T Lo Interviews Fabulous Nina Garcia
That’s right, ladies. We’ve been sitting on this one for awhile, waiting for the Dec/Jan issue of Metrosource to come out so we could reveal all. Metrosource has a more-scaled down version of this interview but we could have talked on the phone with Nina for hours, so what you see here is mostly the supplemental stuff, only for T Lo minion eyes. We think of all our favorite things to happen with this blog, near the top would be what happened when the press person who arranged this interview said “Nina, you’re on the line with Tom and Lorenzo from Project Rungay,” and she said:
Project Rungay? I LOVE you guys!
You have no idea how happy that makes us!
No, really! I love you guys! I read you guys!
You’re somewhat unique among fashion editors because you’re Latin American. Most of them tend to be American or European. Do you think that’s an important part of your success?
It’s very important. People always ask me that, especially South American or Latin American people – or any nationality – they ask me how I dealt with that being in the states. I’ve always been proud of my heritage and that’s what made me really different and what’s given me my strength; the fact that I was a little different. I didn’t take being from Latin America as an obstacle, I saw it as a bonus, as an addition, because it gave me a different perspective on how to view fashion.
It also helped that Latin American women place a lot of importance on femininity and looking their best, right?
It did. It absolutely did. Traditionally, Latin American women spend a lot of time getting beautiful and spend a lot of time getting dressed so that is partof the heritage. And to be honest there’s a lot of Latin Americans or people from a Latin American background in America at the moment.
For instance, Brazil. Love Brazil. Loved going down there with the crew from Running in Heels. I wish we’d had the crew there the whole time. Just imagine how much fun you can have in Rio! It’s crazy and it’s incredible what’s happening in terms of fashion down there because they’ve got very talented designers and very good accessories are coming out of Brazil. Forget that they have the most beautiful models coming out of Brazil, but I find that the fashion is really honest.
How are things at Marie Claire? All settled in?
It’s fantastic. They’re a great group of girls and they love to have fun. Joanna is very funny. She has a great sense of humor but at the same time she’s extremely smart.
Give us the fashion editor’s summary of the Spring ’10 shows.
It’s back to the romantic, it’s back to femininity, the colors are very pale, there’s a lot of lace and lot of transparency, so it’s back to a new kind of femininity. We’re leaving behind all this toughness and angry shoes and leather and it’s a much softer season for the spring.
Is there any trend that you don’t ever want to see on a man or women again?
Yeah, those mullet haircuts. I even see them on children!
How do you choose what to wear for Project Runway? You always look impeccable and you have fantastic accessories.
You know, it’s what’s in my wardrobe at the time. I try to not wear so much black, which is really hard because a lot of my wardrobe is black so I really have to struggle with not wearing too much black, but when I do I always try to have an accessory that compensates all the blackness. Because they don’t want us to wear black or white, or black and white together, which is 80% of my wardrobe.
Do you still get excited with each new season and group of designers?
Yeah. You know, the process of creativity and the creation of a garment is what fascinates me about fashion. And that is ever-evolving, especially in a show like Project Runway. To see that process happen year after year is always exciting for me. That’s what I love to do; I love to see new designers. That’s what I do at my job and that’s what PR is about. So I love that.
You’re the judge that viewers respect; the tough one. Do you think you get more flexible or more strict with each season?
I think a little more strict because I have seen it all and heard all the excuses by now. “I didn’t have time,” “My dog ate the fabric,” whatever. You know, “Tim Gunn told me I shouldn’t do this,” I’ve heard the excuses. So, I think a little stricter.
Ever regret anything you said?
Sometimes I regret being a little too caustic, because I don’t want to discourage anybody about being a designer. I remember when we had a moment with Santino, I don’t even know if this was filmed or not. You know, Santino and I had a LOT of altercations, near the end towards the last challenge, he said something to the effect that “Maybe this isn’t the profession for me,” and I was devastated that he would say that. The last thing I want to do is discourage anybody from their dreams. I don’t want to be so tough that people would say, “Well I don’t want to get into this industry,” period. The end.
Without naming any names (because we know you won’t name any names) were there any contestants that you thought shouldn’t be in this industry?
(Laughs) Yes. Oh, yes.
What is your favorite PR moment?
The cornhusk dress! I mean, Mr. Yves Saint Laurent himself! Austin Scarlett was just brilliant, the way he looked, the way he spoke and that cornhusk dress was a fantastic, memorable moment.
Do people stop you in public and say mean things to you?
In the beginning, yes. Now, no. Now people are very nice but the first season I remember going to a party in New York and there was a man seated at a table with me – it was a sit-down dinner – and he said, “You’re that mean judge on that show,” and I was appalled.
Is there any particular designer that’s up and coming on your radar right now?
There are so many. Erdem, Giles Deacon, Christopher Kane. I mean, we all know about the Rodarte girls, but if your readers don’t they should check them out. They’re incredibly talented.
Do you have a favorite designer?
It varies from season to season. I can’t say, because it changes and that’s what’s so fantastic.
Are we going to see a lot of you for Season 7?
Yes, we’re all there all the time. Thank God, we’re back in New York!
How did you feel about the show being out in L.A. Does it change the tone of the show?
I’ll tell you what was hard about it. Being in L.A. was wonderful. I love L.A., and I thought it was a brilliant idea to take the show out to L.A. because there’s so much going on in fashion and the red carpet, for instance. However, neither Michael or myself were able to be there for the whole time. And what happened is when I come back, I’ve missed a bunch of challenges and I can’t follow the trajectory of the designer. It’s harder for me to know what they have done in the past so I’m judging them on what I’m seeing that moment. I have no history because I haven’t been there. Even if I ask my fellow judges what happened it’s not the same as when you see it yourself. It was hard.
What’s the difference between L.A. and New York, fashion-wise?
L.A. is more about the red carpet, and it’s a more laid back style. But it’s a very influential and important style. Going back to the Rodarte girls, they have production out in L.A and they’re incredibly visionary designers. We can’t overlook that there are very talented designers coming out of L.A.
Thank you so much Nina.
Thank you! I’m so happy to hear the actual voices of Tom and Lorenzo!
[Photos: Getty Images/WireImage]