Chris March On Meryl Streep And Why Bigger Is Always Better
Chris March has come a long way from his fourth-runner-up finish on Project Runway in 2007. The aspiring designer now has his own Bravo show, complete with celebrity clients and a wacky group of assistants. March sat down with Styleite to tell us about his new show, his designing philosophy, and his favorite client of all time.
Styleite: Hi Chris! Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us. What do you think sets “Mad Fashion” apart from other Bravo shows we’ve seen before about fashion and styling?
Chris March: As you can see from the first episode, we’re a little more on the outrageous side. But, you know, not every episode is that outrageous, some are more some are less — it depends on the client and the episode.
Styleite: In the premiere [episode], you were designing for Ruthie Davis, and she described the dress you made for her in her own words as “crazytown.” You’ve also gotten a lot of positive attention for designing Meryl Streep’s Oscar dress in 2010. Do you prefer the more restrained stuff, or do you like doing the costumes more?
Chris March: Um, I like both, I think it depends on the client. I just like doing the right thing for the right person and making them happy, and of course I love making the outrageous stuff because nobody else really does what I do, but classic can be fun too.
Styleite: Have you ever had a client who totally panicked about wearing one of your more theatrical designs?
Chris March: [Laughs] Um, I’ve had some moments of panic where we’ve had to make one or two things a little bit smaller, so they were a little more comfortable.
Styleite: Who else will we be seeing on the upcoming season of “Mad Fashion?”
Chris March: Well, one of the episodes is about Jennifer Coolidge, and we made her an outfit for Mardi Gras in New Orleans. We made an outfit for Chrissy Teigen, who’s John Legend’s girlfriend and a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, for the Met Ball. I don’t want to tell you too many! [There's also] some drag involved [in the season.]
Styleite: In the premiere, I didn’t see a mention of your “Project Runway” background — either your original season or your season of “Project Runway: All Stars.” Was there a reason you chose to distance yourself from the show?
Chris March: Well, I don’t think we chose to distance myself from the show. We only have 22 minutes for each episode. I think we talk about “Project Runway” at some point during the whole thing, I’m not sure.
Styleite: I was hoping you could also tell me a little bit about your team. How did you meet everybody?
Chris March: Matt James is my best friend, and we’ve been friends for 25 years. At one point we actually worked together in the same workshop, alone in the same room every day for 10 years…so we know each other very well. Izzy Decauwert, our “wig goddess,” I used to work with at Hairspray on Broadway [in New York City], and that’s where I met Alex Barlett as well. Christine Brown is, as you see in the first episode, a brand new person on my crew…she’s worked with Heatherette and just graduated from Pratt. And Jake Kelsey, my assistant, knows nothing about fashion at all [laughs] but he’s a really great assistant and got me gallons and gallons of coffee and took care of whatever we needed, so that was great too.
Styleite: Who would you say has been your favorite client, either on or off the show?
Chris March: Well, I guess I’d have to say my favorite client is Meryl Streep because, you know…
Styleite: She’s the queen!
Chris March: Right. And she’s just soooo nice.
Styleite: How much input did [Streep] have in [the dress] you ended up designing for her?
Chris March: She’s very savvy about what she wants to wear, and she pays very close attention to what you’re doing, but, you know, every woman has things she likes and doesn’t like, and I make sure to pay attention to that kind of thing. That’s what being a good designer is all about.
Styleite: Who is your dream client?
Chris March: You know, it’s kind of funny because for a while my dream client was Lady Gaga, and I’m actually making something for her right now.
Styleite: So we won’t be seeing this on the show?
Chris March: No, this is just something I’m doing right now. It’s top secret right now, but if this comes out after next week you’ll have seen it. [March dressed Lady Gaga for an iheartradio event in Las Vegas the weekend of September 23rd -- see below!]
Styleite: Well Chris, we really appreciate you taking the time to speak with us, and the show looks great! We’ll definitely be watching.
Chris March: Thanks!
“Mad Fashion” premieres on Bravo on October 4th at 10pm/9pm Central.