Last night on Project Runway, the top five designers — Kenley, Jerell, Korto, Leanne, and Suede — put together looks for one another, inspired by musical genres from punk to country. Suede, who created a patchwork vest and low-cut T-shirt with skintight pants for Jerell, got the boot. The judges said it just wasn’t enough. How does he feel? He called up EW.com to talk about that, the heinousity of Kenley’s spat with Tim Gunn, and that whole talking-in-third-person thing.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Was it strange to actually be on the runway rather than on the sidelines in last night’s episode?
STEPHEN ”SUEDE” BAUM: Well, I modeled when I was in high school, so that brought back memories from long ago. But no, it was actually really fun. I think you could tell I had a good time.
I could! You were really working it up there.
I was working it for Korto. I think I have a career in modeling. [Laughs]
So let’s talk about the look you created for Jerell. Do you think Jerell’s personal style did affect what you put together? It did have a sort of Jerell-ness to it.
Of course it did. He was my client. Shame on me if it didn’t have a Jerell style because I was designing for him. The one thing he did say to me was, when I was making the tank top, that it be very low-cut. He calls them ”man dresses.” I prefer to call it a deep V because that’s a little more masculine. But it was designed for him, so it should reflect his personal taste. I loved what I created for him.
If you had the chance, would you have changed anything? Would you have amped up something here or there?
I mean, of course, I would have loved to make it to the top three. But in hindsight, if I had known what the judges were looking for, if they wanted something a little more over-the-top, of course I would have. I’m not a fool. But if they’d said, ”We want something over-the-top,” I totally would have taken it over-the-top.
That’s a hard balance to find. I’ve talked to all the previous contestants and they always say, ”We never know what the judges want.”
You don’t. You really don’t. The reality is that I was true to what I believe and what I think is smart for a rocker look today. I think that if you turn on MTV, you go to any show to see Chris Daughtry, they’re not showing in some kind of costumey thing. They’re showing up in jeans and a T-shirt. They’re showing up in something that looks nice but isn’t necessarily costumey. It’s something they could go out and buy. So I stayed true to myself and what I think rockers look like today. If I designed for a woman, I think the outfit would have been different, a little more flamboyant, because you can get away with that with them. But not for guys.
And didn’t you say something about not wanting it to be ’80s or something?
Yeah. Jerell was talking about doing Kiss, you know, 1980, and he wanted vinyl, flames, a cape. And seriously? That could have gotten me killed. But now, after what they said last night, maybe that is what they wanted.
NEXT PAGE: Suede talks more about the difficult challenge and designer sabotage