by Gina Scarpa
Last week, on Project Runway, the designers were asked to create to create an outfit for Macy’s Ink line, using the color blue as their inspiration. Each of the designers pitched their ideas and sketches Macy’s Executive VP Martine Reardon, who then chose five team leaders. Among the leaders was Louise, who chose to work with Nicolas. After the runway show, the judges told her that her dress looked like a bad, overworked bridesmaid dress and she was eliminated from the competition. Today, she spoke with RealityWanted about her experiences on the show.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: What was your design experience prior to going on Project Runway?
A. Louise: I taught myself how to sew using my grandmother's old machine - if she could see me now! I took apart vintage garments and added to them, getting a better feel for construction… and design, thank god… along the way. I was selling simple pieces on Ebay and through message boards for a while and eventually opened my own online shop in 2001. Later that year, I used my first store-bought patterns to create the outfits for our wedding – a long, scarlet dress for me and an old style priest's cassock for my husband). By that time, I had quit my job as a medical lab tech and focused entirely on designing.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: What made you decide to try out this season?
A. Louise: The model and charity organizer, Jan Strimple, urged me to try out and my husband thought it was a great idea. I felt it was time that the world saw what I had to offer and that I was finally at a place where it was time to come out to the fashion world.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: How did you feel when you found out that this week's challenge was going to require you to work in pairs?
A. Louise: I was a little afraid because you never quite have enough control over a situation like that. I clearly had no control over Nicolas, he was determined to do as little as possible to complete his dress, which was supposed to be the stronger look of the two.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: What made you decide to work with Nicolas?
A. Louise: Nicolas was very friendly towards me and I thought we hit it off well. I also knew he could knock out a fitted silhouette which was the main reason I chose him.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: How difficult is it to construct a perfect outfit in 24 hours?
A. Louise: It's extremely difficult to produce a finished look in such a small amount of time, especially since we are not allowed to use patterns of any kind.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: Do you feel like you got conflicting feedback from the judges? They kept wanting you to do more with your design and then when you did, they came down on you for it.
A. Louise: There's the crux. It was most difficult to work toward the judges' aesthetic. In the real world there are always wrenches
thrown into the machine, but you also have an idea of someone's style and direction, especially working with celebrities. Even with a non-celebrity client you can get a feel for their fashion sense before the first stitch is sewn.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: Looking back on your design from tonight's episode, how did you feel about them? Would you have done anything differently?
A. Louise: My first mistake was choosing Nicolas. Had he been more of a team player he would've finished his dress, giving me more time to finish mine. I also wish we'd had more time to choose fabric. We were given 15 minutes to pick out fabric for 2 looks, get it cut out, and pay for it. That was nearly impossible which is why I was so frazzled and misplaced my money. I couldn't make up my mind on the colors and time almost ran out so I just grabbed something blue for my dress. The pale blue satin was a terrible choice and not what I would've chosen if given more time. I also didn't have time to sew down my chiffon rosesetts. They were almost all pinned on and looked terribly scruffy. Probably should've just left them off at that point.
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: What is the biggest lesson you're taking away from Project Runway?
A. Louise: Tiny details are not meant for the runway, especially when working in black fabric. Full length gowns have way more wow appeal. The show has really been a blessing all things considered. I'm much less shy in front of the camera now and my business is getting so much more attention. I would do it all over again in a NY minute!
Q. Gina, RealityWanted: What are your future plans as a designer and what are you up to now?
A. Louise: I'm working on a small collection and hope to get it into stores soon. I really enjoy a good challenge and see myself working one-on-one with select clients as I work to get my name out into the fashion world.
Project Runway airs Thursday nights at 10pm ET on Lifetime.
(Image courtesy of Lifetime)
Follow Gina at twitter.com/ginascarpa