'Project Runway' winner: Some challenges 'weren't inspiring'
"Project Runway All Stars" designer Seth Aaron Henderson may have coasted through much of the season, but he picked up speed when it counted most and won on Thursday's season three finale. Henderson, who was also victorious in season seven of "Project Runway," told TODAY success was sweeter the second time around.
“Everybody on this season was top-notch,” he said. “When you go into a (regular) season, there are usually a bunch of people you can eliminate right away, so it’s really you going against three or four designers. On ‘All Stars,’ everyone is incredible. I won against the best and they were all top of their fields.”
He beat out finalists Korto Momolu and Elena Slivnyak to become the first designer in the history of the franchise to snag two wins.
Henderson, who managed to win only one challenge this season, wasn’t the fan favorite. According to a poll shown during the finale, less than 40 percent of fans said that the judges “got it right” by awarding him the grand prize. The low approval ratings are most likely due to Henderson’s mid-season lag, something the Vancouver, Wash.-based designer said was the result of several things.
“Some of the challenges weren’t my favorite, they weren’t inspiring to me,” he said. “The final two challenges really represented where I want to go. The final collection is where I showed where I am as a designer.”
While Henderson and the other “All Stars” designed for all types of clients this season, Henderson said one blue-haired client was particularly difficult.
“The Marge Simpson challenge killed me!” he said. “I hated that challenge! I was burnt out and needed to regroup and take off again. The mid-point of the season is where the lack of sleep and pressure hits you. From that point on I started going up.”
After winning the largest prize in “Project Runway” franchise history — which includes $150,000 cash, his own collection on QVC, a fashion spread in Marie Claire, a trip to Southeast Asia and much more — Henderson said he has big plans for his career and life.
“We’re moving to Los Angeles in July,” the married father of two said. “I am setting my design studio up in the Garment District of LA. (‘Project Runway’ designers) Victor Luna and Joshua Christensen will be working with me on my label. I am going to expand my label to include men’s wear, so I figured I’d bring in the best men’s wear people I know, and they are truly the best.”
His line with QVC launches Friday, and he will make his first appearance on the network Monday.
“It’s mass market and the designs (I’m doing for that line) are definitely me, but will work for everybody,” he said. “It’s definitely not runway narrow. All shapes and sizes can wear these clothes.”
Henderson said that seeing the opportunity to work with QVC on the prize list was one of the things that made him want to do “All Stars.”
“It took me two seconds to say yes!” he said. “My Black Label is not available to the mass market so my goal for going on ‘All Stars’ was to establish a retailer for mass market.”
He was also excited to be able to compete against his friends.
“We all knew each other, I’ve done runway shows with and worked with at least half the cast,” he said. “This season was different because we all had a mutual respect for each other. We all knew what the others could do, and there was no cattiness or catfights at all this season. We just really enjoyed working against each other, which was refreshing.”