Friday, December 3, 2010

Fashion Friday: Mila

The Project Runway season 7 finalist talks about fashion, home design, her experience working in movie sets--and gives us and exclusive look at her spring/summer 2011 collection.

TDL:  So what is the filming schedule like for Project Runway? Is it a challenge a day straight through, or is it over a longer period of time and then edited? 
MILA:  "There was only one day off.  The entire season except for the final challenge (collection) is shot in only 5 weeks.  So it was pretty much a challenge one day, runway/elimination the next day, and then a new challenge again the following day.  7 days a week."

TDL:  How did you feel about the outcome of this past season of Project Runway? Was your vote for Gretchen Jones?
MILA:  "I was at the finale show in New York and saw all the collections walk the runway in person, and I felt like none of the finalists really "nailed" it.  I had a hard time picking a winner, but I do think Gretchen is a very smart designer who is extremely driven and I am certain she will have a great career ahead of her."
Mila walks the runway during the Project Runway Season 7 finale at Fashion Week in New York 
(Source: Associated Press)

TDL:  Nina Garcia said during this season’s finale that Mondo’s collection was a close relative to Seth Aaron’s collection, and “that is not happening in fashion right now.” Do you agree?
MILA:  "I agree completely.  I think one of the downsides of Project Runway is that many viewers see it as more entertainment and less about trying to find a great designer who could really succeed in the "real" fashion industry.  This relates back to the last question.  A lot of people love Seth Aaron and Mondo's collections, but are they "real" fashion?  Or fashion for entertainment value?"

TDL:  Any Project Runway behind-the-scenes dirt you can share? 
MILA:  "Dirt?  Perhaps another time...  But one thing a lot of people don't know is that (a) no one --except the winner-- gets paid anything to be on Project Runway, and (b) no one has any rights to any designs created on the show.  The final collections are property of the show and are sold to the public online the day after they are aired on TV!  A little piece of me died when I had to walk away from the clothes that day in the tent...."
photography - Matthew Betcher / hair and make-up - Martine le Blanc / model - Margarita Kallas

TDL:  So you recently showed at L.A. fashion week. What was that like? How is it different from New York fashion week? Why do you think L.A. fashion week doesn’t get as much media coverage?
MILA:  "Showing at LA Fashion Week was my first runway show on my own, so it was very exciting and gratifying for me.  I felt what my team and I did from a production standpoint was very successful.  Of course, it cannot compare to showing in New York in a tent at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, but not many people get to experience that because it is so costly.  But in the end, showing my Spring collection in LA was more about a deadline and actually having my first runway show.  Doing it in LA was much easier for me since I live here and could be very hands-on.  And of course it was much more manageable financially.  It is very disappointing that LA has such a hard time getting coverage.  There are some talented designers coming out of LA and they will all end up showing in New York if they can because we just don't get enough exposure here.  It is very very difficult to compete with NYFW because it has been the bar for so long, and people come from all over to attend."
photography - Matthew Betcher / hair - Martine le Blanc / make up - Rachel Olson / model - Brandise Danesewich

TDL:  Who are some of your favorite designers? Who do you wear when you are not wearing Mila?
MILA:  "Helmut Lang, Phoebe Philo for Celine, Stella McCartney, Ann Demeulemeester, Marni, Ralph Rucci.  I like to mix high end with commercial pieces, with the occasional vintage.  I have only a few of those designers, except Helmut which is a bit more accessible."

TDL:  Lanvin just released a line for men and women through H&M.  I personally love when high fashion becomes so readily available to the everyday consumer. Do you think this is important for designers to do these days, especially with such a poor economy? And with so many people on spending diets, should more designers use accessible brands to reach out to the public?
MILA:  "I have found that most of these lines for stores like Target and H&M suffer from poor design and/or quality, actually.  It's great in theory to have a high-end designer do a mainstream/mass line for a store like that, but in my opinion they do not end up being reflective of the designer.  I do think the Lanvin line was more successful, but it was also a lot more expensive than other H&M merchandise. The problem with too many of these lower lines is that it is encouraging so much disposable clothing.  If more people would buy one quality garment (that will have longevity) instead of three (that they will tire of or that will fall apart in a year or less), it would be better on so many levels.  It means less waste."

TDL:  So doing some research, I read you did some costume styling for Austin Powers. What was that like?
MILA:  "Amazing! My favorite job ever as a costumer.  I had always wanted to work on an AP film, and when I moved out here from NY to pursue costuming, as fate would have it, I was eventually hired on "Goldmember".  It was such a creative film and I got to do a little bit of everything, from shopping for Austin's velvet and lace to Beyonce's leather, to helping craft Fook Yu's boots".
TDL:  Do you still work on movie sets? If so, what are some of your current projects? 
MILA:  "Since Project Runway, I have only been working a few days here and there on various films like "Green Lantern" and "One for the Money".  But I did work on "Tron: Legacy" last year and am very excited to see it soon."
A view of Mila's loft.

TDL:  How does your sense of fashion influence how you decorate your home?
MILA:  "Well, without even realizing it, I (we--me and my boyfriend) use a lot of black and white, clean lines, and a bit of eclecticism.  I think you could say the same about my design."
Mila's studio

TDL:  What are some of your “rules” of home design?
MILA:  "I try to buy "investment" pieces when I can.  Both the quality and style will last longer and I know that if I buy something classic, I'll never tire of it.  But basically my "rules" are to have a classic foundation --mine happens to be Bauhaus and mid-century-- and the inject some personality to it.  I avoid trendy colors because I only get tired of them.  But I do love shots of color like red or yellow; with black and white they always feel fresh."
Mila's living room

TDL:  Living in a loft is tough sometimes; my boyfriend and I have about 900 square feet. I am all about organization and maximizing space. What are some of your space-saving secrets? 
MILA:  "Oh boy, did I learn about space-saving while living in NY.  Whenever possible, go vertical!  Also, I made a commitment years ago to dispose of my shoe boxes (except boots), and I save the pretty ones (Sigerson Morrison silver ones are my favorite) to hide clutter and put on the  shelves to help organization.  They are also genius for art supplies and all the trims in my studio." 
Another shot of Mila's loft.

TDL:  I am a huge fan of antique shops and flea markets. How about you? Are there any impressive finds you could share?
MILA:  "I haven't been in a while actually.  But I did score the most amazing deal on both a Pierre Paulin orange slice chair AND a Starck Eros chair at the Long Beach flea market!"
photography - Matthew Betcher / hair and make-up - Martine le Blanc / model - Margarita Kallas

TDL:  What are some of your least favorite trends right now?
MILA:  "Grunge, "lo-fi"" 

TDL:  If you’re running out of the house in a rush and you need to throw something on, what are you picking out?
MILA:  "Depends on where I'm going, but my go-to outfit is generally: Jeans or MILA leggings / thin sweater or tee shirt /  blazer or trench"
photography - Matthew Betcher / hair - Martine le Blanc / make up - Rachel Olson / model - Brandise Danesewich

TDL:  What are some of your personal closet staples?
MILA:  "Blazers (have many...), sweaters (cardigans especially), outerwear (has been an obsession as long as I can remember...why am I living in LA?), boots"

TDL:  What should every girl and guy have in their closet?
MILA:  "A really well-fitting blazer, a trench coat, a "boyfriend" cardigan, and some Fiorentini+Baker boots".

TDL:  When you’re in the studio creating, what inspires you the most?
MILA:  "Art, music, and pattern."
photography - Matthew Betcher / hair - Martine le Blanc / make up - Rachel Olson / model - Brandise Danesewich

TDL:  If you were not designing clothes, what would you be doing?
MILA:  "I'd probably still be working as a costumer for TV/film. "

TDL:  Any career in the arts is a struggle; how do muster up the strength to take risks? 
MILA:  It comes from my passion for it!  No risk, no reward.  I have had jobs that are unfulfilling creatively (though they may pay well), and I just end up feeling empty."

Here's a look at Mila's Spring/Summer 2011 line:
photography - Matthew Betcher / hair and make up - Rachel Olson / model - Brandise Danesewich
the Design Loft would like to thank Mila for letting us feature her.  Be sure to visit Mila's website and blog, where you can buy some of her amazing pieces!  Also, become a fan of Mila's on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

1 comment:

  1. I feel like you need a new model. I know your loyalty to Brandise, but it feels stale already. I love your designs.