Project Runway‘s Chris March On Madonna, Youth and Newfound Fame

|

CHRIS AND MICH.jpgThis week, Season 4 of Project Runway finished, with the delightfully coquettish Christian Siriano winning the Grand Prize. And while his collection was no doubt stunning, perhaps 1,000 times more memorable was the collection created by fellow contestant Chris March, whose innovative designs combined human hair, black safety pins, crushed velvet and hours and hours of hard work. I was able to sit down with Chris this week and discuss his experience on America’s favorite design show, working with Madonna, getting awoken by Tim Gunn, and many more questions you all had on your minds. Let’s begin!

On His Newfound Fame

Michelle: Chris, congratulations on all your success. You were a fan favorite, everyone loved you. Have you made a million friends since you got off the show?

Chris: Ummm… the amount of people come up to me, everyday, all day long is really amazing. They smile, they beam, they say they love me, they loved me on the show, they love my laugh…

MC: You do have a lovely laugh…

Chris: Thank you… (laughs adorably)

MC: Bottle that up; send it to me for my birthday… I love it.

Chris: It’s just kind of like having a cheering section when I leave the house every day. It’s really nice.

MC: You live in the city, right?

Chris: I live in Chelsea.

MC: Well that is like Project Runway Mecca. The streets are veritable runways.

Chris: 8th avenue is known as the catwalk.

MC: How is the fame weird for you?

CHRIS AN DMICH 2.jpgChris: It’s a little bit weird in the fact that people think they know me. A lot of people come up and touch me without saying hello.

MC: Like I did when I met you?

Chris: Yes, exactly.

MC: So… that was wrong?

Chris: For some reason they need to touch me. They need to make sure I’m real.

MC: They did it to Clooney too.

Chris: They don’t touch me like they touch George Clooney though.

MC: Really, who ever gets touched like Clooney?

Chris: When people come up to me on the street, they look like they have just seen a unicorn. It’s just like [gasp] it’s you… you are really here, you’re alive. You live in my living room.

After the jump: Chris March Dishes on Madonna, Tim Gunn, Sleeping, Human Hair, and Eternal Youth! Plus, more photos of the two of us just Gabbin’ Hoffman.

On Working With Madonna

MADONNA IC.JPGMC: We went to your website, Chris March Design. It says you worked with Madonna. Do tell.

Chris: For Madonna’s Re-Invention tour they needed plaid boxer shorts. So I worked with her stylist on this, we did all this stuff and she asked me if I had any special ideas. I came up with this idea of everyone bending over at the end of the number and showing their underpants, with a word written across their butts. So we put be rhinestone letters on their butts, and when they bent over it spelt “Freedom.” Madonna was the middle “E.” The funny thing was that picture of her bent over with the rhinestone “E” of her butt was in every publication on earth. Just a hilarious picture. I have it in my portfolio and on my website.

MC: I would also add that to my “Life Book”… if I ever got to put rhinestones on Madonna’s ass.

Chris: It was an amazing experience. I never got to meet her or anything.

On The Surrealness of Project Runway

MC: You have a very dramatic experience on the show. We met Jack… he’s the best… so sweet.

Chris: Wait a minute, I thought I was the best….

MC: Well… I’m a whore. Here’s the thing: You got thrown off of the show, then Jack got sick. You came back. It was like reinvention. What kind of an experience was that?

Chris: I was shocked at how surreal it was to be on Project Runway. They called me up and told me they wanted me to be on the show. I thought they were joking. When I ended up on the show, on the first day… it was like stepping into OZ. Well wait a minute; I watched the show for three years. Here’s Heidi, here’s Tim, Michael, the Runway, the workroom… I have seen this somewhere before but it was hard to take it all in and you didn’t have much of a chance to think about it, you just had to keep sewing.

MC: Who were the “dramarians” on the show, other than Christian? Did you get along with everyone pretty well?

Chris: I got along with everyone pretty well. I think Christian was definitely one of the more outspoken people in the workroom but that made for a lot of fun. I like the workroom with a lot of energy in it. I don’t like a bunch of people just sitting there silently working away. So I tried to have fun. Lisa was definitely fun and talkative. Sweet P. was definitely fun and talkative. But Christian was like our little tornado in the room.

MC: He’s like the Tasmanian – I want to say gayvil – but that doesn’t really make sense.

CHRIS AN DMICH HAIR.jpgOn Human Hair

MC: So there you were, tied with Rami, and now you have to go home and make your collection. Human hair. Discuss.

Chris: Well, okay, human hair. The thing about the human hair is… I had the idea because we weren’t allowed to use any actual animal fur and I wanted to have a look that approximated that. I had used human hair before to do that, so that’s one of the reasons I did it. Also, I thought that it would be provocative and it’s not unprecedented in the fashion world to use human hair. Dolce and Gabbana have used it in couture and a lot of designers have used human hair over the years.

MC: Did you expect a reaction like Tim’s?

Chris: Well, okay, I knew I would get THAT reaction from Tim, specifically because he’s a little more on the traditional side of fashion. I respected Tim’s opinion, but I also wanted to keep things very original and to do things that none of the other designers would do… That was definitely something I thought none of the other designers would come up with.

MC: I can just see Rami wrapping and gathering a lot of hair – a Grecian gown of hair.

Chris: I’m actually surprised Christian didn’t stick hair on some of his stuff too. One of my friends said during the finale episode, “Are those human feathers?”

On Sleeping During a Challenge

TIM GUNN ALARM.jpgMC: During the Metropolitan Museum challenge, when you created that gorgeous dress, the producers made it seem like you were asleep for most of the day. When chances are, you probably put your head down for five minutes, right?

Chris: Well, no! Honestly. I was very, very tired and I was surprised when I got my dress done. I had a whole bunch of time for the bottom half of the dress and it actually came together pretty quickly. I thought “I’m finished!” So I decided to go and lay down.

And when I went to lay down, I knew I was giving them ammunition to slaughter me… but I could not help myself. It was at the end of the whole filming of the show and we got no sleep. There was physically no choice. Then when Tim wakes me up with the camera, I was like, “Bingo, and here it is.”

MC: A Tim Gun alarm clock would be a big hit.

Chris: Yeah!

MC: (doing a pretty terrible Tim Gun impression) “Wake up already!”

Chris: He would love doing that.

MC: He’d make at least 100 dollars.

BABY WITH BEARD.jpgOn Youth

MC: We were very surprised to learn that you are 44 years old. You look like a baby.

Chris: My birthday was a week ago.

MC: Happy Birthday! America wants to know… What’s your secret? You really look 10 years younger.

Chris: I used to look a lot younger. This year put a lot on me. I’ve always had a very baby face and when I was, maybe, 21 or 22, I used to complain about it and a woman came up to me and said, “You’re going to love having that face one day.” I didn’t understand what she was talking about but yes, it’s true. I think I do look younger than 45. It’s just always the gray in my hair.

MC: I do love a little salt and peppy on a guy. It’s my favorite thing.

Chris: So do I! 50 is calling my name. I can hear it.

MC: You’ll never be 50.

Chris: How old are you?

MC: How old do I look?

Chris: I’m not that stupid.

MC: I’m younger than you probably think. I’m 26.

Chris: I was going to say 27.

MC: Okay, that’s fair. I turn 27 this summer but I’m an old soul.

Chris: Your age starts with a two!

MC: I’m the oldest person you have ever met in your life, trust.

Chris: You were born in the 80s! I graduated high school in 1981.

MC: We can still be best friends! Please don’t let the age get between what’s going to be so real one day.

CHRIS AND MICH 4.jpgOn Relationships

MC: Are you dating anyone?

Chris: Um, oh. This is good. I’m not going to say.

MC: Good. I like that. Keep it personal. I’m into that. Keep it to yourself. That’s none of their business. They don’t need to know.

Chris: Now you’re going to lose me for having made me think of it.

MC: Oh. Ay-my-God. Forget it. You’re too fabulous. Let’s talk about drag queens.

On Drag Queens and Upcoming Projects

MC: Do you still design stuff for Drag Queens?

Chris: Umm, I haven’t for a while. I’ve been so busy with Project Runway for the last, almost year. Right now I’ve got a bunch of different offers for some things… some Broadway stuff, some celebrity red “carpety” kind of stuff. Also I got an offer to be the host of a television show.

MC: Can you tell us about that?

Chris: I can’t.

MC: (excited, prying even) Can you talk about it? Is it going to be on a network?

Chris: It’s just a pilot to be the host of a kind-of fashion, “make-overy” type of show with a twist.

MC: With a twist! Is it for drag queens?

Chris: No!

MC: So that’s what you’re working on now. I was going to ask, what’s next for Chris?

Chris: Just trying to reassemble my life post-Project Runway and feel all these offers. It’s incredible, the doors that it’s opened, even already. It’s wild.

MC: So obviously you don’t regret doing it?

Chris: Oh no. I don’t regret doing it at all. It was so much fun. I met so many great people and in New York, it’s so competitive that one of the reasons I did it was to give my career a boost and see what would happen. And it’s been amazing.

MC: Are you happy that Christian won?

Chris: Oh, of course. His collection was amazing. It was very fantasy-couture, just everything that Christian is. He really put on a great show.

MC: We love Christian, and we love you, Chris – equally.

Chris: You better like me better than him.

MC: Um, I don’t think I’m sitting here with him now.

Chris: Christian’s very funny. He just cannot keep his mouth shut.

MC: I’m actually afraid to meet him. He’ll be like, “Hey monster!”

Chris: What!? That’s the thing. He would say that but he would mean it affectionately.

MC: Sweet. So that’s how it is. Thanks for not calling me a monster, Chris. This was a blast.

CHRIS AND MICH 5.jpg