Movieline Interviews Christiane King, the First Eliminated Contestant on Project Runway


Project Runway is an unfriendly behemoth, and it's forced to chew up and spit out someone every episode, even the first. Unfortunately in last night's premiere, Heidi Klum zeroed in on L.A.-based designer Christiane King, whose dress was deemed poorly executed and disjointed. Movieline caught up with the 30-year-old Côte d'Ivoire native to discuss last night's elimination and the designer whose dress she thought was more worth an auf'ing.

Was there a particular challenge you most looked forward to?

I was really looking forward to the challenges using unconventional materials. The grocery store challenge that they had, the car challenge that they had from season five. I think these really show creativity and how someone could problem-solve, in a way. I mean, I think the dress I would come up with would depend what I'm working with. But you'd definitely see what I'm all about, which is creating some textures and layers, and just complimenting the woman's body.

There have been certain character types and design aesthetics that have become cliches on Project Runway. What did you think your style and methods were going to add to the show?

I really didn't go in there thinking about anyone else but myself. I just wanted to make something i'd be proud, that would represent me. This season had a really great group of designers with a great design philosophy. It's really great to see that. Everyone had something to give, and that was refreshing.

You live in L.A. Were you disappointed to see Runway move back to its New York headquarters?

I was actually really sad, because, you know, L.A. is my 'hood! So I thought it'd be great, you know, wherever we'd go, I'd be able to connect to... season six went to the Getty Center, and I would go there a lot. I would've been able to really connect, and where to go, and all those things. But I think I really enjoyed New York. It's such a different feel, a very inspiring city. I was very happy we ended up doing there.

Did you have your grocery store look all planned out, or were you planning on winging it?

I was going to wing it. When I went to the grocery store, I thought about what I'd grab. With the challenge at hand, I'd just make it work and make it happen. I didn't really want to rehearse it.

Is receiving criticism on the runway as harrowing as it looks? Or were you expecting that kind of scrutiny?

I auditioned five times for the show before I actually made it. I'm very used to criticism, positive or negative. I think I'm very strong and I know my own worth, and that makes it very easy to take positive or negative criticism and choose whatever will take me further in my career. I was kind of ready for that. It is pretty brutal, the things they say, and not everything was aired last night. But I was definitely used to it, and I think the whole experience of the cameras, being under the spotlight, which is really hot, by the way, it's really draining in a way.

If you could defend your dress again to the judges, what would you say?

I think that I basically did talk about my design philosophy. I decided to use the contrasting fabric and kind of let the pattern and the color blocking to create a very interesting effect, and with the twisting in the front and the back, I felt I achieved that. It's flirty and feminine, which is what I'm all about. I like to stay on the creative side of classic. I was really proud of my dress. I do a lot of partial draping, not entire draping that you see all over the place. That was one of Michael's criticism, and I said, "No, that's not me. What I do is partial draping, and I hope you like it."

Did you think your dress was better than Jesus's?

Um, yes.

[Laughs] I don't necessary agree with the bottom three or the top three.

Really? Would your bottom three have been different?

I don't even know what I started on this, I won't name any names. There's some amazing designers out there, and I really, really wish them all, and we're all in this together, and only we can understand what it's like to be on the show. So I'm supportive of all of them, really. ♦