Page 2 of 2 Previous
It’s so funny. My mother for years would say to me, “I found the loveliest girl for you.” “Mother, thank you. I’m not interested.” About three to four years before she died, she stopped saying that. There are some things that may have made me feel better to get off my chest and discuss with my mother, but I thought it’s not going to make her feel any better. There are times when you just need to keep your mouth shut. Sometimes more is said by saying nothing.
Q: Did you ever think you would be on television or have ambitions beyond the fashion world?
A: [Laughs.] Never in a million, zillion years. When I was chair of the fashion program at Parsons, I actually had two little television opportunities that presented themselves. One was with three of my students and we were going on Ali Wentworth’s first show. We did a demonstration of how to iron decals onto jeans for kids. My hands were shaking so badly I actually dropped the iron. I was a wreck!
Then I did a “CBS Sunday Morning” segment about how American design is responding to the increasing girth of the American body. That was a little better. I never dreamed there would be any more of that. When the “Project Runway” producers contacted me, it was to be a consultant and I signed on and was thrilled to do that.
Then they said, “We think we need someone to be a mentor in the workroom. Would you be interested?” After thinking about it, I said yes. Bravo, the first network the show was on, wasn’t so confident about it. I thought the whole time: “No one needs to see me. No one needs to hear my voice.” So I was rather relaxed about the whole thing. The only time I was not even remotely relaxed was when I was with Heidi [Klum]. I was a wreck. There I am standing next to this breathtaking supermodel, totally in command and used to the camera and used to this whole world that was totally foreign to me.
Q: Last question: Has there ever been a fashion trend that you have reversed your opinion on?
A: This is more about accessories. There was a time when I put Crocs and Uggs in the same category. I have to say the Ugg brand has really evolved into something I feel is much more at home in the fashion world. Whereas Crocs, I fundamentally don’t understand it. Of course, every time I speak out against Crocs, their stock goes up. They open a new store, more people are wearing them. I do understand it. It is all part of the American comfort trap, which is something that I wish would go away.
I am constantly saying, “If you want to dress to feel as if you never got out of bed, then don’t get out of bed!” I am a suit guy. Am I comfortable? I’m not uncomfortable, but I don’t feel like I’m in my pajamas. When your clothes fit properly, your posture is better. Everything about you is more presentable.
I simply subscribe to the principles of silhouette, proportion and fit being in harmony and balance, and when they are, you look great no matter what you are wearing. Everybody benefits from knowing someone who can do some alterations. Most of us can’t buy things right off the rack. We can, but we shouldn’t wear them that way. Most American women and certainly men are wearing clothes that are at least one size too big for them.