Chris March, <EM>Project Runway</EM> Chris March, Project Runway

Despite a brief tenure on Project Runway (Wednesdays at 10 pm/ET on Bravo), Chris March had already amassed a respectable fan base among viewers and the blogosphere. It's not surprising, given March had such a pleasant, even-keel presence on the show and brought one of the more unusual fashion backgrounds to the series. spoke with the freelance costume designer (skilled at creating outrageous 10-foot wigs and dresses resembling salad) about his Runway experience, which contestant to watch out for, and where his self-taught talents are taking him next. I was surprised last night — I really thought that Ricky would go home. Was the judges' opinion of your jacket a big enough deal for you to be kicked off?
Chris March: It's always difficult to predetermine what they think of what you've made. I honestly didn't think my jacket was bad enough to be eliminated over, but maybe combined with their opinion of the cohesiveness [of the three designs] and the modernity of everything, that's what happened. Do you regret any of the decisions you made about the fabric and design?
Chris: No, I think that under the circumstances — which, of course, on Project Runway the whole point of this is that the circumstances are difficult — we did a really good job. I think that we had some difficulty shopping, which is always like running a race. [Laughs] So we got what we could in the time period, and we worked with it as best we could. There were also challenges involved with it being a team working together. But I was relatively happy with what we came up with. What was it like working with your team?
Chris: We all got along very well. That's what I do a lot in my daily professional career — work with different people — and I'm really good at managing projects and that type of thing. You know, in that challenge I may have slightly misunderstood the idea of team leader. I think other designers chose to take it more as if they were the head designer of their collection, that they could tell the other people that they were working with what to make. Yeah, that did seem to be the case....
Chris: And to me, the people that were on my team were also up for elimination for what they were making, and so I needed to let them do what they envisioned but try to manage the overall idea and look without forcing them to do exactly what I wanted them to do. What did you think of the winning team's work, from Jillian, Rami and Kevin?
Chris: I think their overall presentation was incredibly polished. Everything goes by so quickly on the TV show, but their stuff fit so beautifully on each one of their girls. I think that combined with the presentation, the design and the overall fit, it really had the polish that was needed to win the challenge. So who do you think is gonna win this thing?
Chris: The whole show? [Laughs] That's a tough one. Rami seems to be the odds-on favorite, simply because of how successful he is already. But I tell ya, having been in the room with Christian, I think everybody should watch out! [Laughs] He's really talented. And he's fast! That's key in this contest.
Chris: Yeah, he's fast enough that if he makes something and doesn't particularly like it, he'll just make something else! He's like a little tornado! [Laughs] As for you, are you glad you did the show?
Chris: Oh yeah, I had a really great experience overall, and it was great to meet all the people. One of my favorite things in life is to have a big group experience — I grew up in a big family. So it was very fun for me, and I really like a lot of the people on the show. I was very surprised: I thought that it would be a lot more of a ... mess personality-wise. But actually I think that we all really liked each other. Is there anyone on the show you're surprised is still there?
Chris: Well, I suppose the obvious answer to that question is Elisa. I really respect what she does, and I think she is very talented and has a particular artistic viewpoint of the world and clothing. But on Project Runway, which is about commercial fashion design — where the hope is to create a line that can be sold to millions of people and produced over and over again — I think that her hand-sewing aesthetic is just not practical. So I'm a little bit surprised. Are you going to continue working as a freelance costume designer?
Chris: Yes! I just got an offer to do costumes for a movie. I also do interior design and props and, you know, I also make big giant wigs, and I just got an offer to design a wig store here in New York! I'm really looking forward to that. Sounds like a perfect fit!

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