Movieline Interviews Seth Aaron Henderson, the Winner of Project Runway
Following a nail-biting finale against competitors Mila Hermanovski and Emilio Sosa, Seth Aaron Henderson was declared Project Runway's season seven champion. His Bryant Park collection comprised the cold and the carnivalesque. Leathers, plaids, Harlequin prints, and military jackets dominated his presentation, adding up to an explosive palette and hell of an opening statement on fashion's biggest stage. Movieline caught up with Seth Aaron this morning to discuss his big win, making Tim Gunn get on a trampoline, and what he's going to do with the strangest part of his earnings.
First of all, congratulations!
You were one of the first designers to show a signature style early on. Was that a big part of your plan? To make your aesthetic unmistakable straight away?
I mean, yeah, absolutely. You're there, and the [judges] don't know who we are. The judges, they don't see any past or previous work, anything. So the first challenge was, "Who are you?" Well, I know who I am. So that's what I showed them. You have to stay consistent. The other designers -- all the others were amazing, and they were really good at what they did. But I think the problem was for each challenge, they were kind of up and down, and that's why they were in the top and the bottom, or the middle. It was just important to show who you were and stay with it.
You put Tim Gunn on a trampoline at your house, and I'd like to thank you for that.
Was that fantastic or what? You know, he'd never been on a trampoline. He told me that. He noticed it in the backyard, and I said, "Guess what, you're going on it now."
What was it like fielding that massive criticism from him at your house? When he told you to eliminate most of what you'd made, how did you react?
It was pretty great. Number one, it was awesome to have him at my house. He spent the whole day there, so he feels like family now. His critique was totally expected. For me, I expected that from him. I stuck with my plan originally still. I mean, the first portion, the pre-collection I had done -- it was totally expected of me. I had my second part to complete, which is what you saw on the runway. I didn't change plans. I guess he confirmed what I already knew.
After Tim's visit, we ended up seeing more color, more loud, Harlequin-style prints. Can you talk about your decision to head that way?
Well, originally that was my plan from the beginning -- to use some bold, bright colors. But then I go, "Let me work through the normal, muted colors I use and so on, get that out of my system, and then move on to what you ended up ultimately seeing." But I mean, all those colors -- I love red, I love yellow. I used my favorite colors -- well, black's not really a color --- but outside of black and white, those were my favorite colors. The inspiration behind it being Russian and German military from the '40s wasn't literal as far as, you know, making uniforms. More like I'm making a bold graphic statement that people won't forget.
On the final runway, guest-judge Faith Hill seemed like she was gunning for Emilio. Did you have doubts about whether you'd win on the runway?
The editing, the editing version that we saw -- it would appear that way. But Faith loved mine. She said it to my face. So, no I wasn't worried. There was a chance that anyone could win. I mean, it could've been Mila, you know what I mean? All three of us sat down after the show and said, "What's done is done. It's strictly going to be up to personal taste. We're all happy for each other. We'll be good with the outcome."
What on Earth are you going to do with this giant "technology center" you've been awarded?
I'm really excited to see what that involves! Because I added up: They could give me this computer, that computer, this, that. Well, gee, that's about $4,000, $5,000. Are they giving me a whole building to put this in? Are they giving me a whole loft to put the design studio in? What could be involved in that? They didn't tell me specifically what's included in that. They just told me a $50,000 design suite.
Last question: The reunion. Was it an easygoing or hostile experience? It appeared both ways for the viewers at home.
In general, we all got along... pretty well. Or I got along with everyone just fine. There was a little bit of everything, actually. So I mean what you saw, it was like that. It was laughing, and getting along, and then, "What do you think?" or "What happened here?" Then there were some words thrown, and... it really happened that way. It's a reunion!
Again, congrats. Thank you!