Emily Brandle is bitter. On our weekly call with the latest auf’ed Project Runway contestant, Emily — who on last night’s episode created a black minidress with a ill-placed spray of ruffles that guest judge Sandra Bernhard called ”cha-cha” — told us exactly how she feels about her demise: ”I should not have gone!” But that’s not all: She also dished about how Nina’s ”no comment” comment about her dress made her feel, how her dress almost became engulfed in ”monster ruffles,” and where she’ll go from here.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Hi, Emily! How are you feeling today?
EMILY BRANDLE: I’m great. How are you?
What’d you think about the way that they portrayed you and your loss?
Well, first of all, I was shocked that I got kicked off! What were they thinking?
Was it hard to watch at all?
Yeah, absolutely. Surreal. It was very strange to see it and know that the whole world will see it. It was a different experience, kind of being there and being in the moment for the whole experience. You’re like, Right, the world is going to see this.
Let’s break it down a bit. What happened?
What happened is that I got the boot. I should not have gone! You know, fashion is subjective. For whatever reason, the judges and/or producers thought it was my time to go. I wouldn’t change my dress. You know, I stand by it. The shoulda-woulda-couldas is not a game that I play, so it’s done, you know? I make a beautiful collection, Smoke & Mirrors. My best friend and business partner and I have been doing it for a year and a half, and you know, that’s what it’s really about, the real work.
Can you explain your design a little bit more? Did you consider doing other things?
Yeah, absolutely, I considered doing a lot of things. I mean, going back, I would do a lot of things differently. I would still be on the show, and I would win fashion week. The dress that I made was not originally going to have the black exposed.
Was it going to be full of ruffles?
Yeah, it was going to be full of ruffles, and then it started turning into a monster. And I was like, You know what? I’m not into that notion of monster ruffles.
NEXT PAGE: ”You just never know what exactly they’re looking for.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Did the time constraints contribute to that? Was there not enough time to do a full-out ruffled dress?
EMILY BRANDLE: No, I mean, they just weren’t looking the way I wanted them to look. It wasn’t the time. I mean, at one point you get a glimpse, and I have ruffles covering almost the entire back of the dress, and I took all of those off because I didn’t like it. It was just too much.
So with the ruffles you did have, you felt like you had edited them down? The judges and Tim are always talking about editing and keeping it simple.
Yeah, but then you look at what wins, and it doesn’t correlate with the picture, and it’s not really that simple. You know, they definitely…You just never know what exactly they’re looking for.
Do you think maybe the fact that this was the first week with nearly total freedom — the past two challenges were rather limiting — contributed to it’s being more difficult for you?
No. I mean, in my real life and in my real collection, I use whatever I want and do whatever I want. I have access to whatever. So that definitely wasn’t an issue for me.
The workroom seemed stressful this week — yes?
Yes, really stressful would be accurate. Everyone is just working their hardest to make a beautiful garment in the allotted amount of time. It’s a lot of focus and a lot of just, like, heads down at the table, heads down at the machine sewing. But definitely, we’re joking and laughing and asking questions and going back and forth. There’s definitely a good energy in the workroom most of the time.
When Tim came in and gave you counseling, he questioned your dress, but it didn’t seem like you changed course that much. Did you consider it? Were you too far into what you were already doing? What was going through your mind when Tim was saying this might be a ”disappointing” dress?
Well, you know, what they don’t show is that it’s a 20- or 30-minute conversation that you have with Tim. It’s like a full conversation. So yes, of course, you know, the pieces that they show are, you know, just a little snippet of the conversation. So yes, I did change course after we talked, and I ended up kind of coming back to something that was simpler. I was adding more ruffles, and it just wasn’t going where I wanted it to go. It wasn’t jelling.
NEXT PAGE: Nina’s ”no comment” and Emily’s picks to win it all
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: How did you feel when you saw that Nina said she had ”no comment” for your dress?
EMILY BRANDLE: I saw that, and I was like, Whoa! Bad. That’s a bummer! No comment? Yeah, that’s it. Bummer. No comment.
Would you have defended yourself differently to the judges if you’d known what was going to happen?
Yeah, I would have.
What would you have said?
Probably nothing would have changed anything. I think they already have their minds made up.
What do you mean?
I don’t think I could have talked my way out of it.
Since you only got to do three challenges, what challenge from past seasons would you really have liked to have done?
Final collection for Bryant Park.
But everyone wants to do that. None of the others were enticing?
That’s the one that I want to do, though. You know what I mean? Yeah, all of the challenges are fun. Whatever they threw at me, I was ready for and would have a good time with. So whatever they threw at me, I was ready. But final collection was my goal, and that’s what my eye was on.
Which designers should we keep our eyes on?
Two of my three roommates are just fabulous and should get a tie to win: Leanne and Korto have very clear design aesthetics, and I think they’re really going to shine.
So you’re heading back to work on Smoke & Mirrors Clothing with your partner. What’s the design aesthetic? And where can people find it?
People can go to our website, smokeandmirrorsclothing.com. They can see our collections. They can see a list of some of the stores that carry our line. It’s sold at boutiques nationwide. It is feminine and wearable and edgy and fun and can be styled up or down. I would say that our fall collection is a little bit dressier than spring 2009 will be. Our spring lines tend to be — I mean, we’ve only put one out and we’re working on our second one now — a little bit more casual, and our fall lines are a little bit more dressy.