PROJECT Birthday!


by Deedee Abbott

My days as “cool” in my daughter’s eyes are numbered. The most recent example of my slip in cool status happened as my daughter Flora and I brainstormed ideas for her 10th birthday party. Hayride birthday? Quickly kyboshed. Pizza party? Dismissed with eye roll. Flora, however, had her finger on the pulse of what young girls want: Lifetime’s

Project Runway


Project Birthday



I’m cool enough to recognize a good idea when I hear one. Project Runway has been a favorite of mine since Jay created the Chrysler Building gown in Season One. The show took on special significance when Flora began to watch with me. For the past two years we have snuggled on our sofa to root for our favorite designers, debate the best designs, and gasp and chat during each week’s runway show. The show has also paved the way for us talk about some bigger issues: Is winning more important than sharing? What happens when your best work isn’t good enough for others? Why do some people think it’s bad when boys have husbands? Project Birthday would soon become another special connection between my daughter and me.

Everyone got involved to “make it work.” I gathered fabric and materials to create Mood in our front parlor, my husband built a runway down our driveway and fashioned a lit screen for the girls to pose behind before their runway walk. My five year old son began calling himself

Michael Kors

. He refused, however, to wear the routine black T and blazer. Still, our show was soon ready for the runway.


On the day of the party, I played the part of Heidi (


in my case) and explained the challenge to Flora and her friends. They worked in pairs to create designs for each other. Each girl was both designer and model. Their creativity was amazing…especially considering there was no sewing involved. They used colored duct tape, staples, and pure ingenuity to construct their outfits. After consulting the PiperLime Wall for accessories, each girl discussed hair and make-up concepts with our team of experts (thanks to Lex, Mike and Hedda).

As the big moment approached, the girls nervously hid behind our garage door while their parents arrived for the runway show. There were no tears, no arguments and surprisingly no complaints when we declared they were all winners after the show.

Project Birthday was a success. And I got to be cool in Flora’s eyes for one more year.

[caption id="attachment_11212" align="aligncenter" width="478" caption="Birthday fashionista FLORA on the left."]