Christiane King launched her first Womenswear Collection in the Fall of 2006 and is growing bolder since then. Christiane’s collections feature designs that are strongly influenced by her life experiences. Her signature layered and textured look result from the combination of her traditional heritage with the Western cultures she’s been exposed to. But “a woman’s body is my greatest inspiration” she explains. Her garments celebrate the arts and crafts from her Ivorian culture, but also maintain very modern styles and silhouettes.
Recently, Christiane had the opportunity to showcase her great fashion skills on the well-known show Project Runway Season 7, where she was among sixteen great fashion designers. unfortunately her stay was cut short when she was selected as the first designer to be eliminated on the competition. In the following exclusive interview, Christiane discusses her presence on Project Runway and what she took out of this experience.
Tell us Christiane, how excited were you to know that you were chosen to participate in Project Runway?
I was ecstatic to find out I made it to the cast of Project Runway out of the thousands of designers that applied. Having auditioned so many times, it felt like a dream come true.
How was the overall experience, meeting other designers and competing?
Being on Project Runway was a very stressful experience. Everything from being in a different city away from friends and family, to living with complete strangers, to the constant presence of cameras and having to create in a different environment where you don’t necessarily have everything you need to be your best. But I did get to meet some amazing designers that I hope to stay in touch with for years to come.
How did you feel when you were cut?
I felt robbed! I did not think I had the worst design out of the 16 designers. And I was especially outraged at the judges’ comments about my sewing ability. It almost felt like being accused for a crime you didn’t commit. It was not a good feeling.
Do you think you were eliminated too soon?
Yes, I definitely think I was eliminated too soon. I was confident that my design and construction were good enough to make it through to the next challenge, but obviously the judges didn’t agree. At the end of the day, I decided to leave with a positive attitude and grow from this experience.
I tell you, we’ve been watching the show, and we think you should have been there for longer. In your own opinion why do you think you were eliminated?
Thank you for your support. To be honest with you I don’t know why I was eliminated. I can only speculate. I like to think that as much as I would have loved to have the opportunity to show what I’m capable of doing, I was on the show for as long as I needed to be on and that’s why I got eliminate first.
Who am I to question God’s plan? I think some people would have been completely devastated if they were eliminated first, but fortunately I know there’s a difference between reality TV and actual reality.
I have also been fortunate to accomplish quite a lot on my own since my elimination. Much of that would not have been possible if I was still involved with the show. So perhaps it was all for the best.
What did you take away from this experience?
I think that this experience strengthened my view of who I am as a designer. It made me realize how much I believe in myself. I have worked really hard at promoting my work since I got back from the taping of the show.
I was not going to stop because a panel of judges didn’t like one of my designs on one particular day. That’s only three people out of 6 billion in the whole world!
The fashion business is very cut throat and you have to not only build tough skin, but also filter through all the criticism. I think I came out of this a stronger designer.
What do you think of the hosts?
I love Tim Gunn. I have a lot of respect for him and I value his opinion. I would have liked to work with him a little longer because he seemed to genuinely care for all of the designers.
As for Heidi, Nina and Michael, our interaction was brief and not under the most pleasant circumstances, so perhaps I’ll have more to say if ever get to meet them outside of the show.
Your dresses are everywhere! On many magazine covers. Please tell us some of the celebs that are wearing your products.
Yes, I have been very fortunate to have a few Hollywood starlets love and wear my designs. So far I have dressed LisaRaye, Jessica Sutta from the Pussycat Dolls, Kali Hawk, Katerina Graham from “The Vampire Diaries”, Chelsie Hightower and Anna Trebunskaya from “Dancing With The Stars”, Katie Gill, Olivia Munn, Lauren Maher from “Pirates of the Caribbean” and a few others. It’s been a great honor to dress these ladies and I look forward to my next clients!
March is women history month: Please tell us:“ African woman______because______”
“ African woman is beautiful because she loves her body and embraces her curves”
Because I grew up amongst strong and beautiful African women who loved their bodies and embraced their curves, it became obvious to me that a woman’s body is to be shown off.
I always try to accentuate women’s best assets and I’m able to do so because of the wonderful African women I was exposed to in my childhood.
Thank you Christiane. It’s always a pleasure having you on our magazine!
Thank you! It’s a great honor and a lot of fun to be able to catch up with you.
This exclusive interview can also be found at our MAR/APR 2010 Issue. Get your copy by visiting our Online Store.