Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Project Runway Auditions

So, I just got back from Project Runway Auditions only minutes ago. I was done at the audition 2 hours ago, but just made the track back to my friend's apartment where I am staying in Chicago.

What a long day! I got up at about 6 am, left the house at 7, took a train and then a taxi to get there and arrived at the W Hotel around 8:10 am. Auditions started at 9 and we and we waited around in line for a LONG, cold and windy time. I took three pieces with me to show the judges. Two of them are pictured in this post and the third was the plaid skirt in fall colors with silk trim that's shown in two of my other posts. My friend Dalla went with me and patiently waited out the whole day. I was 52nd in line and didn't get inside to the holding room until around 1 o'clock. Then we waited around for another really long time, because when we got in there they were only interviewing #30, but at least it was warm inside, and we could feel our toes and fingers again. Did I mention I was wearing heels? I wanted to look nice but I knew it was going to suck.

Me, in line at PR auditions, on a blustery Chicago morning

So, we waited around in the holding room for almost another two hours, watching person after person come back upset and clearly having been turned away. There were large clothing racks set up throughout the room and you could see everything that everyone else had brought with them to show to the judges. There was an awful lot of really costume-y and unrefined types of things that you didn't have to be a judge to know that that person was going to be shot down. The more I saw the more I felt confident in the pieces I had brought with me.

Dalla took a break at one point to go and try to find some coffee and ran into Nick Verreos (he was the guest past-competitor judge in Chicago) in the elevator. She didn't talk to him as he was talking with someone who just auditioned and telling him that his (the guy who was auditioning )personality AND designs were just amazing. Other than that we didn't see anyone who looked like they had been moved on to the next stage until the very end.

The whole time we really only talked to two other people, the designer in front of us, Lia Joy and her significant other, (whose name I somehow managed to not catch the entire time I was there), who was there as moral support and to help carry large clothing items.

At around 2:50 it was FINALLY my turn to go in and talk to the judges. I was sooo nervous but I don't think it was showing too much. I went down the hall to the audition room, they put a mic on me then sent me it. As I walked in they all said hello and asked how I was doing. I put my three pieces up on the clothing rack and Tim asked me to spread them out so they could see them, right as I was doing just that. Tim said that everything looked excellently constructed, Nick agreed. Then Tim said "But it's just to basic." To which Nick agreed, but I didn't! I know that of all the tips online about auditioning for the show it always says stick up for yourself against the judges. I was totally prepared to defend my work but Tim says "We're going to have to pass, thank you" before I can even get a syllable out of my mouth. Honestly, I was really surprised. They didn't even ask to look at my portfolio, which has much stranger things in it. I couldn't even manage to say thank you as I took my designs off the rack and walked out of the room, I was too shocked. I kind of felt a little bad about that, but whatever. I'm sure that's just a second of time I saved them to talk to someone else.

This dress made from brown and cream wool tweed fabric and lined and trimmed with a nude colored silk charmeuse. I gave it some interested style lines which I thought were really unique. It's hard to see in the photo, and I'll take a better one later of me wearing it and replace this one with that. It came out gorgeous, fits like a glove and I couldn't have been happier with it.

So, yeah. I'm a little bit upset right now, but I went into this knowing that there was only a SLIM chance that I would be moved on to the next round, and also knowing how to-the-point the judges are in these auditions, so I wasn't totally unprepared. Holy run-on sentence! I felt that the work I took with me WAS really good, and maybe if they had actually taken a second to ask me about it I could have explained to them why it WASN'T basic and what made it special that maybe they couldn't see in the 30 seconds they looked at it before sending me away. Literally, I was in that room for less than a minute. I wanted the pieces I took to the audition to look like they came from the same collection and also to look like something that every woman would want to wear every single day. They are by no means plain, but they also aren't over the top crazy either, because that's not what's going to sell to the general market. They were flawlessly constructed by the way, so that must count for something and at least they were nice enough to compliment that. I think that the judges and producers were so caught up about how "couture" the 4th season was that that was all they were looking for. The girl that came out of the audition room 3 or 4 people before me got passed on to the next round. Her clothes weren't interesting, they were made using horrible fabrics and they weren't constructed nicely at all. However, one of her pieces had layers upon layers of the same fabric and looked EXACTLY like something that Christian would have made, just not as nice. Really people, it's not new, hard or exciting to sew a million layers, it just takes freaking forever. Note to self - take pieces to audition that you copied from the previous season's winner.

Also, advise to any future hopefuls - stay away from the sequins!!! I only saw ONE person all day long be asked to leave before she even made it to the holding room. She had brought store-bought jeans which she hand-sewed sequins all over. Frightening, to say the least. And people, please! That does not make you a fashion designer. It might make you crafty and handy with a needle but don't waste your time. Especially to stand in 40 degree weather for 5 hours.

One of the pieces I took with me to the audition. it's made entirely from the same piece of dupioni silk. The silk the body was cut from was washed about 5 times and the fabric used for the collar, cuffs and bottom trim wasn't washed at all. There are tucks at the front neckline to create that extra fullness, and stitched down tucks up center bag that add more interesting detail to the piece. I made this in one day!

So, I guess that's all really. I am a little disappointed but I'm certainly not going to freak out and say "I quit designing because Tim Gunn says my stuff is too basic!" He's not the only opinion that matters in the fashion world, just one of them. And it must be really difficult for them to actually evaluate you thoroughly when there are 150 more people waiting in line that they need to at least try and audition as well. I've had friends who auditioned be told MUCH worse things so I'm not losing sleep over it. If there is a 6th season I will absolutely audition again and this time I'll be even more prepared and have WAY more stuff added to my portfolio (should they decide to actually look at it).

In the meantime, I have something that might be a little more exciting and DEFINITELY less stressful, up my sleeve, but I won't know more about that til the end of this month. Happy April Fool's Day everyone! I must have definitely played a joke on myself thinking I had this one nailed. :-/


LazyTcrochet said...

Cheers to you! It sounds like you handled yourself quite well and nothing's going to sop you now!
Hope to see your pictures.

Blue's Creative Outlet said...

Aw, that sucks Jes. I'm sorry it didn't work out. What a let down. I can't believe they don't give you more than a second - and you can't even speak. At least at American Idol you get to sing for more than a second, AND THEN you can even insult the judges as you walk out the door! (made as a passing attempt to joke a little, haha) Ugh, that really really sucks. I hope the next secret thing you have coming up is awesome for you.

Kate said...

I'm proud of you for trying! And while it totally blows that you didn't make it to the next round, your work is amazing and that's all that matters.

Mixed Species said...

Kudos to you on enduring the audition process. It will only make you stronger in any kind of future audition situation! And thanks for the sequins advice. We'll make sure to leave our bedazzled beef jerky underwear out of our collection if we ever audition! Cheers!

RainbowMom said...

Good for you for having the courage to audition! I hope whatever you have up your sleeve turns out! When one door closes another door opens they say. :D

SecretMe said...

good for you, you gave it a go, and yes they didnt give you enough time and totally inconsiderate. why couldnt they be more organised and spread it over a longer period of time, I'm sure they have the money. Dont fret your work is great and I can tell that you put alot of thought and work into it as you sounded really worried. their loss.

Waterrose said...

Well at least you gave it a shot and learned what might be a winning combo in the future. I know they have to get through a lot of people, but to not even listen to the idea...what good is that?

Karma by Morgan said...

i commend you for trying! it is really hard to sell yourself and your lifes work...I know how that feels.

Dont stop creating! You have a great talent!

Tressa said...

Oh, Honey I'm so sorry. I hope you are okay. I know how hard you worked for this. I hope you had some fun with your friend during your visit there.

Kellybot said...

Thanks for posting all that - it was a very interesting read. I was rooting for you! Good luck next time!

thimblescratch said...

Congrats for making it to 'the room' which is further than I got. And your pieces were great!

Does anyone else see the irony of Tim Gunn saying something is too basic?

matilda sue said...

Hey - Tim saw your work - how many people can say that! Amazing - I am jealous you had the guts to go that far!