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See 'Project Runway' winner Irina tonight at Macy's in South Coast Plaza

December 8, 2009 |  3:44 pm


With all the hoopla surrounding the most recent "Project Runway," it's easy to forget that Irina Shabayeva isn't just the winner of the entire season -- she also won the Macy's challenge, garnering her a chance to make her own dress for Macy's INC line.

Since Shabayeva's winning look -- a spaghetti-strap striped sundress -- isn't exactly in season right now, she's designed a navy blue number aimed at the holiday party set. It's selling on now for $139, but you can get up close and personal with both dresses, the designer herself -- wearing a T-shirt from a "whole new collection inspired by New York City," and Katie Sticksel, the model who helped her win the challenge, at 6:30 tonight at the Macy's in South Coast Plaza.

Despite having just flown in today for the engagement, Shabayeva was kind enough to phone up All the Rage with some more details about this dress and her other projects:

So your dress that's in stores is different than the summer dress that won you the "PR" challenge. Can you tell me a bit about how the style came about?

I wanted something that was fun for the holiday that would fit many different body types. I wanted something new and in the spirit of the holidays. Women were afraid of trying it on because it's so form-fitting -- even my mom was afraid. My mom's almost 50, but as soon as she tried it on, she bought the dress.

It seems rather short -- either that or Katie is really tall.

Katie is really tall. It's a little above the knee. I'm actually standing on a stool in that picture of both of us and I'm 5'6". It's not that short for your average woman.

Any significance to the butterfly clip on the hip?

I did a jewelry line with butterflies and the whole inspiration was behind a Native American legend that if you have a secret wish, whisper it to a butterfly. I wanted something romantic with a little bit of that behind it.

Any plans to replicate anything else from your winning challenges? Cough cough, the coat made of old issues of the L.A. Times ...

I've gotten such a great response and I sort of do pride myself on my outerwear and fall 2010 is just around the corner. You'll definitely see a coat that was inspired by the newspaper challenge.

You've got some familiar faces modeling your spring 2010 wares online. Any special relationships with Kalyn and Matar?

All three of us were from New York and after the show we watched a lot of the episodes together. We became close friends, but we do have the professional designer-model relationship. When it came time to shoot my spring collection ...

What about any of your other non-"PR" designs? Where can we see those now?

Currently, they're now online. After February, there will ... I've been talking to buyers all over the world so I'm hoping to have some things out there and in stores and on racks. [But] I'll always have stuff on my website because I think it's important to communicate with the customer.

I've gotten a great response from the T-shirts [in my Bryant Park runway] and I'm definitely working on a T-shirt line shortly and an accessories line, like handbags and hats. I get at least 10 e-mails a day asking where someone can get one. We're trying to figure out where we can do it quickly and have available for everyone. [Also,] knitwear is still such a specialty of mine, so I'm going to explore that as well.

I want to start with New York [retailers] because it's my home, because it's my home base. I'm going to start with the big fashion capitals and then work my way into some of those smaller boutiques, perhaps.

-- Whitney Friedlander

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Photo at left: Project Runway Season 6 winner Irina Shabayeva poses with model Katie Sticksel wearing her new design for Macy's INC International Concepts. Credit: Business Wire. Photo at right: Sticksel models the winning look from Shabayeva and Gordana Gehlhausen in the Macy’s challenge in episode 6 of "Project Runway," Season 6 on Lifetime Television. Credit Mike Yarish / Lifetime Television.