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.
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?
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.