Thursday, October 18, 2012

Nina Garcia and Tim Gunn Talk Season Ten

Nina Garcia and Tim Gunn generously participated in a conference call with members of the media (including BPR!) yesterday.

Nina on allowing all four to be eligible for the finale win:  "I considered the pre-show to be a wake-up call for the designers.  They all arrived at the finale with their best.  In the end there was a very clear winner."

On Jennifer Hudson as a finale judge:  "It is always interesting to have a celebrity's point of view, she has walked the red carpet many times,  and she is coming out with a line herself so this was a very timely invitation."

On the importance of styling:  "Designers who have the resources will use a professional stylist because they are able to present a more polished and concise message.  Those who don't have the resources must be able to style their looks themselves.  It is a skill set unto itself.   It isn't easy."

What qualities will the winning collection have?  "It has to be a stand-out collection.  It is creative. I haven't seen it before.  It comes from a place of authenticity for the designer.  There is a point of view.  At a glance, I can tell who it is from.  It is wearable.  Women identify with it.  Retailers are interested in buying it.  These are clothes that are meant for a store.  This is not for a museum, it is for the real world."

What did each designer bring to the finale?  "Fabio is very conceptual, modern designer.  He thinks outside of the box.  Very conceptual, out-of-the-box organic aesthetic.  Dmitry is very architectural, he plays with geometry.  He is very skilled as a tailor, and has a very sophisticated hand.  Christopher is also very skilled.  He has a wonderful way of making his clothes look very light when they are not.  He also works with prints very nicely.  And his clothes look expensive.  Melissa is about separates.  This is very important when you are putting together a collection.  She has a very easy and urban attitude.  She lives in the world of separates.  She designs for a young girl like herself.  Her collection is very Melissa."  

What made her say "yes" to being a judge of Project Runway?  "At first I was a little skeptical.  What made me do it is that I knew Heidi and I knew Michael.  Heidi brought the model perspective.  Michael brought the designer perspective and I brought more of an editorial perspective.  I thought it made sense.  Of course Tim Gunn is the perfect mentor."

How does she choose what to wear on the show?  "I choose what makes me feel comfortable and what will look good on TV."

Have you ever had a guest judge who is not helpful? "Yes, I will not name names but some judges are too concerned about hurting the designers's feelings.  You are there to help them and mentor them, to help them grow.  Some judges are uncomfortable with criticizing the designers."

If you could go back, are there any decisions that you would change?  "No.  Not really.  There are times when we are at home and we are watching behavior that it is despicable and we have given them a good review.  As judges we do not see what happens behind the scenes.  If I had seen the behavior it would have swayed my perception of them but in the end I am there to judge their clothes, not the behavior.  We don't get any of that.  We are not biased by any personalities.  Yes, we do get to know them through the show, but we judge them according to what they present on the runway.

Her favorite season?  "The very first season.  It was so unexpected.  We were all creating such a phenomenal show without even realizing it.  And it came from a place of such genuine interest and love."

Was she surprised by which designers wound up in the finale?  "Yes.  If you had asked me to predict the finalists at the start of the season, I could not have done it.  Also this season we had some very colorful personalities at the beginning of the season and that was very distracting.  It shifted the focus more to them and clouds other people's work.  As the season went on and we could see the work more clearly, the top designers became more evident."

To what does she attribute the show's success?  "Chemistry between the judges.  And Tim.  A genuine and sincere interest in the designers..."

How long does the deliberation typically take?  "A good two hours."

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