With no eliminated designers waiting in the wings for “Project Runway” mentor Christian Siriano to grill over adult beverages as next week’s finale looms, he instead gives us an exclusive tour backstage during New York Fashion Week earlier this year. “It’s going to be really fabulous,” he vows to the camera.
For the few that don’t know how in demand the Season 4 winner of the show is, he reminds that, “I have a real job as a designer working. This is my day. I don’t show anybody this ever and I have this camera in my face because I’m filming for you, so it’s all very annoying but I’m happy to be here.”
Christian then checks out the show’s new runway. “It’s very industrial chic. It’s really cool.” He then notes, “I have no guests, it’s just me.” I was hoping for one last glimpse of Swatch, since he was a guest on the after show earlier this season. But no doggie in sight.
This designer to the stars confirms,” I have no guests. It’s just me. Honestly, it’s really great with just me anyway.” He goes on to say that he just opened Fashion Week as he declares it to be the Super Bowl of fashion, while adding, “I for sure am the J.Lo for New York Fashion Week — with a little Shakira as well.” He manages to shimmy in his chair, sort of. “Sixty-eight looks, 43 models. That’s the budget right there.”
Christian describes the enormity of the task of trying to control “like a hundred models” as well as hair and makeup teams and the photographers,” who he admits “can get crazy.” Then there are the actors and celebrities who are annoying him by texting him stuff like, “Do you like his shoe?” He dishes, “I don’t care what shoe you’re wearing to my show, girl. We picked out this outfit two days ago. You’re done!” The last-minute details he does care about include the seating as we witness him re-aligning the placement himself.
From whether the models feel secure in shoes they haven’t previously worn to the pacing of the runway show, Christian calls what happens an art form. “The right pacing can give a look its own moment and the audience can tell when the pacing is off.” And, yes, he gets peeved when a review called his show a little long “when it was only 17 minutes and we’ve been working on it for six months.” He gives props to his head designer Melanie Stein, who has been with him for almost 12 years.
The best surprise is that ever-smiling Rakan Shams Aldeen from Season 17 works for Christian now. He is like a human Swatch. “Rakan was harassing me, he stalked me, he emailed me every day. And I was like, fine, can you be here at 2:30, which was in like an hour, and he showed up and I was like, ‘great.’ ” Rakan has been there for three months, Christian says, “So it worked out.”
As Rakan says, “I didn’t win the show but I won this, which is a huge opportunity.” Christian admits, “He’s a great help. Very talented but really drives me to a dark place some days. … He is just so manic, he’s like a Geoffrey,” referring to Season 18’s finalist Geoffrey Mac. “He is just everywhere, he’s up, he’s down but actually then in the end, we didn’t get anywhere. It’s like he’s busy, but nothing really happens.”
Yes, we get to see the collection — which he says was inspired by a gothic funhouse — and, of course, it is fabulous. And, of course, he checks each and every model before they go out. He opened Fashion Week and reminds that this season’s designers will close it next week as Season 18 wraps up. Tune into Bravo next Thursday at 9 p.m. ET/PT to see who wins it all.
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