'Project Runway All Stars' champ: 'I felt like I HAD to win'
Project Runway All Stars wrapped its fourth season on Thursday night, and for second time it crowned a double victor: Dmitry Sholokhov now has the title of both Project Runway and Project Runway All Stars winner. (He follows in the footsteps of Seth Aaron Henderson.) Fresh off his win, Sholokhov chatted with EW about his All Stars challenges, how to handle the time-crunch pressure, and where to find him next.
EW: First of all, congratulations!
DMITRY SHOLOKHOV: Thank you very much.
How does win number two feel?
Well, it feels amazing. It feels even better than number one. It was the second time around, but I think it was more challenging because I felt like I had to win… So I guess that’s why I did.
Did you approach anything differently than on season 10?
I just went with my gut. I don’t think I really approached it differently… I am a more developed designer right now. So like everybody else on the season, I was just very, very focused, and I was trying to do my best under the circumstances.
Do you feel like the judges were harder this time around?
Well, the judges were very different. Everything was in a way familiar, but different because the judges are different… I think they were a bit tougher with us, especially with me. I felt like I was ignored for quite some time [laughs] on the show, but it happened with me during my season 10 as well.
Yeah! Why do you think that keeps happening?
You know, I have no idea. When you’re there, you don’t have time to reflect really, but now looking back on this season, it’s kind of the same pattern. I don’t know … maybe it’s me. I have no idea. [Laughs.]
As a designer, what’s the biggest difference between being on regular Project Runway versus Project Runway All Stars?
The main difference is there’s much less time. The timeframes were just insane—especially for the finale. I feel like during the regular season, we had a lot more time; we had two-day challenges. Here, everything is so rushed. I think it’s great because it shows you what you can do in such a short period of time. You never would experience anything like that in real life.
You seemed very calmed though; the deadlines never seemed to stress you out very much.
Well, it looks like I’m calm, but inside it’s like I’m having a hurricane—it’s just I don’t really show it. I try not to freak out; I just approach it very professionally, I guess. It’s like, you would not lose it if you worked for a big company or your own company; you have to maintain a professional manner, so that just comes with my experience.
If there were one thing you could change about your final collection, what would it be?
I wouldn’t really change anything. I wish I had a bit more time, then I would just make everything better [laughs]. But I wouldn’t really change anything because it was a thought process, and it was a natural development. I love it.
What was your favorite challenge this season?
Definitely avant-garde. I love avant-garde. And definitely the red carpet gown inspired by Marilyn Monroe. And that’s probably why I won those challenges as well—because they were my favorites. And I loved the Wicked challenge, based on the Broadway show; it was very, very memorable.
As for your final collection, it was ageless and modern, yet it had this ’80s vibe to it—which was really cool. Where did that inspiration come from?
I think it comes naturally for me, because my dad is an architect. Especially when you’re in such a stressful and [a tight] timeframe environment, when you have to just come up with things without any time for any development or thought process, you just rely on your natural abilities… and I just went with the flow. I just let the lines, the cutouts, the shapes and forms whatever came natural to me come. And that’s what I did. Because I had no time to think about, like, 19th century costumes and then develop it into modern silhouettes—because that takes weeks.
And you had four days.
Four days. And if you break down the days and the schedule, we had about five hours per look, which is insane.
We have to talk about the “weed dress.” Did you intend that design to get that response?
You know what, until Zanna told me, “It looks like a marijuana dress,” I did not see it that way. [Laughs] I guess it kind of looks like it, but it was more a huge flower-slash-creature that almost hugs you because it was going all around… But it turned out to be a big hit.
So, what’s next for you?
A lot of things! Marie Claire just came out, so it’s on the shelves. It’s a beautiful spread. And I will be on QVC tonight… selling the collection, which was based on my finale collection. I was getting so much fan mail and everybody wanted the pieces from the show, so I pretty much built the collection around my Project Runway All Stars experience.