As part of the Project Runway network, I had the amazing opportunity to chat with Georgina Chapman (of Marchesa) and LaLa Anthony. Georgina Chapman is one of the current judges on Project Runway All Stars and LaLa Anthony is one of the guest judges this week (The other guest judge will be Kylie Minogue!).
This week is a special twist on all-time fan favorite -- an unconventional challenge using Christmas materials!
Read below for the Q&A with Georgina!
Q:: What did you think when you were first approached to be a judge on Project Runway: All Stars and what made you say yes? Georgina: I was incredibly flattered and I was very excited too. I had been a judge several times on Project Runway before and I’d always really loved the experience. I think it’s great to get out of my everyday environment and to experience other designers. You have very little opportunity to do that as a designer to the world. So to me I just really, really enjoy it and I enjoy meeting the people. There is so much talent that we’ve seen and I think all the viewers can appreciate—I mean particular seasons there really is very, very high standards. Q:: I know on the show when it airs we only get to see bits and pieces of the judges discussing the look. How long is that process for you guys after the runway show? Georgina: It’s a whole day shoot. We really do talk about it in depth, myself, Isaac and Carolyn and whoever our guest judge is. We do really care about our designers. We form quite a bond with them and we feel very responsible. It’s not a flippant decision. It can be very hard sometimes. So we give it the time that it needs. Q:: Have you watched every season of Project Runway? Georgina: I think I probably have. I think so because I’m such a huge fan of the show. My step kids are too. I don’t know; it’s a really great and fun show. I’m just always in awe. Even though I’m now a judge it still hasn’t become old hat to me. I just don’t know how they do it within the time constrictions. It’s fun for me to watch the other show as well, because when I’m a judge on the show I don’t get to see all the backstage drama or I don’t get to see them constructing their pieces. I just get to see them when they come down the runway. So I don’t know any of the back-story. So it’s quite fun just to watch something afresh and have no idea what was coming. Q:: Is there an alumni that you would like to see in the next All Stars season? Georgina: You know what? I haven’t thought about that. I’m going to have to have a think about that one. Q:: I would love to know of all the designs that you judged this season which one would you personally like to wear yourself? Georgina: This season I found there was a lot very wearable clothing. I don’t know. There was quite a lot actually. I’d love to say what’s to come, but I think some of the best is yet to come. I just can’t give it away, but I’ve really been really impressed, and this week is actually one of my favorites. So I’m really excited about this week. One of the dresses in this week, a couple of the dresses actually I would wear even though they’re unconventional, but I think they’re some of my favorites. Q:: So on Project Runway last season they did a children’s wear challenge. Which designer of this season of All Stars do you think would make a great children’s clothing designer? Georgina: Maybe Uli because she has that sense of whimsy that I think would be great. I’m thinking girls because I have a girl. So I think she would make really cute little baby clothes. Q:: What is the difference about this show and your experience with the designers on the second season? Georgina: I think the first season it was new for all of us and this time around we’ve done it before. What amazed me is that it still felt completely fresh, completely new and just every time because there are new people. There are new personalities. There is really not like, “Oh, we’re going to do the same thing again.” It just isn’t. Each week is different. I think when you’re dealing with creatives you’re always in for surprise, and I think that’s why this show is so much fun for Isaac, myself and Carolyn to do. We really look forward to coming and judging the shows. As I said before, we do get a bond with these designers. I couldn’t really saw which season I preferred or didn’t. They were all just different in their own way. Q:: We love the baby Marchesa dresses and the Target Neiman Marcus lines. Would you ever want to expand more and design a separate line for children? Georgina: I would love to one day, but I don’t know whether I will be any time soon. Q:: I wanted to ask you about the documentary that’s going to air after Project Runway, about Marchesa and about your line. I was curious how does pregnancy affect your design process? Georgina: It’s funny because I sometimes feel I’m most creative when I’m pregnant. I guess because I am physically creating at the same time. I just keep going. The show must go on. You just work through and obviously some days you’re a little more tired than you normally might, be but I do feel very creative when I’m pregnant. I love tapping into that energy because I think that’s what my whole physical being is about at this time. Q:: In terms of a documentary, how was filming different than actually filming for Project Runway? What was it like to have the cameras around all the time in your personal design space? Georgina: It was quite different. I felt like the contestants. I have a lot more sympathy. It’s like they see your time and you’re working. They get to see a lot because you become unaware that they’re there after awhile. It’s interesting when I watch it because I was getting an outside perspective on what goes on. I think they did a great job and I’m really happy with it. Q:: Did you think it would ever turn into a series not just one single half hour documentary, maybe a full reality show in your future? Georgina: I just hope my life wouldn’t be that dramatic. I like to think that I’m too boring for that. I can do without the drama. Q:: So what can we really expect with this documentary? Is there anything surprising that while you were filming and then you watched it? Was it something that surprised you? Georgina: Not really because I had lived it. There were no surprises. There was nothing filmed that I didn’t know about or wasn’t living a part of. When I saw it later, it was quite a while later that I saw it, I was on to the next thing as it were. But it was just interesting seeing it sort of like a fly on the wall looking at your own life. It’s a strange thing to step back and to see yourself in the mirror like that. As far as surprises, not really, because that’s my day-to-day life and it’s pretty accurate what they depict. Q:: Will we see any celebrity appearances on your documentary? Georgina: Yes there are. There are people talking about the dresses, actresses who’ve worn the dresses, editors talking about Marchesa. You get a glimpse inside of our shows. You get a glimpse inside of a charity show we did. Then you get a glimpse inside an award season and the process behind the making of a dress. Q:: When you’re judging Project Runway: All Stars is it ever difficult to leave your own personal taste out of it or avoid comparing it to your own work? Georgina: I don’t ever compare it to my own work. You know, everyone has their own aesthetic and that’s what I particularly love about being a judge. I get exposed to all different designs, all different points of views and I find that terribly exciting, but I think your own personal taste always does come into things. I think it’s impossible to put that on one side, but I can appreciate construction. I can appreciate design detail. It doesn’t need to say I can like something even though I would never design it or perhaps never wear it. That doesn’t mean to say I don’t like it. It’s hard to—if I don’t like something aesthetically, it’s hard for me to get my head around it and say, and “Well I think it’s a great piece.” Q:: Who would you have on? Who would be your dream guest judge on the show? Georgina: I think you know. Sadly she’s cast, but I would’ve love to have had Isabella …. Q:: Since fashion has become so accessible from shows like Project Runway, even the upcoming documentary, how do you feel about more designers entering the market as compared to years past? Do you think that’s good for the industry? Georgina: I think it’s probably the same as it’s always been. Yes, it’s become—you get your shows like Project Runway and that gives designers exposure, which is a wonderful thing, but there is still the same amount of stores. There are still the same amount of websites and the same amount of customers. So really at the end of the day it’s talent and hard work that wins. I think that’s what we see on Project Runway. We genuinely have really, really talented people there and I do believe a lot of guys have bright futures. Q:: With someone like Emilio, who’s more of a costume designer, do you think he’s at more of a disadvantage? Georgina: That’s hard for me to say because I trained in costumes as well. So I might think he’s at a great advantage. I come from a very similar background to him, if not the same background. It’s always worked for me. I think, you know, yes, I did have to learn on the job a bit more that other people would’ve been prepared for after their college, that’s true, but sometimes that gives you a fresher eye. Q:: If you could create a dream challenge for the all stars, what would it be? Georgina: That’s a good question. I hadn’t thought about that. They’ve never given me the opportunity to do that. I think they should. I think I should get to create my own challenge. I don’t know. I’d have to give that a bit of thought. I think they put quite a lot of thought into these challenges. I would hate to come off the cuff with one, but I think that would be a fun thing to think about. Q:: What was your favorite challenge? Georgina: I actually really do love the upcoming challenge this week because it’s a little unconventional. I like those unconventional challenges because they always come up with surprising things and people have to push themselves to be at their most creative. Q:: Which guest judge have you enjoyed working with most this season? Georgina: We’ve had such incredible judges this season. Really, it’s been wonderful, just from Tavi Gevinson, who is just amazing for a girl of her age with such expertise, to big star designers like Diane von Furstenberg to incredible musicians like Kylie Minogue and then you have LaLa, who’s wonderful, this week. We have amazing guest judges coming up, like Katie Holmes. So it’s been a really exciting season. And then I’ve had my great friend Rachel Roy, who’s a dream to have on the show. So I think we got very spoiled. Q:: Being a stylish mom yourself what advice do you have on maternity style for Kate Middleton as her pregnancy progresses? Georgina: I couldn’t advise Kate. She’s such a stylish girl and she always gets it right. I just hope she’s feeling better, poor thing. As being pregnant myself I just can’t even imagine what a nightmare that must be. I hope she’s concentrating just on getting a lot of rest right now. Q:: How do you balance your really busy career and motherhood? Georgina: I make sure I carve out time to be with my daughter. She’s my number one priority, my family. India comes into the office with me most days. She has her little area with a desk and everything where she draws. Every morning I spend a lot of—I leave later in the mornings now and spend the mornings with her. So I do see her. She spends a lot of time with me at work and things. I don’t know how that’s going to work once she’s at school. I’m going to miss her. It’s going to be hard. Q:: What is she into? What are her hobbies? Georgina: Being a two year old, running, drawing on everything, sticking things on everything. She’s like a little Tasmanian devil running around. She loves being at the office because it’s just like … going through all the fabrics and everything. She loves fashion already. She strokes the dresses and goes, “Beautiful dress, Mommy.”
Read below for the Q&A with LaLa!
Q:: What do you look for in a design? When you were on Project Runway what did you see? LaLa: The task that we had was to make an outfit out of Christmas decorations, Christmas ornaments, so of course in that kind of task what you’re looking for is creativity. The fact that these designers were able to make such amazing pieces out of Christmas supplies and ornaments, I was just blown away. But definitely what I’m looking for is creativity. Like how do you even take an ornament or wreath or something and turn that into something that we could actually wear. I was pretty blown away. Q:: Which designer on the show would you most likely want to wear? LaLa: It’s so funny. I can tell you. I filmed it a while ago. I actually had to write that down and I do have a designer, just give me one second, that I said I absolutely loved. I just want to make sure I have their name right. I liked a lot of them, but I loved Casanova. I loved Uli. I really loved Uli. That was my favorite, Uli Herzner. Q:: Would you ever consider doing your own fashion line? LaLa: It’s funny you said that. I just did a deal with Shopbop.com for a clothing line that my stylist and I collaborated together what’s called 5th & Mercer. And actually tomorrow our first piece goes on sale on Shopbop.com. We started with a simple jumper just to kind of ease our way into it and see how it does and take it from there. So I did do a clothing collaboration with Shopbop that I’m very, very excited about. Q:: What made you want to be a guest judge this season on Project Runway: All Stars? LaLa: I’m into fashion. I love fashion. I love clothes. I love the show. So when I was asked I was just honored because to be able to see people be so creative and bring ideas to life is just still so fascinating to me. So I was happy to be a part of it, but I guess I would just say it was my love for fashion. Q:: I would love to know what Christmas materials would you have chosen to make a look out of? LaLa: I think I would probably choose like garland because obviously you could make maybe a cool skirt or a cool top somehow out of garland. So that is what I would first go for. You can get that in different colors to kind of mix it up. But there’s no denying that making anything out of Christmas supplies and ornaments is very difficult and I was just blown away by what these designers were able to do. Q:: Were you a fan of Project Runway before you became a judge? LaLa: Such a fan, such a fan of Project Runway, Project Runway: All Stars. I was excited to be a part of it and just excited people viewed me—that people respect my opinion when it comes to fashion. That’s what was really cool to me. So I was really happy to be a part of that. Q:: We’re very excited over here to see what will come from 5th & Mercer. Did you take any pointers on how the designers work on Project Runway to bring to your collaboration with Shopbop? LaLa: I wouldn’t say I took anything from them only because the challenge when I was there was to make designs out of Christmas ornaments. So there wasn’t much to take out of that, but I was just looking at everyone’s fashion, what they were wearing, what the other judges were wearing. Georgina’s the one I admire in fashion and also the host, Carolyn. So I was looking at stuff like that. Like, “Oh, that could be cool,” more of that way, just looking at what people were wearing while I was there. Isaac Mizrahi is obviously someone who has a great eye for fashion, just talking to him about what I’m doing, so that’s kind of what I took from there. I’m really excited for 5th & Mercer. Like I said, the first piece actually debuts on Shopbop tomorrow, and hopefully if that does well we’ll go into them with talk for a bigger collection. Q:: What was the inspiration behind 5th & Mercer? LaLa: The inspiration, the name itself tells a lot about it. 5th & Mercer is Fifth Ave. and Mercer in New York City. So Fifth Ave., you know, is super high end. Mercer is considered more edgy, downtown chic. I feel like my stylist and my clothing line is the perfect marriage between the two, high-end yet edgy, downtown chic. So that’s how we came up with the name and that’s exactly what the clothing line kind of embodies. Even with the one jumper that we’re going to start selling tomorrow on Shopbob, we’ve already had Kelly Rowland wear it, Gabrielle Union, Kim—I sent Kim K., Kim Kardashian hers the other day. She’s going to wear it. So many people are loving it and are starting to wear it, which is kind of awesome. Q:: How did you decide what you would wear on the show? LaLa: That was a tough one because I knew it was a fashion show and people would be looking. Actually my stylist just helped me pick something out. I had a Tom Ford dress on, a Tom Ford sequined dress, but then I wanted to edge it up so I threw on a leather jacket on top, which I though was really cool to kind of throw a leather jacket on top of this Tom Ford Dress. I was really happy with how the look came out. Q:: Did you watch all of the previous seasons of the show? LaLa: I would watch here and there, not every single episode, but I was definitely super familiar and excited to be a judge and excited to have people want to know my opinion on things. I have kept up with the show in the past seasons and am just still always amazed at what these designers can do with what they’re given and especially with our challenge to turn a whole outfit out of Christmas ornaments and Christmas supplies. It’s just unbelievable to me and the work they did was awesome. Q:: Since you have watched the show over the years when you were a judge what was the experience like? Was it harder than you thought it would be? Was it more fun, easier? How does that go? LaLa: It was really fun, but at the same time you want to be honest with people. What I like to say is being honest doesn’t mean that you have to be mean. A lot of times when you get on these judges panels people just want to be mean and be so hard on people. All people want is your honesty and if you’re honest it doesn’t mean you have to be mean about it. So I really enjoyed being honest with my thoughts but also being positive as well and giving these designers encouragement because it takes a lot of guts to do what they’re doing. Q:: How do you juggle your busy career and motherhood? LaLa: The thing is I kind of just take it day by day and I started to be okay with knowing that there are going to be days where you can’t get everything done. We’re our own worst critics. We beat ourselves up when we can’t finish it all in one day. That’s just unrealistic as a mom, a wife, and a businesswoman that you can finish it all in one day. So I’ve become okay with that and I kind of just take it day by day and try to get the important things done. It is definitely a constant juggling and balancing act, but I couldn’t even see it any other way. Q:: How is your son, Kiyan, doing? LaLa: He’s doing great. We’re here in Los Angeles now. He’s here with me getting ready for the holidays. I’m trying to explain to him why a five year old will not be getting an iPhone 5 for Christmas. We’re having those conversations right now because when he wrote his list to Santa his number one thing was an iPhone 5. I don’t know where my child gets these ideas.
You can watch Project Runway All Stars tonight and every week on Thursdays at 9/8c on Lifetime! There will also be a special airing of Project Runway Spotlight Marchesa airing on Dec 20 at 10/9c also on Lifetime.
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