Auf’d Designer Daniel: My Motivation Died A Little

Auf’d Designer Daniel: My Motivation Died A Little
Jay Sullivan/Bravo; Barbara Nitke/Bravo

08/21/2008 AT 12:00 AM EDT

Project Runway contestant Daniel Feld had professed his high-end taste for weeks -- and in the end, that may be exactly what sent him packing. Tasked with creating an over-the-top look for a drag queen, Feld, 25, made an evening dress -- albeit one in sherbet orange and electric yellow fabric -- that wasn't outrageous enough for the judges. Calling from New York, the designer defends his taste, talks about where he went wrong in this challenge (and on the show in general) and updates us on his relationship with auf'd contestant Wesley. -- Brian Orloff

The drag queen challenge seemed like a lot of fun. Did you have a good time with it?I was really excited. I thought it was definitely a nice change to have something so comical since everything else seemed so stressful and serious. But going through it, I held myself back a little bit. My drag queen was very scared to wear sequins and certain colors. So, I think my fears got the worst of me from going a little over-the-top.

Were you unhappy with the look you created?The whole time I was questioning the fact that it looked too much like an evening dress. Originally I wanted to do something that was lamé and crystal-encrusted -- and a hairdo that emulated a birdcage. But that was a little too much for her. She said she liked Oscar de la Renta and Versace. She wasn't as loud as some of the other drag queens.

Did you explain that to the judges when they criticized your design for not being flamboyant enough?I did explain that -- and my client explained she didn't like the sequins. That's why on the runway when I said it was "too gaudy," they edited it. I said it was "too gaudy for her."

Do you think you came across as defensive on the runway? Or is it good to defend yourself and explain where you're coming from?It's definitely good to stand up for yourself. But sometimes, like last week's episode where I said I have "impeccable taste," I think they edited it into making me sound like a pompous person. There's a different reality once it's edited. I probably should have been a bit more careful with my choices of words, but you're nervous. Your mind doesn't think that clearly when you're standing there.

Explain more what you meant, then, when you said you had high-end taste.I was just really disappointed with that in particular. I actually defended Kelli on the runway. The judges were questioning her taste level once they saw the fabrications ... And they were like "What do you think of your taste level?" And I said, "I think I have really high-end taste." I defended that.

What did you think when Kenley laughed at that?Kenley would always laugh at what I would say, but in that particular circumstance, the judges asked her "What's so funny?" after I asked her that and she commented, "I just love him. He cracks me up." And they didn't show that. I was disappointed with that. She even defended me on the runway.

What do you think ultimately caused you to be kicked off?I tried playing it safe toward the last of the challenges. I wish that I had pushed myself over the limits. I went in with that mentality when I got on the show, and it just seemed to fade away. I definitely got scared, so the motivation died a little inside of me. After the Olympic challenge, it was like, "Whoa Daniel -- just play it safe here."

Are you and Wesley still dating? He mentioned you were working on a project together.He's so amazing. After he got kicked off, we sent secretive notes back and forth to each other. Right now we've been freelancing together. We're trying to get everything settled for us right now. We want to do a bridge line -- something that would be a little more affordable -- a ready-to-wear cocktail dress line. Jay Sullivan/Bravo; Barbara Nitke/Bravo

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