Team MarieClaire.com got to spend 15 minutes chit-chatting with Zac Posen on all things Project Runway, Heidi Klum's extensive musical theater knowledge, and upping the ante for his second season as a Runway judge. Read Posen's candid interview, below!
Marie Claire: Tell me a little bit about Season 12 so far!
Zac Posen: Season 12 has been incredibly exciting and challenging. We have an incredible group of very talented designers that take the multitude of different skills. This is different then being a fashion designer and doing your collection. It's a whole different skill set. We've had to make very hard decisions. We've had multiple surprises almost every episode that have surprised us as judges and I think surprised them as designer contestants. It has made for very exciting TV!
MC: Surprises in what kind of way? What can you say without giving away spoilers?
ZP: I have been really impressed by the different techniques and the diversity of the cast age-range, race, experience and what they've brought to the table. I take the responsibility really seriously — you have to be fun and take it seriously.
MC: This your second season on Runway. What has changed between last season and this season in terms of your expectations?
ZP: I am a creator myself. So coming into this season, my expectations got higher for the designers. Seeing a whole journey through Season 11, you see where people land in terms of their final collection. So, I know how to guide and give constructive criticism and be fun along the way. I feel like I am the analogy-giver for the viewer, and then for the contestants this season, I definitely think my standards went up immensely. I feel very honored to be on the preeminent fashion television programming.
This is a hardcore competition. This is not lightweight. There are no smoke and mirrors. I try to switch hats and keep my personal aesthetic at the door, to go in there and treat every creator with respect and hold them to their own best score. It's inspiring.
MC: What have you learned from being on judging panel?
ZP: I am so lucky to work with Heidi everyday on the show. She is such a driven and inspiring being, woman, entrepreneur, and mother. I just stare at her because she is so beyond beautiful, and then also so funny. She knows all pop culture and theater references.
MC: She knows theater references?! My girl!
ZP: Oh, really well! I can start humming any show tune and she can finish it. I guess she's been working with hair and makeup teams — gay hair and makeup teams — for the last decade. As far as I'm concerned, hair and makeup rules the world.
MC: What has made this season of Runway different than its previous 11?
ZP: We've had a blast interacting with social media this season. We've definitely upped that from last season by taking funny behind-the-scene shots throughout the season. We've been doing a lot of shadow dancing behind the runway logo.
Photo: Courtesy of Lifetime