Wait, WHAT?? Was my reaction to this week's challenge on Project Runway, a sentiment shared by the designers and viewers alike, I'm sure! Tim meets the group on the rooftop of a parking garage where they are presented with a lineup of five brand new Saturn Vue Hybrid vehicles. Chris Webb, lead color designer for Saturn, joins the group and explains that this particular model is 85% recyclable. No, they didn't have to break the cars apart (that's what I thought too at first!); rather, they were given a whopping four minutes to ravage through the contents of the cars which included: floor mats, seat covers, headlights, seatbelts, carburetors, air vents, and sun screens and so on, to use as raw materials. With the freedom to be as innovative and creative as they'd like and the limitation of using highly unconventional materials, the designers are off to work.Tensions ran high, last minute setbacks abounded, and the struggle to make it work reached new heights. In the end, the judges, with guest judge celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe and season three finalist Laura Bennett filling in for Nina Garcia, gave the win to Leanne for her impeccably crafted, highly innovative strapless mini-dress, and sent Keith home for falling short of being cutting-edge. Read on for my exclusive interview with the ousted designer for his take on what went wrong. Stylehive: What was your initial reaction to this week€™s crazy challenge?
Keith: Honestly, I am excited for every challenge, any innovative kind of create outside the box challenge. To be honest, at that point I had kind of been a little broken from the week before with the drag queen challenge, so I was trying to dig deep and find some inner inspiration.Stylehive: What did you think about the other designers€™ looks?
Keith: What I was really trying to get across with my design was to create something that didn€™t look like it was made from a car. I didn€™t want people to guess seatbelts or anything, even if they looked at it up close. I wanted them to really think that this could be something that they could buy from a store. And I thought that would be more important to the judges than it was because several- you could tell that they were made from cars or that the models weren€™t walking very well. I don€™t want to pinpoint anyone or call anybody out because I€™m happy to have so many people that share a common passion, but I was disappointed that the judges didn€™t call out more of those where it was like €˜this was obviously made from a car.€™ I mean it€™s always tricky, you never know what the judges really want. Stylehive: I know! I was surprised by that too because some of them were so obviously made from seat belts and such!
Keith: Yeah, for some of them it was like the fit was so far off, and I€™m just a nice guy so I hate to mention names, but there were certain ones where it€™s like €˜how can you call me off and say that mine doesn€™t look cohesive when you have other ones where it€™s like did you make that in the dark? Because that fits so poorly! How are you getting away with that fitting so poorly?€™ So you never really know what€™s gonna happen, I mean it is a TV show, it€™s not just based on fashion.
Stylehive: Were you surprised by the judges€™ comments?
Keith: Honestly, when I was watching the runway, I was crossing my fingers just hoping that I would be safe. I knew that I didn€™t create something that I was inspired by, it wasn€™t really super innovative for me and I was hoping that the judges just saw something that was simple and clean and it was cute. Some of the other ones fit WAY worse than mine did, were not wearable, and it was like they were made from crap from a car, so you just have to take it with a grain of salt
Stylehive: If you could go back, what would you have done differently with your design?
Keith: Honestly, if I could dig a little bit deeper inside myself and stay inspired, because at that point, I was no longer inspired to do the show. And there are a dozen things that I€™ve thought of that I would do differently. I would create an innovative, intricate piece. I mean that€™s what I do, I€™m a conceptual designer, I have no problem doing stuff that people haven€™t seen before, I mean that€™s what I was kind of presenting throughout the show. So, it€™s kind of funny that then I get kicked off on a challenge that I do something so simple, because that€™s definitely not my aesthetic, I€™m not a simple designer.
Stylehive: What was going through your mind when you were standing there in the bottom 2, did you think you were gonna be the one to go?
Keith: Oh yeah. After the week before, I knew I was gonna get sent home at that point. I mean, I felt like it had something to do with the challenge before, but I also felt like I could have pushed it, you know what I mean? I could have been more innovative, I could have done something that inspired me, I wasn€™t super inspired. So I thought maybe the judges would understand that I did something that was kind of geared more toward what I thought they would want, something that would make me get by, or at least have me in the bottom three but still make me safe. So I wasn€™t really sure what they were going to do.
Stylehive: What can we expect to see from you in the future?
Keith: I plan on being in Bryant Park very soon, I€™m looking for investors. I have my own line- called Filthy Gorgeous, I specialize in custom denim and cocktail dresses. And honestly, to start as such a young, fresh designer, the world is kind of my oyster. I€™m just hoping that people are receptive to me as a designer and to more original art that happens to be fashion coming out of me. My website is filthygorgeous.com and everybody should sign up for my e-mail because now that the show will be wrapping up, I€™m gonna have more time to actually go through and re-vamp my portfolio, put on some new stuff, so people should get ready to get e-mails from me showing my new line. And I actually have a really big show I€™m trying to line up in Salt Lake City as well.