believable, and one unlucky designer saw that the outfit he created, while well put together, just wasn't enough. Read on for my exclusive interview to find out who it was.Stylehive: What was it like being both the designer and the model last night?
Suede: It was actually really a challenge because at the same time we're all trying to finish the fitting for the other person, and you could probably see how one person's dressing another, who's dressing another, so it's like a big circle, so it was kind of challenging.Stylehive: It had to have crossed your mind that being a good, enthusiastic model and client could potentially help your competition.
Suede: I wasn't about to sabotage anyone. I think it just makes other people look bad if they do that, and I was there to give it my all in terms of designing, and give it my all on the runway, and I felt like I owned the runway. I was happy with everything I did, and I would never let myself down like that.Stylehive: In the end, you were wearing the winning look, but ended up going home. What was that like?
Suede: Well I think I should have had immunity because I was wearing the winning look and I rocked it so well! I'm still taking that one to court (laughs). But someone has to go home and let's face it, I made it to the top five, that's no small feat, and I showed at Fashion Week. Don't get me wrong, it would have been amazing to go to the top three, but I didn't do so shabby, I'm really proud of my accomplishment. I haven't sewn in fifteen years, so I did pretty well.Stylehive: What did you think of Kenley's attitude? Were you surprised that she ended up staying?
Suede: I do think she has a lot of growing to do. I think it was very disrespectful, and she has to deal with what she said. I, fortunately, have been true to myself and haven't had to cross those types of bridges, so it's probably easier for you to ask her about that, but I really think it was disrespectful.Stylehive: If you could have picked anyone to design for, who would it be?
Suede: I liked designing for Jerell! He's a great model, he's tall and skinny and knows how to walk a runway. I was happy working with Jerell, I would have been fine working with anybody though. I'm very flexible that way, as you can see from all of the challenges I've worked on.Stylehive: If you could have gone with a different music genre, which would you choose?
Suede: I probably would've gone with punk rock, the colors we could do for that, even though Korto didn't do color and she rocked it out.Stylehive: What did you think of Korto's look for you?
Suede: I loved everything about the look, it was crazy, and you know I already have blue in my hair, so we talked about it and said let's put more color in it, let's do something really crazy!Stylehive: If you could go back, is there anything you'd change about the your design?
Suede: Well you know hindsight's 20/20, and if I'd known the judges were looking for something that was a little more costume-y, a little bit over-the-top, I would have done more towards that challenge, but the reality is I was true to who I am as a designer, I don't really see modern-day rockers as being so over-the-top and so glammy, so without knowing what the judges were looking for, I was very happy with what I did. Of course knowing that, I certainly would have changed it! I didn't want to go home. Stylehive: What was your favorite challenge up to this point?
Suede: Probably the one I won, the green challenge. Natalie Portman said she'd love to wear my dress, that's a huge honor to me, a great credit to me, so that would definitely be the highlight.Stylehive: What's next for you?
Suede: I'm designing for a big charity ball in D.C., it's being hosted by Ashley Judd, it's a AIDS benefit for children. Annie Lennox is going to be there, Bob Geldof, MTV, Anna Kournikova, many more, so it's amazing, so that's the next thing in my immediate future, and I'm also exploring some film and television options. Stylehive: That's really exciting. So we'll still be seeing you on television then?
Suede: I hope so! And you guys can always keep up to date with all things Suede if you go to my website, www.SuedeSays.com.Stylehive: Appropriately titled. Anything else you'd like to add?
Suede: Send my love to all my fans this season, I really appreciate it!