Hive Q&A: Latest Project Runway Bootee Sees Bigger Picture, Applauds Fellow Designers

by Lisanne Silverman • Oct 9, 2008 2:31 PM PDT
Hive Q&A: Latest Project Runway Bootee Sees Bigger Picture, Applauds Fellow Designers

Well, no shortage of surprises here- after last week's Project Runway episode which left all of the designers going home to design collections in spite of Jerell's win, the remaining four set to work on their 10 piece collections- which needed to include a coordinating wedding dress- though only three designers would actually compete at Bryant Park. With two months and $8,000 to spend, it was clear they'd have to really go the distance, and go they did- Korto headed home to Little Rock, Leanne set up her workspace back in Portland, Jerell found himself back in LA, and Kenley got to work back in Brooklyn. Tim visited each of the designers, lending advice while gaining insight into their lives off the show, but the relative calm was nowhere to be found as the designers returned to New York and yet another addition to the challenge was revealed merely six days before their collections were to be finished- they'd each have to design an accompanying bridesmaid's dress. Exhaustion and emotions took hold as the final four put the finishing touches on their work, and soon it was all in the judges' hands. Two designers were told right off the bat that were still in, in spite of one particular dress that deemed a bit too reminiscent of an Alexander McQueen gown, and as for the other two, it just wasn't as clear who would stay and who would go. Read on for my exclusive interview and find out who ended up going home.

Stylehive: So in the previous challenge, you won, yet no one was eliminated and you were all sent home to work on collections. Was that frustrating at all?
Jerell: It was in the sense that this was the challenge that determines who goes to Bryant Park, so it wasn't what I expected, but they have to keep it interesting, you know, change it a little bit. It's amazing to have the opportunity to go and work on your collection, and for me, I was like ok, I'm going to go create the collection that's going to move me forward.

Stylehive: What did you think about the other designers' dresses?
Jerell: You know, all fifteen of the other designers on the show were really great. I didn't go to school for art, so I didn't really have the opportunity to be around so many people who share the same passion, so it was amazing to meet people who definitely had their own viewpoints and own style, and there were some really amazing people, and to be with the final three other people, there's some really great talent there.

Stylehive: If you could go back, would you change anything? Use fewer elements as Tim suggested?
Jerell: First off, I respect that man so, so much. When Tim came and spoke to me I had five garments, and I did change one in the final collection. I really liked my wedding dress, and I thought the bridesmaid dress was an appropriate bridesmaid dress. I wouldn't change anything, I thought that it really spoke to who I am as a designer. And at the end of the day, it's up to the Nina, Michael Kors, and Heidi, and that's all really subjective anyway, so if I had to go, I had to go, and I was really happy I was going out with something that was really a representation of me. In other challenges when designers were eliminated I think they were trying to design something to appease someone and didn't make it about who they were. I thought a lot about the larger picture, and the body of work I had on the show.

Stylehive: Did you agree with the judges that Kenley's dress was a McQueen ripoff, albeit a great one?
Jerell: I had not seen that McQueen dress, but a lot of what happens has been done before, and that brings limitations to things. I personally thought her dress was gorgeous, and I didn't see it for a McQueen dress, and I think it's totally feasible that she created it not having any knowledge of the McQueen dress. Alexander McQueen has a team of people, and if that means Kenley was able to pull of what a team of people did, then bravo Kenley. I thought the dress was gorgeous.

Stylehive: What was going through your mind after Kenley and Leanne were told they were in? Were you surprised at all?
Jerell: I was really confident in my wedding dress. I was shocked that they didn't like it, but at that point I was like what's going to be is going to be. Honestly, had Korto been eliminated, I would have been so sad, I love that girl. For me to be eliminated, honestly, I didn't cry, I wasn't all distraught when I got back to the hotel, I closed the door and that was the time I could have fell to the ground and started crying, but I didn't. I'm proud of myself and I can look at the bigger picture, and I showed at Bryant Park, and the whole internet knows that.

Stylehive: What was it like showing at Bryant Park?
Jerell: It was a dream come true. It was amazing, for me as a designer, working on a dress knowing millions of people are going to see it, it's amazing. My family had never been to New York, and the fact that everybody cared and supported me was amazing.

Stylehive: What was your favorite challenge?
Jerell: I really kind of liked the astrology challenge, because it brought everybody back again, that was kind of cool, like a reunion. Also we had a lot of fun with the musical inspiration challenge, it turned out to be a lot more fun than I initially thought it was going to be. Korto in those boots, oh my goodness! That's country.

Stylehive: As of now, who do you think will win?
Jerell: I don't have any! At this point I think honestly, all six of us that showed were winners as far as I'm concerned. It was an amazing opportunity. At the end of the day, we all can't get the $100,000, but we all got to show the world, so just to have that is amazing. Personally I love Korto's style, and I love Leanne's style, and I think Kenley does what she does very well. Just like you I'm waiting for the 15th!

Stylehive: What's next for you?
Jerell: I'm currently working on a collection of 20 pieces for a store in Los Angeles called H Lorenzo, and that'll be in store November 5th. Of course I'm also working on the business side of things, all that jazz, management, finding a great publicist, it's all about getting that backing.

Check out the slideshow to see Jerell's collection in action at New York Fashion Week!

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