Sew You Think You Can Design? Interview: Alex Perry, Project Runway Season 3

| 4 July , 2011 | 3 Replies

Forget the knives, the scissors are out in the latest season of Project Runway Australia as a new crew of hopeful fashion designers vie to be declared the last person standing on the workroom floor.

With some pretty big changes to the show\’s lineup, which include Australian model and David Jones ambassador Megan Gale as the new host, Alex Perry also joins this year\’s season as design mentor. Australian designer Kirrily Johnston and fashion event producer Jarrad Clark join the judging panel and by the looks of it, the show\’s bound to be full of intense challenges, dramatic meltdowns and a whole lot of sew downs in between.

I recently caught up with Alex Perry – the man responsible for some of the most glamorous gowns to grace the catwalks – to get the goss on the new season.

Emily: Why did you decide to get involved in Project Runway?

Alex: I loved the thought of doing a design-based show and doing something close to what I actually do as my main job and that\’s being a designer. So mentoring young designers was really appealing to me because I felt like I could give them some real insight into what is expected from the industry to be a good fashion designer.

Emily: What was the criteria for choosing designers in this season?

Alex: It was just about great design. I think a lot of people that come to the auditions think it\’s about a kooky haircut or a weird personality and it\’s not about that. I could kind of tell which ones were thinking I just want be on TV and it was like, well, we don\’t want you. We want the people who are actually great designers. I even said on one of the episodes, “If you think you\’re good TV talent, forget it. I\’m better than you are and you\’re here to be designers, that\’s what your job is, not to give us grabs on TV.”

Emily: What does a show like Project Runway mean for an aspiring designer?

Alex: It\’s an incredible platform for them. There are so many aspiring designers in Australia and to be able to be on a high-rating, prime time show on Arena means that so many more people get to see what it is you\’re doing. So designers can really kickstart their career though it.

Emily: What are the judges expecting from contestants this year?

Alex: I think they\’re expecting great design that\’s current. And someone that they can see has a future and that really has something to offer the Australian design landscape. Just good, fresh, fabulous design.

Emily: Obviously you\’ve worked with Megan Gale, dressing her in the past. What\’s it like working with her on a show like this?

Alex: She is a dream. I\’ve known Megan coming up to 15 years and I\’ve worked with her professionally and we\’ve become really great mates and she\’s such a divine girl. People see her in the street and their heads just snap around because she\’s this Amazonian glamazon, but she\’s also such a regular girl, just so normal and I just love that about her.

Emily: Can we expect to see a different side of you in Project Runway than in Australia\’s Next Top Model?

Alex: Yeah, I tend to be a bit naughty on Australia\’s Next Top Model and that\’s part of my personality, but on Project Runway it\’s basically me, just the way I am. So I polarize people and they either love me or they hate me, so if you hate me on Project Runway, you probably just really hate me because that\’s what I\’m like.

Emily: Can we expect you to have a Tim Gunn “make it work” catch phrase?

Alex: I would never dare step on Tim Gunn\’s territory, I think he\’s synonymous with those words, but I say to them to “sort things out” a lot because that\’s what I say when I\’m in my own workroom, if there\’s an issue it\’s like, “We\’ve just got to sort it out.”

Emily: How real is Project Runway?

Alex: There\’s no time for it not to be real. I had 14 hour shoot days, at the same time I was putting together Fashion Week and L’Oreal Fashion Festival so it was grueling for me but it was grueling for the designers because their days are long. Their challenges might be 10 hours but there\’s also stuff pre and post that ie. interviews. So they might have four hours sleep, wake up at 4am and get back to the Whitehouse Institute of Design to start their day. So it was pretty full on.

Emily: What\’s your key piece of fashion advice for Australian women?

Alex: Maggie Tabberer said this years ago when I was at college and I\’ve never forgot it, “The most fashionable women are the ones who wear clothes that suit them.” And it\’s one of the truest things I\’ve ever heard.

Emily: In three words, what can viewers expect from Season 3 of Project Runway?

Alex: Fabulousness. Glamour. Drama.

Sounds like three good reasons to tune in. Project Runway Season 3 commences tonight July 4, 8.30pm on Arena.

FOXTEL/Gina Milicia


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Comments (3)

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  1. Sassi Sam says:

    Hi Travel Bug,
    I’ve seen the first two episodes and I thought Alex was great, he knows his stuff and I thought his role was constructive, he suits the medium of TV. And as he said in our interview he’s definitely not trying to be Tim Gunn, he’s just focused on being “Alex Perry.”

  2. Travel Bug says:

    Seriously…have you watched Alex Perry? He could not come across more fake, snide or negative if he tried. I’ve watched both episodes and there must be some clause in his contact that says be must get an obligatory amount of tv time… I watch the series for the creations but Alex makes it so difficult to enjoy… He is a sad substitute for Tim Gunn

  3. se says:

    Alex Perry has to be the gayest straight man alive.

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