Going face to face with Sex and the City star Sarah Jessica Parker may be a fashion dream for many designers–just not Marion Lee, who was auf’d on Wednesday’s Project Runway after his outfit depressed the style icon (and the other judges). A quiet presence on the show, Lee says he just doesn’t keep up with red carpet trends or celebrities, and he wishes he was never picked to lead a team in the first place. Calling from his Texas home, Lee squares off against Parker but finds common ground with, yes, Elisa. –Brian OrloffWere you excited about the challenge–designing for Sarah Jessica Parker’s collection?If I had 100 challenges to choose from, this one would be the last I would have chosen. It was a celebrity challenge. And it was a team challenge. So, I sort of felt like if that would have come later on in the show, I could have made it further. But I don’t really keep up with red carpet celebrities.
What did you think of Sarah Jessica Parker? Do you respect her as a style icon?I didn’t really get to know her; I don’t think anyone did. But I really liked her. She was a really nice girl or actress–whatever you want to call her. But I’ve never watched Sex and the City, so I don’t know much about her. I don’t really keep up with celebrities.
The judges weren’t particularly kind. Did you understand where they were coming from?I totally understood their criticism. Sarah Jessica Parker did choose me. She liked the initial concept. But when I was looking through her look book of the Bitten line, it was almost junior budget-looking to me. And that’s not the type of designer I am. That created a barrier for me. She wanted me to put some sophistication into her line. But I kind of got lost when she wanted me to make a $15 outfit look really sophisticated. Looking back, I wish I wouldn’t have been team leader. I think I still would be in the competition.
You were pretty reserved on the show. What part of your personality did we not get to see?It takes me a while to warm up and let loose. What I think didn’t get to see about me is that I am a concept designer, and everything that I do has really deep meaning to it. It’s not creating a cute little dress from a pattern. When I approach a collection, I really research it. And a lot of the contestants, they were great in some of the challenges, but I’m not really sure of how deep they really are with their thinking.
Talk about Elisa. She also tends to be very conceptual. Is she as out there as she seems?She is really, really truly like that. It’s not an act. She’s really deep. I think she’s the most interesting designer. She doesn’t create little cute dresses for every woman. I kind of resonated with her because I have the same philosophy. There’s some depth in her design. It might be ripped and torn. The model might be falling–that wasn’t a good thing –but the ripping and the tearing, and all the passion she puts into what she’s doing is really inspiring. I know there’s a lot of safe who watch the show who don’t understand that.
Tell us: Did Marion deserve to go? Or, should it have been teammate Steven? And was Sarah Jessica Parker right to select his design in the first place?
Photo: Mitch Haaseth/ABC