Fashion designer Viktor Luna is living proof that great things come in small packages. The Project Runway Season 9 finalist is flattening the competition with his sophisticated yet edgy style and his exquisite tailoring skills. [Not to mention his charm.] I got a chance to speak with Viktor about all things 'runway'.


Where do you find inspiration? My #1 inspiration comes from everywhere. I like to experiment with texture and silhouettes and even though you can see that my work is consistent, I'm not afraid to explore.  As a human being, I like going out there [into the world] to keep my self interested and keep others interested in my work.


At what point in your life did you know you wanted to be a fashion designer? You know, I guess it started when I was growing up my since my mom was a sample maker and I was always surrounded by clothing. When I moved to NYC 15 years ago, I started in photography and didn't like it. But when I started shooting models and designers I thought [to myself] I could do this better. I remember this lady who was so nice and gave me a sewing machine so I could start practicing.  My dad, being machista said I couldn't do women's "stuff"... but I didn't let that stop me because I knew I always had it in me to be a designer.

Who are you designer idols and why? [laughs] This is like asking someone what's your favorite food when there's so much out there and everything is different. I like a lot of designers... Alexander Mcqueen, Boudicca, Comme des Garçons... I get more inspiration by looking at them because they are current and innovative.


What led you to try out for Project Runway? I've been watching the show since its first season and I thought it was so cool, but I wanted privacy in my life, at first. As the seasons progressed, I saw Christian Siriano and how everyone knows who him. That got me thinking about it and I was inspired to tryout. However, I wasn't going to audition for Season 9 and at the last minute I grabbed my samples and ran over. I went into the audition with the idea that whatever happens... will happen.

Which was your favorite/least favorite PR challenge and why? fav: The Nina Garcia challenge just because I've never draped so much in my life and I realized how you can create structure in just draping. And I was good at it! The most important part is that Nina's a difficult client because she is so specific and so meticulous about what she likes. I saw her eyeing my dress in the work room and it made me feel good to know that she liked it. What most people don't know because you couldn't see it on TV was that that dress was perfectly tailored and completely lined. It would have taken the other designers at least a week to do it.

least fav: The stilt challenge. It began with a miscommunication between Bert and I. It was such a hard time and so hard to deal with that it took the focus away from the challenge. (Viktor when on to say that Bert is a "very sweet man" and how they've become friends.)


I've noticed from watching you week to week that you're consistently focused. You'll make your sketch and create the look. Where does this focus come from, is it confidence, experience, what? I think that lots of people can take me as being conceited and cocky but being a buddist taught me to take life very lightly. When it comes to designs I stick with it and do it. Even in life I try to just go with it. I know excatly what I want and I wanted to be respected so I kept outside of the drama and stayed as professional as I could on the show while still being entertaining.


Which of the judges make you the most nervous? None of them really made me nervous but the one who picks on every detail is Heidi. Michael Kors knew the workmanship involved, but with Heidi its almost like the show should be called Project Shopping for Heidi. She judged everything based on whether she'd wear it. I'm not doing this [designing] for her, I'm doing it for the challenges. At the same time, I need to say that I respected Heidi's critiques and took it with humbleness...


What's it like to have Tim Gunn visit your home? Tim Gunn is a verv very very amazing person.  His aura is so amazing. Tim coming to visit me and to critique my work was absolutely astonishing.  It's a once in a lifetime experience. Having him visit, it was like having Anna Wintour there. I'm very thrilled!

What impact has PR had on your life since being on the show? Personally, it feels good to go out and people recognize you. Professionally, its opening so many doors. After this, if they just say your name, people will know who you are.  I've only shown quality and good tailoring so I'm excited to see what comes after Project Runway...

What can you say to those designers thinking about trying out for PR? I'd definitely tell them to try out and to be persistent. If you make it in the show it will be life changing so follow your dreams and go for it!

What do you do for fun? As a New Yorker you go to a lot of events. I also love art exhibits. I'm not too much of an active person but I do walk my dog, a Brussels Griffon named Mickey Rox...  I love the nightlife too!


In Part I of the Project Runway Season Finale, an emotional Viktor explained that his collection was inspired by a family trip to Mexico to pay respects to his brother who had passed on. He wanted to show texture and he also transferred images unto his fabric to create his own spectacular prints.

Viktor pointed out that coming from an "emigrant family and living the American Dream" was a dream in itself. I can relate to that too!

SO who should win Season 9 of Project Runway?

As I see it, there are two ways of analyzing this:

1. If the goal of Project Runway is to find the next best fashion designer, then clearly, that's Viktor Luna. Not only is he the most polished and skilled but also presented the most cohesive vision. His work is at a level that is already quite marketable and to see it evolve could quickly put him in the ranks of established NY designers.

2. Based on Tim Gunn's feedback and the judges comments. [I took notes.]

Tim was impressed, calling what he saw a "wow collection" with a "profound sophistication." He told Viktor to "knock their effin' socks off."

Nina liked the collection, especially the prints.

Heidi was very impressed with Viktor's collection saying he had "very special pieces." She especially loved the white leather jacket with the pearl detailing and of course, had to try it on. I don't think Viktor minded...

Michael loved the jacket as well but suggested Viktor pair it with a black tank top and pant. He commented that Vikor's tailoring is "impeccable" and that his collection was the most commercial.




Clearly, Viktor is my pick, but like everyone else, I will have to patiently wait until Thursday evening to find out if the judges got it right! Tune into Lifetime, Thursday, October 27th for Part II of the Season 9 Project Runway Finale.

Congratulations Viktor Luna and the other three finalists for making it to Fashion Week!