The first of Project Runway’s trifecta of over-the-top personalities — Blayne, Suede, and Stella — went home last night. ”Leatha”-maker Stella Zotis bit the dust after designing a vest and a pair of pants that were too baggy in a rather unfortunate area. Plus, according to the judges, her construction was sloppy (if only she had been working with leather!). But before she signs off, the very charismatic contestant called up EW.com to chat about her time on Runway. Stella dishes about her inherent disadvantage on the show, why Joe should have gotten the heave-ho, and her plans with enigmatic boyfriend Ratbones.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You and Diane von Furstenberg are kind of polar opposites, but the challenge last night was centered on her designs. Plus, she was a judge. Do you think that hurt you with the challenge?
STELLA ZOTIS: Listen, we’re not that polar opposite. When I looked through her book, she had pants, and she had a vest. I felt like she wanted to branch out into that more structured kind of urban look, instead of making soft dresses with soft curves. But her pants to me were very baggy, which I don’t know why a woman would want to wear pants that baggy. You know? So I decided to go with a pant with a wide leg but more fitted, you know, around the hip area, which I happen to like. And I gave her a vest that was more ’40s-inspired. It was very sexy with an open back, and it had that collar in the front, and it laced up. So it was a feminine, soft, ’40s-inspired vest. The one vest in her look book was repeated about four times, so I gave her another one. Then I went with a cape. I agree, the shape should have been different, but with only nine hours and three pieces, you’re stuck with so much stress in your mind with only three hours sleep and being rundown from the challenges. I thought that the cape needed to be tailored some more. It was even longer at one point! But I didn’t continue to tighten up the shape past that, and I thought I should have. So everything I was critiqued on was stuff I thought about but didn’t go there because of the time constraints. She is different. She makes a dress, but she wants to venture out with pants and a vest because I saw that.
Diane did like the idea you originally had.
What do you think happened with the execution then? Was it the crotch? The judges didn’t like how baggy it was.
The way the model was standing — the angle that she was — didn’t show it right. There was a baggy kind of an area there because I made it formfitting around the waist and the hip area, and then it became a straight-leg. My model, she was a very good model, but she…I don’t know. She’s new. It didn’t occur to her that you have to stand straight in a pair of pants like that. You don’t stand with your leg out like that. I felt there were no crotch problems — it was a lower crotch, it was a looser crotch, okay? I mean, compared to what Diane had in her look book with the crotches coming down to the knee, and the pant being so baggy, I didn’t think that would be so bad. Terri made a pair of pants and the crotch was so snug you could see the whole outline of the crotch area. Why wasn’t that commented on? I always feel there’s a formula on this show.
Okay, so what’s the formula then?
The formula is just, like, you know, they don’t know who to pick sometimes so they just take the designer who, on that challenge, does, like, the most mistakes, maybe. I don’t know. I don’t even feel I made that many mistakes. Being a leather crafter and a designer and working with flat patterns, your fit has to be on target, like 100 percent. There’s no reason for mistakes with leather because it’s hard to repair. Now, being that that’s my philosophy anyway, I was standing next to a person — and God bless him for passing, and I hope he goes far — but Joe’s construction and outfit and concept were really far worse.
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