Maybe it’s extreme confidence. Or maybe it’s delusion. But Vincent Libretti, the 49-year-old designer with a penchant for telling the camera what got him off, is utterly confounded that he got eliminated during the couture challenge on last night’s Project Runway. He called EW to set the record straight on Tim Gunn’s evil side, Bradley’s future, and why he was the one true designer of the season.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, what’s it been like watching yourself every week on the show?
VINCENT LIBRETTI: It’s been pretty cool. You know what they say, look at the bright side. Outside of the box, I got a lot of good accolades from people in the industry that I’m really happy about. I just did an Emmy dress not too long ago. Someone came in with a large amount of cash to endorse me. The exposure has been phenomenal.
Someone is giving you cash to start your own line?
The person wants to come in with $100,000 that will enable me to secure or raise more financing. I’ve been in this business. You need a lot more money than that. I’m looking to raise about half a million to put up a boutique in Los Angeles and then beyond. The first hundred thousand is a nice little thing. I have a financial guy who says we’ll get the rest.
Were you surprised that you went home this week, considering some of the other dresses in the bottom?
I’m very honest. It’s just my nature. By far I know my garment was way, way, way better than anyone else’s. It’s a great garment. It’s beautiful. It’s gorgeous. I love couture. I love to grab hold onto that and ride with it. The impact was there when Jia walked out with my garment. During the full extent of the show I don’t believe the judges understood my clothing. I’m the designer on the show. I’m more innovative. Either America will say, ”Hey, Vincent, I really like you and the judges are crazy,” or not. It doesn’t matter. It’s the exposure I’m getting that is most important.
What do you make of the fact that the judges didn’t seem to get your dress? They wanted the back and front switched, among other things.
Stuff like that is okay to hear. It doesn’t bother me. But you know, last week when Nina Garcia said to Jeffrey, ”You know what, I really like your outfit because it could go to London, Paris, or New York.” Those remarks were to me, not Jeffrey, but they switched them to Jeffrey. I was watching it, and I looked at my wife and I go, ”Wait a minute.” I’m over it now, though. I think more than any of the designers I’m getting enormous calls.
Do you regret using so much glue in the 11th hour on your dress?
Not at all. It’s a joke — you have 20 hours to make a couture dress? Did you see the shoulder? I did so much work. I laugh at that. I think it’s wonderful I glued it. Big deal. It’s a freakin’ TV show. You’ve got to be kidding me. That dress was impeccable. It was gorgeous for what it was in 20 hours. They’re going to try to show anything they can to make it look like I deserved to lose. But they can’t edit the clothes in the end, my dear.
You won the challenge after designing for Uli’s mom. Was that your favorite dress you designed?
I was very, very pleased that I flipped from Miss America to the street to a sportier look and then I came back and did a Twiggy look. Looking back now, I don’t have a favorite. My range of design is my favorite. My scope of work is my favorite.
You mentioned that not everyone got your vision. Are you unhappy with how you were portrayed on the show?
Yes and no. I was more of the older guy who would help everybody. I grounded the rest of the guys and let them see reality. I said, ”Let’s all hang in there.” I was kind of the elder statesman. I brought out a lot of camaraderie. They portrayed me as a little bit crazy, and I did not like that. But with television, people are hooking into the fact that he’s innovative. He’s a crazy designer. The attachment to my clothes being crazy will not hurt me. It’s innovative, not crazy, but it’s better than boring.
I think I follow you. Let’s talk about Catherine Malandrino. Were you kissing up to her on the boat, or do you really think she’s that fabulous?
I was not kissing up to her at all. I likened her to Anouk Aimée. I don’t kiss up to anybody. When I looked at Catherine, I saw Anouk Aimée, and she just blows my doors off. I saw a little bit of that in Catherine’s style. I approached Catherine, and I said, ”I’m really fascinated by your style.” But I don’t think she liked my dress. When judges see something new, they get intimidated themselves. With Catherine and Michael Kors, I think there was a little bit of intimidation. I might frighten other designers. I really don’t know.
Did you think any of the judges understood you?
I think Nina Garcia and at times Heidi understood a little more where I was going. I think what’s his name, Michael Kors, didn’t have a clue. He only related to what he liked, and he’s a simple, pared-down designer. I don’t know Tim Gunn’s story. Actually, I do. Tim has been bad-mouthing me ever since the show started because I didn’t choose to bow down to Tim. If he gave me great constructive advice, I would thank him, but if he tried other things, I would dismiss him. In a nice way, not a harmful way. He did not like that. So he in turn is digging a nice hole for himself for putting me down all the time. He’s supposed to be dean of a design school. You don’t speak about people that way.
NEXT: A little romance in Paris