NEW YORK, September 26, 2013/ FW/ — Entitled ‘Discussion with the Designers of Project Runway Season 12,’ the talented finalists from Project Runway Season 12 presented their Spring 2014 collections at the Project Runway Season 12 finale runway show at Lincoln Center during Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week.
The designers’ capsule collections were judged by the esteemed fashion judging panel including Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Zac Posen, and Emmy nominated actress and guest judge, Kerry Washington.
Fashion Windows catches with the talented designers, Alexander Pope and Helen Castillo, from Project Runway Season 12.
Fashion Windows: How did you first get into designing?
Alexander Pope: Well, I’m gay, so everything fell into place from there…
Helen Castillo: My parents are both fine artists so I’ve grown up surrounded by creativity. Out of
curiosity I started taking a sewing course at FIT when I was 13 and it must have
been fate, I’ve been glued to the sewing machine since.
What was the inspiration for your latest collection presented at the Project Runway Season 12 Finale Show?
AP: I wanted to continue my influences from the Glamping challenge, so I designed an
extension of my gown from that challenge.
HC: My first collection ever created, was with Project Runway. The opportunity alone was
inspiring! I decided to go with romantic silhouettes and use an abstract inspiration
of ‘Clairvoyance’ which I translated through the ‘eye’ print I created and the use
of structured silhouettes to give an impression of ‘capturing’ that ‘vision.’ I used
a lot of sculpted shoulders and my color palette of cool blues versus a vibrant
blood orange to being a calmness to chaos.
What were your favorite materials and hues used in your latest collection?
AP: I used a lot of different kinds of crepe, all silk of course. I also had this cool,
and different looking, wool and silk blend for my jackets and foundations. Blue paid
a big part in my collection too; cobalts, midnights etc. I also threw some deep
violet and also black, a staple color of mine, in there.
HC: I’ve almost always used subdued color palettes but as a young designer my aesthetic
is constantly evolving. The opportunity to show my first collection, at Lincoln
Center, no less for the spring 2014 season, what better time to break out of my
comfort zone. I’ve been really drawn to ‘blood orange’ with this inspiration and I
thought, if any color is more severe and dramatic, the perfect shade of red was a
What are your favorite looks in your collection?
AP: I love my white and black printed chiffon ‘Branch’ gown. It’s light, sheer, feminine
and is all draped on a foundation bodice.
HC: My favorite looks in my collection are my vibrant short cape and double high slit
high-lo fitted skirt in the vibrant canvas print, my opening look which was the
high-lo blood orange gabardine top with croc embossed calf leather skirt, and my
closing look, a navy flitted high-lo cape top with the patent leather pleated mini
What influences you to design?
AP: Art is the biggest influence for me… but fabric plays a huge part in it too. I
just love going to fabric stores and looking around because that’s when my
imagination really starts racing!
HC: Everything inspires me, mostly abnormal shapes in nature, it’s always a matter of
narrowing that down to the specific elements that work best with the silhouettes I
have in mind. I often like to sketch first, as that’s my comfort zone having grown
up around artists, and from there, drape and form shapes with the sketches that
inspire numerous possibilities.
What has been the best moment in your career thus far?
AP: I’ve had so many great moments in my career. I’ve worked on so many great
Broadway shows, with so many wonderful designers, actors and directors,building
some of the most intricate garments ever on stage!
HC: My best career moment so far has been the honor of interning for Vivienne Westwood
in London. Although that experience is certainly neck in neck with showing at
fashion week. If It weren’t for what I’ve learned at my internships, I would not be
as esteemed a designer I am now.
What is your best career advice for aspiring fashion designers?
AP: Research. I’ve met so many young, aspiring designers that couldn’t tell you who
anyone was from even ten years ago. Learn your history honey!
HC: My best career advice for aspiring designers is to NEVER say NEVER. No designer pops
out of the womb and instantly succeeds in this industry, you need to endure a lot of
trial and error, take the fails as a learning experience and stay strong.
Do you have anything else to add?
HC: If there was anything I could possibly tell every aspiring designer and industry
professional in fashion design, every one starts from the bottom, it’s a matter of
having the eye for design that will carry you to the top.
For More Information about Project Runway, Check Out:
[DARBY RADCLIFF] Photos by Darby Radcliff