Fashionistas Get a Piece of ‘Project Runway’

The Drama and Designs of Project Runway Trunk Show

Adrianne Bonafede

It’s one thing to take your style cues from the irreverent and urbane looks seen on television. It’s another thing entirely when the fashions that barrel down the runway are there to be touched, examined, and purchased. That’s the joy Project Runway trunk show attendees experienced on Thursday. The anticipated retail event fell on the heels of the Project Runway press conference and fashion show held the previous day. Each designer displayed a distinctive point of view and gave attendees a taste of their individuality.

A line to enter the event formed before the doors opened at the big white tent at El Paseo and Larkspur Lane. Many attendees were eager to see what their favorite designers had in store.

“I’m here to see all of them,” said Ami Fisher, who was one of the first into the venue.

As the doors opened, Gordana Gehlhausen from season 6 introduced her bold selection of form-fitting skirts and motorcycle-inspired jackets. Several standout pieces from her line included a multicolored chevron dress and a fiery red sari, which added a bit of Bollywood flair to her collection.

Season 7 winner Seth Aaron Henderson made a statement by showcasing a capsule collection in black and white. Attendees were quick to empty his rack of garments, which paid homage to icons like Edie Sedgwick and Deborah Harry. Dresses were cut in A-line silhouettes, or adored with punk-rock studded hardware, and leather detailing.

“[The show] went really well for me last night. Really well,” he said. “There are some very important people interested in carrying my stuff.”

Season 5 finalist Korto Momolou’s post-Project Runway focus has been on her new jewelry line. Each necklace, bracelet, and set of earrings is a statement piece that demands to be noticed. Several standouts from her collection include a coral cluster necklace, which sits on a substantial copper chain, as well as a rhinestone-encrusted shark’s tooth necklace on an elegant black leather cord.

Season 9 designer Bert Keeter was on hand to fit customers in his stunning evening gowns and cocktail wear. His collection was a youthful exploration in color, with dresses in vibrant yellow, red, blue, and spring green hues — perfect for a red carpet moment or a socialite with penchant for gaining spectators.

“I think the only thing I haven’t done, really, are pants,” he joked.

Keeter’s season 9 cast mate, Viktor Luna, was all smiles as he greeted attendees. His mixed-media trench coat had exceptional rack appeal among his fan base. Luna also showcased a strapless orange evening gown, covered in an original print.

“That’s actually lava,” he said.

The intrepid designer enlarged his own photography for a custom print that he incorporated into a fitted blazer, as well.

Hometown favorite Michael Costello was a big draw — a one-man department store with a look and price point for any customer. He sold clothes from his ready-to-wear line, as well as his cocktail and evening line.

“Sixty dollars?” exclaimed one customer. “I can afford that!”

His ready-to-wear designs came in dazzling array of colors and silhouettes. Playful, form-fitting matte jersey dresses were a hit with his client base. He also displayed several unexpected pieces, like a luminous orange wrap dress that was so fresh and current, it might make the great Diane Von Furstenberg consider calling it a day.

The breakout star took the time to sign autographs with fans and also chatted with a number of his customers as they perused his racks. But it was his family that he kept on his mind during the event.

When asked about his son, Giovanni, a grin crept across Costello’s face, he softened, and replied, “He’s doing great.”

Costello even showed support for Henderson, rocking a black T-shirt with a screen-printed unicorn from his fellow designer’s line.

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