Chris March was a costume and fashion designer with a big heart and an even bigger laugh. The “Project Runway” contestant who competed on Season 4 in 2007 and came in fourth place died on Sept. 5 from a heart attack. He had suffered from a fall in 2017 that led to a prolonged hospital stay after he was put in a medically induced coma.
While his shy and slight fellow designer Christian Siriano won their season, March became a fan favorite for his witticisms and showy ensembles. When the designers visited the ancient Egyptian section of New York’s Met, he said on camera, “Look! Joan Rivers carved her name here when she was a little girl!” He also suggested that “Project Runway” should have its own perfume: “A mixture of fear, sweat and Chinese food,” a cuisine often eaten in the show’s workplace lounge.
The sometime drag queen once was so exasperated by Siriano, who has since taken over Tim Gunn‘s place on Bravo’s re-launched “Project Runway” this year, he declared,”Someone needs to give him a bottle and send him to bed.” March, who loved Halloween, sparkles and avant-garde creations, shocked everyone by incorporating human hair into his fashion line as a finalist, but was ultimately cut before he could show his wares at New York Fashion Week in Bryant Park.
His career thrived anyway and March was even invited back to compete on Season 4 of “Project Runway All-Stars,” where he finished 12th. His client list included Madonna, Cirque du Soleil, Prince, Beyonce Knowles (for her 2009 “I Am … Tour”), Lady Gaga, Thierry Mugler and Meryl Streep. Bravo even gave him his own reality series, “Mad Fashion,” which aired for 10 episodes in 2011. He also appeared on camera as a friend of Sonja Morgan on the channel’s “Real Housewives of New York.”
Two other “Project Runway” alum from the early years are no longer with us. Wendy Pepper, who competed on the first season of “Project Runway” when it began in 2oo4 and came in third, died in 2017 at the age of 53. Cohen called her “one of the first of many great characters to appear on ‘Project Runway.’ She was a big reason for the first season’s success.” She would return to the show in 2012 for its second All-Star season.
Also gone is Season 3’s Mychael Knight, who also died in 2017 at age 39. He had written about his struggle with irritable bowel syndrome but cause of death was not revealed. He came in fourth on his season and won the fan favorite award on his season. He would participate in “Project Runway: All-Star Challenge” in 2009 on Lifetime alongside March in a special one-time competition. He also participated in “Project Runway: All-Stars” Season 3.
Bravo’s Andy Cohen shared his thoughts about March on his Instagram account on Friday:
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This is how I’m going to remember Chris March, dressed as Lisa Vanderpump as I wear a Giggy costume he made for one of our first Halloween specials. Chris was a finalist on Season 4 of Project Runway. He designed for everyone from Beyoncé, Gaga, Madonna, Meryl, Prince and many legendary downtown drag queens (And Sonja Morgan!). He had a big booming laugh; he was a joy and delight. #RIP