On Thursday's finale of Project Runway Season 10, the final four designers showed their collections at Fashion Week after receiving harsh criticism from the judges that they needed to overhaul their collections.
In the end, former ballroom dancer-turned-designer Dmitry Sholokhov from Belarus took home the crown, beating out Fabio Costa, Melissa Fleis and Christopher Palu. His collection was inspired by organic architecture and featured strong geometric shapes and textiles that the judges deemed luxurious, editorial and highly commercial.
When Sholokov heard host Heidi Klum announce him as the winner, he could hardly react. "By that time, all of us were so emotionally, physically and creatively drained," he tells TVGuide.com. "All the adrenaline was out of your body. I can't even explain — it was a sense of relief and a sense of calmness. I became very calm and very accomplished. Like, 'Mission accomplished.'"
Check out the rest of Sholokhov's interview in which he discusses that darn baby challenge, the conflict with Elena and the phrase "one-way monkey":
I loved that diamond textile you used both in the jacket and dress. What were your favorite pieces in your final collection?
Dmitry Sholokhov: I had quite a few. I definitely like that jacket with the textile and the fringed-sleeve and the [matching] dress. And the yellow dress and the silver dress. Almost every piece I loved because I wouldn't send it down the runway something I wouldn't quite love. There were a couple of pieces that could be better, but most of it I loved.
What did you think of the judges' original critique [in the Finale Part 1] that your styling was kind of old and matronly? Did you see that before they mentioned it?
Sholokhov: A little bit. The thing is, we were so limited with time. We didn't really spend any time for styling. My original idea was to do the hair and makeup the way I
did it for the finale. It was just no time to express it. For the clothing, it was whatever fit at that point because we had no time for fitting anything. Of course, altogether some of the looks, the looked a bit older, mature. But again... that's actually the customer who's going to buy your clothing and keep your business alive. So why not?
Is there any piece that people have been asking you to produce, like the jacket or the sheer top with attached necklace?
Sholokhov: Oh, I can't even point to just one thing. I've gotten so much custom-made requests from so many emails with people asking, "Where can I buy that?" It's all over the place. The dresses, definitely my tailored pieces. The jacket — everyone wants the jacket. Everyone.
Who do you think was your biggest competitor in the finale?
Sholokhov: In the finale, it was definitely Fabio, in my eyes.
It was so difficult to watch Fabio break down after he lost to you. Was it hard for you to see that too?
Sholokhov: Oh, definitely. I mean, at some point I felt bad for winning. You know? Like it was a bittersweet moment. It's like you win, but then it was so hard to face the other designers. We got so close. We all are so different, but we had such a great dynamic and it was a weird feeling.
Beyond the final runway show, what was the most difficult challenge you did on the show?
Sholokhov: I think the kids' challenge, for sure. It was so new for me, and you can't control the kid. Plus, the mom was so opinionated. Plus, we had the electronic baby to take care of. It was just extremely overwhelming. This was the only challenge where I actually felt like I was going to lose it. I was really mad just because I felt it was so unnecessary to put us through this hell! [Laughs] But it was a great episode for sure. It was very interesting and very funny to see.
And yet, your design with the hood-cape thing was my favorite. It was so fun!
Sholokhov: I loved it too. I thought for a kid it was very unique and interesting.
You once mixed up a phrase: Instead of "one-trick pony" you accidentally called someone a "one-way monkey." I loved that! Have people joked with you about that?
Sholokhov: One-way monkey. [Laughs] Definitely in a lot of my comments, people are quoting me now. All over the Internet. It comes to me naturally. I never think of it. It's just the way I say things. People find that really funny.
But in this competition you proved you're not a one-way monkey!
Sholokhov: Thank God! Because, yeah, it was getting to the point where I was making only dresses. But the thing is, with these challenges, because I paid so much attention to detail and quality, for me it's easier to make a dress with the time frame [given]. I send this beautiful dress out down the runway, [instead] of two pieces that are not quite there. For me, I was just a little bit nervous that I can't deliver the quality of my work in other pieces. But then I kind of pushed myself and I proved everybody wrong.
Sometimes in editing, these show make a big deal out of conflicts. It seemed that you and Elena got on each other's nerves. Was that real or just the way the show depicted you guys?
Sholokhov: Oh no, it's true! Elena had an argument with everyone on the show. With everyone. She definitely had a problem with me for no reason. Well, she had her own reason, and I think it was coming out of her insecurity. She was just getting to my bones with her comments. She would try to throw you out of your game by making those comments behind your back. It was very immature and not professional at all and very unnecessary with all the drama and all the cursing and running around.
What's next for you as far as your designs and career?
Sholokhov: I definitely would love to start my own brand, but it's not that easy. So I need to find a business partner and I need to find an investor. So hopefully it's going to happen for me. Hopefully I'll show my collection next fall. And I'm open to other opportunities. I have no idea where this is going to take me.
But before you jump right back into work, you get a break from the competition. What do you like to do to relax and unwind?
Sholokhov: I just went to Puerto Rico with friends for four days. I've traveled quite a lot in my life, but the biggest relaxation for me is the beach environment and the water. That's the place where I just don't think about any problems.
Do you just kick back or do you participate in the sports?
Sholokhov: I swim and I jet-ski and all the fun stuff. I'm very athletic and I constantly go running, I go biking, I go to the gym. I used to be a professional ballroom dancer, so I keep in shape. If I'm without physical activity for more than three days, I don't feel right.
So how did you handle being on Project Runway without exercise?
Sholokhov: Well, it was enough physical activity there. [Laughs] We barely slept!
Are you happy that Dmitry won?
Project Runway returns with its second all-stars season Thursday, Oct. 25 at 9/8c on Lifetime.