In the words of "Project Runway" guru Tim Gunn, Minnesota made it work at the premiere party for the show's sixth season.

The lobby and ballroom of the St. Paul Hotel were packed Aug. 20 with some 350 well-heeled VIP fashionistas who showed up to cheer on their hometown contestants -- Ra'mon- Lawrence Coleman, formerly of Minneapolis, and Christopher Straub of Shakopee.

The dapper St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (no relation to contestant Coleman) was in the front row. "Tonight, St. Paul is at the center of the fashion universe," he said, adding, "People say I look a little like Tim Gunn, but he's older and richer."

Further dopplegängers were not required in the case of Straub and Coleman, who sat across the aisle from each other and shot each other knowing and surprised looks. It was the first time they'd seen the episode as well.

When both Straub and Coleman were singled out as having top red-carpet designs, the room nearly burst with excitement (and champagne). Then, when Straub was named the winner, screeches were heard all around.

"I really found myself as a designer," Straub said of his experience on the show.

Since Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, Heidi Klum and guest judge Lindsay Lohan all loved his petal- covered and ruffled cocktail frock, it was clear that was the case.

No worries about the team-Minnesota guys being auf'd any time soon.

Sara Glassman • 612-673-7177