Project Runway: All About Nina

August 29, 2011 at 8:14 pm (Project Runway) (, )

In Project Runway’s Episode 4, the designers had to create a day-to-evening outfit for Nina Garcia, a Project Runway Judge and Fashion Director of Marie Claire  magazine.

Season 3 Alum Laura Bennett blogs: “Nina starts out by giving the designers a list of her likes and dislikes. She likes tailored clothes. She doesn’t like volume, muted colors, bright colors, pattern, short, long, tight, loose, flashy, boring or ‘Dynasty’.”

So what constitutes “don’t bore Nina” style…

“…classic with an edge, streamlined, clean silhouettes,” blogs Season 2 Alum Nick Verreos.

A Giambattista Valli print (close-up from the dress Nina wore during the "stilts" challenge episode of Project Runway)

After checking out Garcia’s web site, it is clear she likes classic style. Her home page is filled with images of Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn and vintage looks from Balenciaga and Nina Ricci. She even posted a close-up of a Giambattista Valli dress she wore on the “stilts” episode of Project Runway.

That in mind, I set out to create a clutch/wristlet out of Marie Claire… not inspired by the fashion images in the magazine, but out of the magazine itself.

I started with an inspiration image… a black and white Guess ad, which I cut into half-inch strips and wove together with other black and white images from the magazine.

Starting point for Nina wristlet, an advertisement for Guess.

I interfaced the back of the woven paper, and sewed in the zipper and lining. The strap is also created from woven strips of paper cut from the magazine, interfaced, and sewn together.

The biggest challenge with weaving paper together (aside from sewing it and its tendency to tear) was to ensure that I wasn’t re-creating a “candy wrapper” purse, which needless to say would not be very Nina.

The end result, I am happy to report, is part Nina, but very me.

So, it’s off to the track for the Heidi Klum New Balance Challenge. Until next week, auf wiedersehen.

Finished Nina wristlet.

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges.

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Project Runway: Go Big Or Go Home

August 22, 2011 at 11:32 pm (Project Runway) ()

Episode Three of Project Runway Season 9 had this artist living large (literally). On the show, the designers were broken into teams of two to create outfits for stilt-walking models.

“Whoever came up with this idea A) must have just been to the circus and thought, ‘Gee, this might be a fun challenge filled with TACKY outfits that have nothing to do with being the Next Great American Designer’ or B) was smoking something that’s only legal in certain ‘cafes’ in Amsterdam,” said Season 2 Alumnus Nick Verreos.

So, like the designers, it was off to the fabric store for the first time since I started Project Runway in Studio 109A. Unlike the designers, however, I had a budget of $50 (not $500).

After crawling around on my studio floor for a week cutting, pinning, and drowning in fabric, the end result is a flat bottomed, lined, oversized tote. Although it isn’t what I initially envisioned for this challenge (my vision was a Hartmann inspired tweed bag), this bag helped me realize the sewing skills I have mastered over the past eight months and has helped build my confidence. As an artist, I have found it is easy to get bogged down in my deficits rather than embrace the skills I have acquired.  This bag illustrated to me how far I have come as a sewer and not how far I have to go.

Larger Than Life (41" x 33")

That being said, my Tim Gunn wannabe husband said it’s a good thing I have immunity on this challenge, and my daughter (after I asked her to climb into the purse for a photograph) told me that this kind of craziness should be against the law. So, until next week…. auf wiedersehen.

"This should be against the law."

Hosted by supermodel and fashion maven Heidi Klum, the hit reality series Project Runway provides budding designers with an opportunity to launch their careers in fashion, under the watchful eye of mentor and Liz Claiborne Chief Creative Officer Tim Gunn. In August, Lauren Van Hemert launched her own version of Project Runway in Studio 109A (her Downtown Raleigh Artspace Studio), in which week after week she is creating accessories inspired by each of the Project Runway Season 9 Challenges. 

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Project Runway: My Pet Project

August 16, 2011 at 5:48 pm (Project Runway) ()

Terranium Bedding

Last week, I shared with you the fact that I am bringing Project Runway to Studio 109A. Since I started a week late on completing the challenges, I am running a week  behind.

In Episode Two of Project Runway Season 9, the challenge was to create an outfit using pet store supplies. Tim warned the contestants that the judges frown upon using “fabric” for unconventional challenges. For example, you can’t take a dog bed made of fabric and reconstruct it. The idea behind the unconventional challenge is that you use unconventional materials (although you can use muslin as a base).

Keeping that in mind, I headed off to Pet Supermarket with a $25 budget (I didn’t have the lofty budget $300 the contestants did). I ended up purchasing all natural moss used in terranium bedding (pictured above), a bird perch (made of driftwood), and assorted bird toys strung on a wire. I wasn’t interested in the toys, but wanted the wire on which the toys were strung to attach the perch to the purse. After I got to the studio, I was disappointed I hadn’t purchased a leash. When I told my husband I was headed back to the pet store to get a leash, this Tim Gunn designer/mentor wannabe said that returning to the store was against the rules and told me to “make it work”.

My Pet Project "Bird's Nest" Purse

The end result is a small purse resembling a bird’s nest. The handle is created from the bird perch (perfectly pre-drilled to attach to a cage). The centerpiece is made from one of the bird toys (a copper cow bell I hammered flat). After spending an entire Saturday afternoon gluing terranium bedding to muslin, I have a new appreciation for Project Runway Contestant Anthony Ryan Auld’s bird seed garment. Now, it’s off to make a “larger than life” purse. Until next week, auf wiedersehen.

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Project Runway: Come As You Are

August 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm (Project Runway) ()

One Designer. Twelve Challenges. This is the Studio 109a Project Runway Challenge.

Since January, I have been teaching myself how to sew in order to launch an accessory line. Last week, while watching Episode 2 of Project Runway, I had an idea. What if I complete each week’s  Project Runway challenge and blog about it. Of course, in the spirit of Project Runway, there is a “twist”. The “twist” here is that instead of creating garments, I will use each episode’s challenge as a springboard for creating an accessory. At the end of Project Runway Season 9, I hope to launch my own accessory collection.

So, let the games begin. The first challenge of Project Runway Season 9 was called Come As You Are. Designer Mentor Tim Gunn woke the contestants up at 5:00 a.m. and presented them with their first challenge… to create a look using their pajamas and a single bed sheet. In my case, I started with a pair of pink and red, heart print pajama bottoms (picked out by my husband who was excited at the prospect of never seeing me wear them again) and a white bed sheet.

Pink & Red Heart Print Pajama Bottoms

My first challenge was to get rid of the hearts. After dyeing the pajama bottoms and the bed sheet at home, it was off to Studio 109a to start making the bag. The end result, a boho bag, which I affectionately call The Pajama Purse.

The good news about the Studio 109a Project Runway Challenge is that I will always have immunity and never be “out”. Until next week’s Pet Couture challenge, Auf Wiedersehen.

The Pajama Purse "Come As You Are" Challenge

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