The white wedding dress: No one wanted it. Steven got it, which is why we’re talking to him today. Not that the sweetest guy on Project Runway has any regrets about the challenge to turn a formerly heavy woman’s plus-size gown into a new, well-fitting dress. Hell, he doesn’t even break out in hives every time he sees a wedding dress.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Steven, were you all crossing your fingers you wouldn’t get The Dress?
STEVEN ROSENGARD: Very much so. We were all sitting there just dreading it. I had this feeling it was somehow going to end up in my lap. You just have this sixth sense about what’s going to happen. I just felt it would be mine.
And what went through your head once you realized it was yours?
I just thought, Okay. Let’s start thinking immediately. What can possibly be done with this? I started looking at the bead work and I thought, No way.
What was that horrible material it was made of?
It was actually an undyeable white polyester satin. It’s pretty heinous as far as fabrics go.
Was that a fair challenge? After all, you’re never going to work with white polyester satin, unless I’ve mistaken your aesthetic.
I just look at the challenges as an additional form of schooling. You may not be in that exact situation again, but it does get your brain thinking in different directions. Maybe it’s not recycling a wedding dress, but maybe it’s someone saying something crazy to the effect of ”I really love my couch. I can’t stand to get rid of my couch. Can you please make me something out of the fabric?” I’m sure there are plenty of eccentric people out there who come up with crazy requests. You just have to roll with those challenges.
Do you regret your design?
I knew Laura had lost a considerable amount of weight. You can see from the silhouette of the wedding dress she was certainly much bigger, and what she had done about losing weight was phenomenal. Yet by fashion industry standards, she still qualifies as plus-size. Doing something fashion-forward and something overtly sexy for a woman who works 13 hours a day as an accountant and in a doctor’s office wasn’t appropriate.
Nina and Michael hated the black and white and said you made Laura look like a French maid going to a funeral. Why’d you go with black instead of another color?
The collection that I had done most recently before the show was entirely in black and white. It’s just a theme, a motif that I really like working with. She was most comfortable in black and lavender. I decided lavender wasn’t really my thing.
Do you wake up in the middle of the night screaming because you finally came up with a design that would have worked with that dress material?
No — in fact, it’s funny: Sometimes with other clients I think maybe it should have gone this way, or the sleeves should have been a couple of inches shorter…With this dress, I never really had any big regrets. I know that probably sounds very bad, especially since I got kicked off, but I don’t take much of an issue with that dress at all. Considering the person it was for and the life she has, I disagree with the judges entirely.
It was downright touching how your competitors helped you finish the dress in the 11th hour. Were you just the most popular guy in the room?
You know, all these people I know and don’t know keep coming up to me and saying ”I hate so-and-so,” and I have to keep coming back and saying, ”You know what? These were the people that helped me.” The support I got really bowled me over. I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off. It was actually really touching to have all those people help me out. God knows they could have just sat there and said, ”You’re in trouble.”
Was your dress so complex that you had to end up gluing it?
Uh, glue. I have never glued before or since. It’s not the kind of work I do by any stretch of the imagination. I think I was just so distracted with all the events with Jack and so on.
Speaking of which, what was the mood when Jack quit to seek medical attention? And how is he doing now?
It was extremely difficult, especially with Jack being my roommate. It was losing a coworker and a housemate at the same time. It was very difficult. He had given up so much to be there in the first place. I was just taking vacation time from my job. Jack had gone and quit his job to be there. It seemed like a bad twist of fate. But Jack’s doing fine now.
That’s a relief to hear. After Jack left and Chris came back, were you happy to see Chris? Or did you secretly hope no one would be kicked off that week?
We were all glad to see Chris. I was especially glad because I’d been on a team where Marion got kicked off and then a team where Chris got kicked off. You almost get the feeling you’re kind of a jinx. I hate the thought of anyone getting kicked off because they’re involved with my work.
Do you think the judges were unfairly kind to Jillian? After all, she barely used her model’s fabric.
For someone who only used [my given fabric] for a collar and cuffs, I can’t really fault the girl.
What have you been up to since the show?
The very first project I had coming back from the show was a wedding dress for a woman who’s a size 22. I think the irony is just lovely.