The Project Runway Blog
Category: "laura bennett"
"Project Runway" Season 3 finalist Laura Bennett will be making a book signing appearance at Borders Columbus Circle in New York City on April 7 at 7 pm for her new book "Didn't I Feed You Yesterday? A Mother's Guide To Sanity In Stilettos," available online and in stores April 6.
Read an excerpt from her forthcoming book now to find out what "Project Runway" is like ... from the designer's point of view!
Chapter 10: Laura's Got a Gunn
"Being on 'Project Runway' was a lot like childbirth; when you are in the middle of it, it's painful, but when it's all over, you're glad you did it."
About six years ago, between kids number four and five, I stumbled upon a new obsession: reality television. And not just any reality television. On "Project Runway," a mixed assortment of completely crazy fashion designers are given little time and less money to craft a runway-worthy garment good enough to get them past the even crazier judges and on to the next week's challenge. It had me at auf Wiedersehen. I loved the characters, the obstacles, and the creativity and no one had to eat live worms.
I am no stranger to the impossible. Work two jobs, go to grad school and single-handedly rear my daughter in a city where I know not one soul? Sure, no problem. Find a second husband and give him five boys in 10 years, rearing them all in a two-bedroom apartment in the middle of Manhattan while continuing my career as an architect? Don't make me shrug. Create a killer dress from a paperclip and a piece of lint? Freaking cakewalk.
I tried to share my love by telling everyone to watch the show with me, but reality television, with its lowbrow reputation, was too hard a sell in my house not to mention the part about people sewing dresses. I did manage to convince my nine-year-old, Truman, to sit by my side as I yelled at the screen disagreeing with the comments of the judges, or questioning the design decision of a contestant and that was because the show aired past his bedtime. One late night as I was watching an episode I had already seen at least 14 times, Truman looked up at me from where he lay.
"That dress should not have been cut on the bias," he muttered. "Mom, you can do better than that."
You're right, I thought. That fabric is not bias friendly. I could do better with my eyes closed. I hadn't been to fashion school, but I had learned to sew when I was tiny, and my architecture training had honed my sense of design to a razor-sharp edge. I'd been making fantastic, elegant black-tie event dresses for years; I knew how to drape and make patterns without ever really thinking about it. As I sat on the couch, Truman gently snoring during the runway segment, it occurred to me that I could audition for the next season. What was there to lose? At least if I got cast all my friends and family would have to watch the show with me, even if I didn't make it very far.
I found the New York City open call on the Bravo site it was to be held in three days. I couldn't believe my luck. The interviews would be at Macy's, only three blocks away, so I wouldn't have to travel or make any crazy arrangements for the kids. It really was a no-brainer.
I wasn't sure what they would be looking for, so I decided to bring what I do best, grabbing three sparkling cocktail dresses from the clothing rack in my bedroom. I was flying blind, trying to remember what contestants had shown up with in the past and gleaning what I could from the Internet. I figured my chances were about as slim as an African American ever becoming president, but then again, why not me? I can out-gay the gayest young male designer out there, I told myself. The night before the auditions, I ignored the March forecast of "continued cold snap" and selected a shimmery sleeveless cocktail dress rife with hand beading and a neckline that plunges to the navel. When I pulled it on the next morning, I hoped I would stand out from the crowd.