Let’s Talk Project Runway: A Chat with Season 12′s Alexander Pope

Introducing Alexander Pope. Broadway costume constructor. Project Runway Season 12 designer. And an elimination this season that came far too soon. Read on for our behind-the-scenes chat about the show, New York Fashion Week, and his upcoming mini collection.

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Rue La La: Tell us about being on the show. What was the workroom actually like? Which designers did you enjoy working with?   
Alexander Pope: Well, first off, the workroom was smaller than I thought it would be. But other than that, it’s just a workroom, but not as stocked as it should be… just the basics for us. I enjoyed most of the designers, but I think Jeremy and I bounced ideas off of each other quite well – I tend to bond with the Brits more often, ha!

RLL: What was the best piece of advice you received from the judges? 
AP: Nothing.

RLL: Okay then. The worst?
AP: Well it wasn’t advice, per se, but once they found out I work on Broadway, I kept hearing the descriptor “costumey” a lot. Even when I’m looking at my design, completely confused about their comments because I made a twill gown or a silk bustier dress – clothing, in my eyes.

RLL: Speaking of Broadway – when you started on the show, were you afraid of being called out as a costume designer?   
AP: That’s exactly what I was afraid of. I had a feeling I was going to be pigeonholed as “just a costumer,” and unfortunately I feel that happened. I’ve always known it’s hard for designers to truly “go there” with their designs. I fortunately get to “go there” for a living, so I figured I’d be able to cut back and make it more wearable and commercial. I feel I did a good job with that. I mean, it’s always easier to take a step back than take a step forward. I, my dear, have been stepping forward for decades, so it was a challenge for me to edit and simplify.

RLL: We saw you showed your gothic collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. What was that like? 
AP: It was a blast! I was so nervous, and, honestly, sewing up to the eleventh hour! I knew I was going far and beyond what any of the other designers were doing, but that’s what I do. I wanted to give them a show. Because, let’s face it, 90% of what’s on the runway isn’t what’s on the racks. But then, if you break down my collection, it’s a couple of pairs of nice slacks, great shirts, a couple of gorgeous dresses, and a pair of shorts. It’s wearable.

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October 11, 2013