Last night season five of Project Runway came to a close, and between the excitement, exhaustion, and emotions that came with showing at Bryant Park, it was truly anyone's game. Tim told the remaining designers they'd need to edit their collections down to 10 pieces each, and so the process began. Kenley struggled with how she would use the "McQueen" gown from before, as Korto opted to create two entirely new pieces, no longer feeling entirely confident about her wedding dress. Meanwhile, Leanne got to work finishing up her collection.
Showtime! The big day finally arrived and the designers put the final touches on their looks and models before showing off months and months of hard work to their families, friends, and the world. Then, a change of plans- the guest judge backed out last minute, and Tim Gunn was called to fill in! Would his behind-the-scenes knowledge of the designers' work and their plans influence his judging? No time to wonder- the show was set to begin. It all went smoothly and each designer truly embraced the moment- who could forget Korto taking her daughter along for her walk? But then things calmed down as Kenley, Korto, and Leanne were called before the judges, who praised each of their collections as quintessentially their own. Kenley was the first to be sent home, and the silence was deafening as Korto and Leanne stood there waiting to hear the one name that would change their lives and careers forever. Finally, Leanne was named the winner. I had the chance to speak with her about her reaction, her thoughts on the other designers, and her plans. Read on to see what she had to say!
Leanne: Thanks! It took a few days after I found out, so it definitely took awhile to sink in, it was really great.
Stylehive: What was it like showing at Bryant Park?
Leanne: It was my lifelong dream come true. It was surreal. It went by way too fast and I couldn€™t really believe that I actually did that, but you know there's pictures and video that I was there. It was definitely a dream.
Stylehive: What was going through your mind after Kenley was out and it was just you and Korto standing there?
Leanne: You know, I kind of had a feeling that it might come down to the two of us, and I think it could have gone either way. In my mind, I was trying to stay positive, but you just never know! The crowd reacted well to my line, and I was just hoping and hoping and hoping.
Stylehive: What did you think about the judges' remarks about your collection?
Leanne: I think that they definitely had valid points. As far as the petals thing, I€™m pretty much petal-ed out (laughs). It€™s just been something that I€™ve been into for the past few months, and I'm definitely going to transgress into doing something else. I€™m certainly not a one trick pony!
Stylehive: What did you think about Korto and Kenley's collections?
Leanne: You know...I made that horrible petty comment about the painting, but I really think it looked good on the runway, I think she did a good job. I think ultimately what hurt her the most was that a lot of her designs looked too similar to things that other designers had recently done and it€™s hard to believe sometimes that it's a coincidence€¦it€™s a good thing to know what€™s happening in fashion, if for nothing else to protect yourself.
Stylehive: What are you going to miss most about your Project Runway experience? What are you going to take away from it?
Leanne: It€™s been so exciting getting together with friends on Wednesday nights and watching it, and just this whole experience, I had the opportunity to meet these famous people and make so many connections in the industry that I otherwise would have had a hard time making.
Stylehive: What was your favorite challenge?
Leanne: I think my favorite challenge was probably the Diane von Furstenberg challenge. The fabrics that we got to raid from her workroom were incredible, and she's just a really great inspiration.
Stylehive: What about your least favorite challenge?
Leanne: It€™s probably a tie between the career makeover challenge or the green challenge...you know, where I was supposed to be going home and we didn't get to pick the fabrics, but I learned a lot from that. I think maybe the makeover one was a little predictable.
Stylehive: What's next for you? Any new goals?
Leanne: Yeah! I'm going to be moving to New York and further developing my clothing line, and I want to show at Fashion Week regularly, so that's what I'm working towards now. Stylehive: Can you tell us a little bit about your new clothing line?
Leanne: I was doing Leanimal but I'm still going to be doing pretty much the same thing, just going with Leanne Marshall, and you know, what I do is pretty much feminine, wearable, architectural, and innovative, and I definitely intend on maintaining the sustainability aspect in at least half of everything I do.Stylehive: Anything else you'd like to add?
Leanne: Just thank you to everybody for rooting for me and cheering me on, all the support has been incredible and I'm forever grateful for it!