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Project Runway Blog

L.A. Times Fashion Critic Booth Moore Talks Paper Fashion

By Tracy_Goldenberg 09/18/2009 06:37AM GMT

One of "Project Runway's" true tests of talent in seasons past has been challenges involving unconventional materials — car parts, food, furnishings — and creating designer duds worthy of an A-list event. Now your Sunday morning newspaper has been added to that list, and who would read between the lines of this challenge better than the chief fashion critic for the Los Angeles Times, Booth Moore?

Covering the latest fashions of New York, London, Milan, Paris and L.A., Booth has interviewed every major fashion personality, including Miuccia Prada, Tom Ford, Gwen Stefani and "Project Runway" Season 4 guest judge Victoria Beckham.

As the editor and co-creator of the Los Angeles Times Image section, one of the many sections of the paper available for the designers to craft garments from, Booth threw out one of the most exciting challenges of Season 6 to date.

Did you have any expectations going into this of what the designers would create? Tim gives us a bit of a history lesson in the episode about the garments that have been successfully made of paper products, so there is precedent here for great fashion.

I figured that they would do crazy and different things I had never even thought of, and that's true, there is a history of paper dresses from the 1960s. FIT has an exhibit up now on fashion and politics, and they had a couple of paper dresses that had campaign slogans on them from the '60s and '70s. That was one of the ways paper was used in fashion: making the human body a literal signboard.

Were all those reams of paper recycled, and what did you hope they’d use from the Times?

Selfishly, I was hoping they would use the Image section, because that is the fashion section! I thought there would be some cool photographs that they could use in an interesting way. There were stacks and stacks of sections, and yes, they had already come out.

This could be a cool new recycling program: making fabulous garments out of newspaper.

Yes! There are companies that make accessories out of newspaper, and I’ve seen little bags and purses with some of my own stories all over them!

Did you expect the designers to use color? It is black and white and very clean, but that can run the risk of being boring.

Because so much of the paper is black and white, there obviously was the opportunity to do cool things with repeating patterns. There are also photographs, particularly in the Fashion section; really cool, big color photographs that could be cut up and used in a cool way.

If you had to wear a paper garment, what would you be willing to wear?

Oh my god.

... And how uncomfortable do you think it would be?

I think there would be a constant worry that you'd be splitting your pants! And that's the scary thing! I might consider a skirt if it wasn't too tight and if it had a lining underneath it. I would carry a bag. I think I would be too nervous to wear a bandeau top or something — I imagine newspaper would make a great one! And there's always hats, which I've seen on the runway this week at Fashion Week. There were some Stephen Jones creations at Donna Karan that if they weren't paper, looked like it.

Do you watch the show? Are you a fan of "Runway"?

I do! I think it's been particularly interesting this season to have it in L.A.

Who do you think is the front-runner so far?

I think you kind of have to wait until there's been five or six challenges. Everyone seems to have different strengths that comes out in the early challenges, but it’s hard to get a sense of their full range until you've seen them do several different things.

Who's your favorite judge on the show?

I love Michael Kors' clothes. Michael fits my personal style. He was born to be on television. As a writer, I'm always thinking, How is he so quick?

Secret snark-teleprompter in his watch?


Is there anyone from past seasons whose work you saw on the show and since then you've noticed how much they’ve grown as a designer?

I just saw Christian Siriano's collection. I thought it was really cool. The prints were gorgeous. There was a volcanic print and an ocean print. He's got a lot of skill with draping and an edge to his clothes that I like. The shoes he did for Payless were just out of control! I don't think they're going to be reproduced quite the same way for them, but people have responded really well to them. Maybe they should reconsider!

I was surprised at how comfortable they were. Forty bucks? Boots? Christian Siriano? Hello!

Exactly! I also love Rami Kashou. We go to the same gym in Los Angeles, so I see him all the time! I think he's an amazing designer when it comes to draping and these Greek goddess creations. He always does gowns in a really surprising way, and I wish him well for sure.

If you could create your very own challenge and throw it out to the designers, what would you have them do?

I'm in the middle of traveling for a whole month for all the Fashion Week shows, so it's on my mind! It would have to be something to do with travel — coming up with two or three pieces that could be worn for an entire week in different weeks. I've literally had 100 pounds of luggage with me. It's such a pain to always try and plan outfits when you're gone for so long. I love to sit down with a notebook and I try to think of how things can be worn in different ways, and it never works out, or you never have what you need because of the weather you encounter. I think that's something that’s challenging, and it speaks to what's challenging to designers right now, which is how to come up with pieces that are versatile, multipurpose and seasonless.