During its 14th season, the hit Lifetime show, Project Runway, introduced America to a very animated and talented designer, Merline Labissiere. Merline managed to make it to the Top 5 of the competition before being eliminated, proving that she was certainly a great contender to the show’s challenging demands. Regardless of her place on Project Runway, the show still opened doors of opportunity for Merline, and she was invited to present a collection during Fashion Week in New York. After great reviews, Merline decided to bring her newest collection to the runways of Los Angeles for the latest showing of Art Hearts Fashion at the Taglyan Complex Center in Hollywood. I was a big fan and supporter of Merline on Project Runway, so it was very fitting that I got the opportunity to interview her for The L.A. Fashion Magazine. Check out my Q&A session with Merline Labissiere below followed by a gallery of her complete collection.
Welcome to Art Hearts Fashion in L.A.! I’m so happy that you’re presenting this season. Tell me about your collection.
I’m so excited! This collection is right after coming off Project Runway and presenting in New York. I wanted to do something a little different. A lot of the materials I used were sport materials, which is very different for me. I designed for the creative woman that works in a business environment. I’m really passionate about those kinds of women, because I’m that type of woman, you know. I look at my closet and think, “I’ve got nothing to wear!” So in a sense, I’m kind of designing for me, LOL. I’m really intrigued by women that are business owners and I want to empower them to go into the workforce. I also have an architectural background, and really wanted to showcase that. This collection is inspired by the island of Haiti. I took satellite maps of Haiti and used those different shapes to create different lines and silhouettes for this collection. I wanted to bring it back home with this collection.
How does it feel creating collections for yourself as opposed to creating clothing under the guide of Project Runway?
It’s very different. I think the pressure is always the same, maybe a little more on Project Runway because you’re on TV. But the biggest difference to me is now I’m really getting to know who my woman is every day. I’m getting to know who she is and what her needs are. One of the lessons that I’ve taken with me from Project Runway is being more practical as a designer and figuring out how to mix my architecture into something the average woman can wear to work.
Is this your first time in L.A., and do you think your clothing translates well to the L.A. woman?
We were here briefly for one episode of Project Runway, but technically yes, this is my first time in L.A. And Yes, oh my God! L.A. is so creative; this is the market for Hollywood and being able to be a creative woman. I think my woman is overall, very metropolitan instead of small town girl, and I think L.A. is the right fit.
What’s next for Merline Labisierre?
I’m learning new techniques and I’m constantly growing as a designer. One thing about me is, I’m not afraid of people telling me, “You suck,” because that just makes me get better. I love feedback and improving myself, and think that’s what the journey’s all about as a designer. I’d say follow me on social media @merline.labissiere to keep up with me and everything I’m working on.
Photography credit: © 2016 Albert Evangelista Photography (Instagram/Twitter: @aarree)