Friday, July 18, 2008

Brunsdon on Project Runway, the Brana factor - and schedule stress

Tonight, as I type, Jayson Brunsdon and business partner Aaron Elias are in Singapore toasting the launch of their first international boutique - which is located on the city's famous Orchard Road. I mention in today's story in WWD that the boutique is in fact sandwiched in between Lanvin and BCBG Max Azria. Not bad company.

I chatted with Brunsdon before he flew out about the Asian move, his recent cancer diagnosis and the Australian series of Project Runway in which he plays a judge (1st episode screen grab above). Here are a few extra bits and pieces which did not make it into the story.

The PR contestant who calls herself "the frocker", some may be interested (or irritated) to know, "keeps going" according to Brunsdon. The cast, including nine eliminated contestants and the three finalists, will reassemble in August for the finale.

Brunsdon on the contestants:

"It’s a lot of fun. There’s some really good talent. There’s some great talent. There’s some bad talent. But I think that’s what makes it entertaining. You’ve got a bit of both going on. The thing I love about it is that it’s not a show about shoving a few people who are really about nothing into a house. It’s about craft and it’s about, you know, their talent really. It’s about them pulling it all together. There’s no way I could do what they do".

On who in fact clinched his decision to do the series after he was first approached:

"I was a bit reticent at first. I was sort of thinking, ‘Oh I don’t know if I want to do reality television’. But I love the American one. I thought it was really fantastic. And I spoke to [well-connected New York-based Australian stylist] Brana Wolf. She said, ‘Just do it’. Because she’s best friends with Michael Kors - and she said, ‘You know, it’s been great for Michael, he loved doing it and he’s really enjoyed it and it’s been very good for him’. So I said, ‘OK’".

On the fact that he is the second high profile Australian designer to have been diagnosed with cancer within a year (after sass & bide's Heidi Middleton):

"The last month has been very restful, all I’ve done is lie on my back. I kind of needed that. I needed a good rest. This fashion schedule is just too intense for human beings. And I think the only people that can really adhere to it are the ones who are comforted by enormous backing from luxury groups. I think it’s very hard for independent, smaller designers to really try and keep up with this schedule. I think it’s way too demanding".


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