Catch Up With Project Runway‘s Leanne Marshall

Catch Up With Project Runway‘s Leanne Marshall
Rick Davis/Splash News Online

02/19/2009 AT 12:00 AM EST

You might think winning Project Runway would have taught Leanne Marshall a thing or two about time management. Not so much says Marshall, who's scrambling more than ever to complete her Fall 2009 collection in time to show at New York Fashion Week Thursday night. But if the recent NYC transplant's nearly flawless run on Runway showed us anything, it's that she's good -- actually, pretty amazing -- under pressure. Back in Brooklyn, PEOPLE caught up with Marshall to talk how how her style has evolved, which celebs are craving her designs (Paula Abdul! Brooke Shields! Sarah Jessica Parker!), and how a visit to Mood Fabric can quickly turn into a Runway alumni reunion. -- Stacey Wilson

You just re-located to New York from Portland, Ore., a month ago. What has that been like?Really stressful. It's a big move. I don't recommend it unless you really, really have to do it! No, I am really glad I did. But our stuff, which we shipped, was delayed by two weeks. It's been the biggest deal. That's why I'm so behind on my collection.

So you're creating everything now, in your apartment, just days before your show?Yes! It's the only place I can work right now. I would love to have a work studio because my boyfriend Nathan has a cat and she's into everything. It’s a challenge keeping her out of the room. We love her, but working and being home with her is not working out too well.

Did you get recognized regularly now?Yes. When I was in Portland, would rarely come up to me. I could tell they recognized me, but they were like, "I don’t want to bother her." But In New York, are like, "Oh my God! It's you!"

What happened to all the pieces you created for the finale of Runway last fall?They were auctioned off, and we're not allowed to re-create any of them. They are all meant to be one-of-a-kind for the show. I can't tell you how many thousands of emailed me wanting specific things from that collection. I was like, "I can’t, I can’t!"

That collection was for spring. This week's show is for fall. What can look forward to seeing? How has your style changed?It's definitely more New York. There's more black than I've ever used. It's more dressy, there’s more evening wear with some day pieces too. I’m still using a lot of bamboo fabric. I found the most amazing 100 percent bamboo material; it almost looks like leather! It has a neat little sheen. I’m also doing more color too. More purples and metallics. Generally, it’s more sophisticated than anything. In the last few years, my skills have increased triple-fold. Overall, I’m more technical and more polished

Have you been approached by a lot of stylists or celebrities requesting your designs?Yes, a lot of stylists have gotten in touch. Last week was Paula Abdul's. Brooke Shields has also mentioned her interest and Sarah Jessica Parker, too. I would love to work with them, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. She apparently lives in my neighborhood, around the block from me. And I think I saw her one day. I was like, “Oh my God, it’s Maggie!” But by the time I thought, “I should give her a card,” she was gone. So I’m always keeping my eye for her. I’d love to dress her.

Have you stayed in touch with anyone else from Runway? Jerel, and Suede, who lives here. I also talk to Korto. Hopefully, she’ll be out here for the show this week.

Have you hung out with Christian Siriano at all?I actually ran into him at Mood Fabrics recently. It was funny because it was the first time I’d been back to the store since moving here, and I ran into him. And I also saw season 2 contestant Daniel Vosovic.

Any advice for designers aspiring to show at Fashion Week?Don’t ever attempt to put together a Fashion Week show in three weeks. But I always do this; always in a jam at the last minute. But I think I work well under pressure. Everything happens faster. The ideas are right there. Without the pressure, I would just sit and think about things forever. Rick Davis/Splash News Online

From Our Partners