Project Runway Stars Shine at Fashion Week El Paseo

The designers sold out the Big White Tent and return today for a trunk show

‘Project Runway’ Stars Shine at Fashion Week El Paseo. The designers sold out the Big White Tent

Gerry Maceda

Some may consider it remarkable. Others think it’s a stroke of good fortune. Whatever you want to call it, spectators at Wednesday night’s Stars of Project Runway show at Fashion Week El Paseo agreed that it was cool to see clothes by two of the three show finalists the night before one of them could be crowned champion of Lifetime Television’s “Project Runway All-Stars.”

The popular show, which pits past-season contestants against each other for a second chance at taking home a championship title, wraps up tonight with Fashion Week El Paseo designers Mondo Guerro and Michael Costello vying for the crown against season one runner-up Austin Scarlet.

On Wednesday night at Fashion Week El Paseo, seven of the show’s contestants — Gordana Gehlausen, Mila Hermanovski, Michael Drummond, Seth Aaron, Josh Christensen, Michael Costello, and Mondo Guerro, who wasn’t able to make the trek in person because of doctor’s orders — sent their new collections down the catwalk.

“American Idol” contestant Pia Toscano sang to the sold out, standing room-only crowd wearing one of Costello’s designs.

And the hometown hero was clearly the evening’s star, not only by measure of audience response (he dressed all the Fashion Week El Paseo Divas sitting front and center, and those women can cheer), but also by his clothes.

“This was the first time a collection didn’t completely cause me stress,” Costello says of his neutral, ’70s-infused eveningwear. The six-way stretch material he used allowed him to forgo his standard model fittings, which anyone watching his collection of backless and Grecian gowns, jumpsuits, and beautifully draped, forest green chiffon numbers wouldn’t have guessed. He also returned to a trusty old trademark — the high leg slit.

“I used to make prom dresses for my friends in high school, and I got banned from the prom because of that,” he says. “I thought it was time to bring it back.”

Costello wasn’t the only standout last night. Mila Hermanovski, who showed her complete collection during L.A. Fashion Week last weekend, showed a polished, architecturally inspired selection of color block dresses, sharp cut vests, and leather-rimmed androgynous tuxedo jackets.

“My collection is nowhere near done,” says Hermanovski, who lives in L.A. and is trying to place her line placed in boutiques. “I’m trying to recover from all this now, and hopefully show in New York in September. We’ll see.”

The most exciting moment of all was a blink-and-you’d-miss-it detail of Hermanovski’s show — the geometric, 3-D jewelry, which was custom-made for her by Seattle-based designer Sarah Loertscher.

“Her stylist did a Google search for ‘geometric jewelry’ and my name came up!” Loertscher explained of her accidental pairing with Hermanovski. The two worked together to create huge, hollow geo-dome cocktail rings, breastplate necklaces that look like abstract house frames, and shape-heavy post earrings in sterling and oxidized silver that could be seen in full view from the back of a packed fashion week tent.

“Mila told me to make everything as big as I could, so I did,” Loertscher says of the designs, which will be on offer at today’s Project Runway trunk show for $400-$600.

The duo will continue the serendipitous pairing. “Our designs are so complimentary and based on structures and lines,” Hermanovski says. “We’re on the same page.”

Meet the Stars of Project Runway today and shop their goods at the Big White Fashion Tent on El Paseo and Larkspur Lane from 10:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. on 3-22-2012




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