Runway ready

Posted on 13 Aug 2009 at 6:19pm
By Lawrence Ferber Contributing Writer

The (very gay) sixth season of ‘Project Runway’ finally hits the catwalk


SEW WHAT?: Christopher Straub, left, and Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman are among the gay ‘Runway’ hopefuls this season.

We’ve waited a Lifetime for the sixth season of "Project Runway." After a controversial jump-ship from Bravo to Lifetime last summer, and ensuing lawsuits between the Weinstein Company and Bravo’s parent, NBC Universal, kept the show from airing, "Project Runway" finally premieres on Lifetime on Thursday.

Relocated from NYC to Los Angeles, the sixth season sees host Heidi Klum and fashion mentor Tim Gunn return, and a fresh gaggle of 16 competitors. Amongst the ranks of openly gay contestants: Ra’mon-Lawrence Coleman, 31, and Christopher Straub, 30. ("There were two fantastic heterosexual male designers. Go team gay!" Staub notes.) We sat down with both.
Debuts on Lifetime, Aug. 20 at 9 p.m.

Q. This season was shot almost a year ago. What was it like having to wait so long for it to air? 

Straub: For the longest time, I wasn’t sure it was actually going to air — it was being referred to as the "lost season." It was very depressing. Looking back, I’ve had time to really focus and figure out my game plan so it’s ended up being a total blessing: getting my ducks in a row and creating a collection.

Coleman: If anything, I think we had an opportunity as a cast to be a little bit more mentally prepared for what the future might be, which has been a blessing and a curse.

Did you watch Bravo’s "The Fashion Show," their "Project Runway" fill-in? 

Straub: I think everyone was comparing it to "PR" and when you do that, it’s not a success. I saw the vision of the show: to make wearable pieces that are going to sell right now, which from a marketing standpoint is a really good idea. But when you put it on the perspective of this is something you can find at JCPenney it dilutes the fashion.

Did anyone purposely try and come up with a catchphrase this year, a la Christian Siriano’s "hot trannie mess" and "fierce?" 

Straub: Johnny [Sakalis] is the only one that said, "I have a catchphrase!" But it’s funny because there may be something you say two times in a week but it gets edited into one show so then [it looks like] you say it all the time.

Speaking of editing, one could get the impression that Tim Gunn comes in and says "Make it work!" and that’s that. Is there more substantive input between the designers and Gunn? 

Coleman: Tim is definitely an amazing person with a great eye and perspective. There’s much more that happens than can get into a half hour or hour time slot, so definitely he’s there as much as possible and equally for everyone and unbiased for all the designers. More than five minutes [each] for sure.

Straub: He does have a lot to say, but his position is not to tell us what to do but ask us what direction, what are we trying to [create], and then step back and [say], "From my perspective, this is what I see." You only have a certain amount of time and have to make it work. There’s no other recourse than to carry on, because if you stop now you’re going to be nowhere.

What’s the best dirt you heard about past seasons and their contestants?  Straub: You’re digging somewhere, because I had heard that Christian Siriano did not sew his final collection. I know! Bad, huh? Now I feel bad! Don’t put it in … You’re going to put it in.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition August 14, 2009.

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