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March 10, 2010

The Making of the Heidi Klum Cover Dress

Never before in the history of Project Runway's seven seasons has there been a challenge so great: to design a Marie Claire cover look for Heidi Klum. One understated, modern, cheerful dress was named the winner, but the biggest reward is a huge shop window for its designer.

heidi klum

Diamond earrings (worn as brooches), price upon request, Lorraine Schwartz; (646)274-2008. Gold earrings, Klum's own.

Photo Credit: Mark Abrahams

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Landing a look on the cover of any magazine is monumental. Major designers from Armani to Zac Posen vie for the Marie Claire cover every month. So to hand over the responsibility to a bunch of unknowns was a huge risk. But it's one that Project Runway host Heidi Klum and MC Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles cooked up together. "It's invaluable for these designers to know what goes into creating a beautiful cover," says Coles. "It isn't easy, but I was confident they could do it" — for the most part. As always on Runway, some got it right; others, horribly wrong. "One outfit looked like it belonged at a restaurant in a mermaid theme park," Coles, who served as a guest judge, recalls of Janeane Marie Ceccanti's low-ranked ensemble. "We were very specific about what we wanted," states MC fashion director and Project Runway judge Nina Garcia. "Think color and something versatile that will look strong when shot as a portrait from the waist up."

The contestant to nail all of the above was Anthony Williams, the affable 28-year-old from Atlanta, Georgia (and the show's Mr. Congeniality). "My biggest fear was, Will the judges get it?" he says. "Will they get that I made a dress that would photograph well and look different from different angles? That I selected a color that doesn't just work on white women or black women, it works on most women?" Obviously they got it.

Read the rest in our April 2010 issue, on newsstands March 16th.

PLUS: See the winning look and the ones that didn't make the cut, and shop Heidi's photo shoot!

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