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July 19, 2011

Project Runway Casting Call

katie connor

Marie Claire editor Katie Connor, Project Runway season seven winner Seth Aaron Henderson, and Brian Bolke, owner of Dallas' premier designer boutique Forty Five Ten.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Lifetime

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Katie Connor, Dallas & NYC

While Dallas isn't exactly considered a fashion capital, there are some real gems at the Lone Star state's auditions. For starters: Roberto Valentín. My fellow judges Seth Aaron Henderson and Brian Bolke, owner of Dallas' premier designer boutique Forty Five Ten, and I are immediately struck by Valentín's down-home Southern charm. It's a complete contrast to his highbrow Spanish Crusades — inspired collection. The guy looks like he's straight out of Mayberry, but his designs are ready for Rodeo Drive. My only complaint: Valentín's choice of footwear. Really, Roberto, flip-flops?! That's not exactly putting your best foot forward. Tim Gunn would be beside himself!

Up next Julie Tierney. A little rough around the edges — in that scrappy kid-sister way — but I'm sold on her incredible eye for styling and range of Navajo prints. Hard as it is to imagine, a coat she made from a bed comforter is as chic as any quilted puffer I've ever seen.

My biggest grins go to Ryan Auld. The color-blind cancer survivor has a special knack for cool-girl separates with a vintage feel. (He's a self-proclaimed "bin digger" at thrift stores.) And his way with words is as colorful as his creations. Citing the "stupid hot" weather of his hometown, Baton Rouge, he put his sheer fabrics and short hemlines into perspective. By day's end, I find myself using a new choice adjective: stupid — as in, I'm stupid excited to watch what happens next.

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