Featured Artist Interview: Miranda Levy of Project Runway
Miranda Levy of Project Runway was known on Season 12 for her quirky, geek chic aesthetic. But the rouge-lipped military maven spoils us with a treat of fine tailoring and fantasia in her spring look book for 2014.
CC: I love the looser, fuller silhouettes that you have for your fall 2014 line. What was your inspiration? From silhouettes to color to textile what were your motives and missions when creating this line?
ML: This collection was inspired by the film “La Belle et La Bete." In the film, Belle's father picks a rose from Beast's garden and is condemned to death unless he gives up one of his daughters in his place. Throughout time this fairy tale has been re-created several times using a different colored rose. The version of the film I am directly inspired by uses a white rose but the Disney version of the film which most of us are familiar with uses a red rose. I believe that both in this story and in life, that a rose symbolizes life, death, and growth. Among other symbolisms, you'll see repetitions of roses in my collection in red, black, and white. This collection tells a story from beginning to end and beckons back ideas that have been present in my previous collections. In this fall collection, you'll see a mixture of wearable and avant garde separates and dresses. The garments are both tailored and structural, taking notes from menswear but feminine in cut and detailing.
The looser silhouettes are inspired by Belle and Belle’s fathers’ appearances running throughout the film. I was really in awe of the way their capes and dresses trailed in the wind after them. I hoped to create this same illusion on the runway. It was outside of my comfort zone but I thought if I could create tailored garments that open up on the runway that it could be rather beautiful.
CC: How do you feel your style and sense of structure and perspective has changed since your stint on Project Runway?
ML: I don’t think that Project Runway has changed my sense of structure or perspective in my designs. On Project Runway you have individual challenges and very limited time. You just make without really thinking…kind of a do or die mentality. When I create a collection I have time to be contemplative, time to play and experiment, time to go buy more fabric and change your mind, time to create a meaningful story in a collection.
My experience on Project Runway has made me more confident in myself though. When everyone in the world has seen you cry, get angry, and fail there is really nothing left to loose. In a way it’s really liberating and I think that has transferred over into my work.
CC: Do you have any favorite moments and/or cast members from PR12?
ML: I really loved Sandro. He made me laugh so hard every episode. He called me his muse and said I reminded him of the Andrews sisters. We were pretty close. I cried really hard when he left. It was like losing a good friend. It’s weird how close you get to people in such a short period of time. After I returned home from Project Runway I had a long email from him with photos. He had designed a whole collection of military inspired gear for gay pride fest inspired by his “Project Runway military friend Miranda”! It was so sweet and made the return home amazing!!
CC: I'm curious as to what events led up to you reuniting with cast members, Kahindo Mateene and Angela Bacskocky as well as cast members from several other seasons.
ML: Honestly, I just asked them if they would be interested in being a part of the show and they said yes!! The things that you don’t see on the show are the incredible bonds that are created between cast members. Everyone who is cast on PJR are incredibly talented and have incredible stories. I really respect my cast members and keep in touch with them to this day.
The really amazing thing about participating in Project Runway is that when you're done, you are a part of a crazy Project Runway alumni family of talented designers. Not just from your season but from every season.We all have went though this experience and can relate to each other.
CC: On your IG I can see that you're officially a doll maker!!! How exciting!! Can you tell us a bit more about this endeavor and any goals surrounding it? Can we expect a line of plush dolls in your future??!
ML: I recently started a position as the Education Director at the Museum of Wisconsin Art. The dolls that I have been creating and posting are samples for classes that I have been teaching at the Museum. It’s been really really fun!! I have never created dolls or doll dresses before but I secretly really enjoy it so much that I have been exploring some ideas for a plush doll line. Stay tuned!!
CC: Are there any recent or upcoming undertakings you'd like to share with us?
ML: I am working on filling pre-orders for my fall 2014 collection.
If you'd like a look book for prices and ordering, email Miranda Levy at email@example.com
Learn to be an expert seam-smith this summer from Miranda during her classes at VOGUE Fabrics in Chicago. Find out more info here.