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Exclusive: 'Project Runway All Stars' winner Dmitry Sholokhov talks (Part 1)


By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/17/2015 

Project Runway All Stars crowned Dmitry Sholokhov its fourth-season winner during Thursday night's finale broadcast of the Lifetime fashion design competition.
 
Dmitry from Belarus, who currently resides in New York and previously won Project Runway's tenth season, was chosen as the winner of the competition by host Alyssa Milano, mentor Zanna Roberts, judges Georgina Chapman and Isaac Mizrahi as well as guest judges Zac Posen and Mira Sorvino.

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Dmitry won with his mini collection entitled "The Art of Fashion" which he unveiled on the runway at New York's venue Diamond Horseshoe at the Paramount Hotel. The designer's eight-piece collection, which he created and executed in only four days, was inspired by the ageless, modern and cosmopolitan woman. He defeated runner-up Sonjia Williams and third-place finisher Helen Castillo.

In an exclusive interview with Reality TV World, Dmitry talked about his Project Runway All Stars experience and victory. Below is the first half. Check back with us soon for the concluding portion.

Reality TV World: Congratulations on your big win!

Dmitry Sholokhov: Thank you very much. I'm very, very excited.

Reality TV World: After the three finalists presented their collections and got feedback from the judges, what were you expecting to happen? Did you have a gut feeling you were going to win?

Dmitry Sholokhov: I did. (Laughs) And I'm very critical. I've always been very critical of my work and of myself. I looked at all the collections with a critical eye and I felt like, in terms of the technicality and craftsmanship, I did a lot because I was doing [many alterations] and it was well thought out, so I did a lot with the fabric.

Because a lot of pieces in Sonjia and Helen's collection were beautiful but they would just take the fabric and just make the silhouette. They would not treat a fabric in other ways, and I felt like I had an extra edge to my collection. But then, at the same time, you never know what the judges are going to think or feel. But I was hoping that it was me! (Laughs)

Reality TV World: You said in your final words you're an "all-new" Dmitry after this experience. What exactly did you mean by that?

Dmitry Sholokhov: I just felt throughout this process, I had a -- I don't even know how to explain, but it was some kind of shift or eye opening. I found kind of a new approach to what I do and I'm just very grateful for what happened there.

I think Project Runway All Stars, you know, they push you to the limit and they give you an opportunity to express yourself under very, very special circumstances. And I think this experience just kind of opened my eyes a little bit and I grew a lot, that's for sure.

Reality TV World: Neither Helen or Sonjia had made the Final 3 in their respective Project Runway seasons. Since you won Season 10, did you feel like you had a great advantage in this competition? And whom did you view as your toughest competition all season?

Dmitry Sholokhov: I mean, yes and no, because first of all, it's an absolutely new production. It's new people, new judges, everything is new. I know by the time everybody came to Project Runway All Stars, everyone was more developed.

So, you know, it was stronger competition. But of course I felt more pressure being the previous winner that everybody would probably expect more from me. And then just naturally you think, "Oh my God, it's almost impossible to win again if you did it once." So it was just more pressure for sure.

And my biggest competitors? I thought it was [Season 10's Fabio Costa] and [Season 11's Michelle Lesniak], and I still think so.

Reality TV World: Why is that?

Dmitry Sholokhov: Fabio, I think, is very authentic and he's very different. And I think that's very important, for the artist to be recognizable, to be very different. Maybe he's not as developed and he needs a bit more time to kind of have a more stronger vision, but he has a very strong voice for sure.

And Michelle, I think she knows exactly who she is and I just love her confidence and I love what she does, really.

Reality TV World: Could you explain to me a little bit more about where your inspiration for "The Art of Fashion" collection you created came from? How did you determine you wanted to represent the "ageless, modern, cosmopolitan" woman?

Dmitry Sholokhov: I think that in general, that's the woman I design for and that's my customer. I always keep in mind a woman -- a customer -- right? So I design pieces that can be worn by a girl in her twenties or a woman in her fifties or sixties. So, I think it just comes natural to me. I took pretty much my customer for my inspiration and then I just went for it without really planning anything.

So, you know, I was inspired by fabric choices and then by an iconic kind of silhouette that I love, and I was just kind of playing with the techniques in there and experimenting with the techniques that I do -- but kind of in a new way.

Reality TV World: It became clear your biggest strength and weakness at the same time when designing is being so meticulous, the fact you're a perfectionist. Were you able to ever really let go of that at any point and just dive in like you had hoped, or did you just work under unbearable stress the whole time? (Laughs)

Dmitry Sholokhov: I was insanely stressed all the time, so (laughs) I'm actually very surprised about how easy it looks on TV. Because, in reality, it was just insane. And in terms of me being meticulous, I am. And again, it's a great thing to have in the business, but when you have to let things go and just come up with all of this in no time, it's very, very hard.

I was trying to just do my best because there were a lot of things and a lot of imperfections, but you know, it was really, really difficult for me because I see every little imperfection. And when I see an imperfection, I cannot be like, "Oh my God, I love it," because it is an imperfection. So it was hard for me.

Reality TV World: You mentioned at one point Helen's collection looked like "student work," and you said Sonjia used great fabric but it wasn't a fabric competition -- it was a designing competition. Do you think therefore both girls kind of struggled with the execution aspect of designing? The construction and what not?

Dmitry Sholokhov: I think both Helen and Sonjia are extremely talented. I just think Helen is still in the very, very beginning of her development as an artist. She definitely has a strong aesthetic, but I think she needs more time.

In terms of Sonjia, I think she has a great eye for color and textiles. But in terms of the design, I don't think her designs are that special. She just has a very great eye to put things together in terms of colors and fabrics. I mean, that's just how I feel.

Check back with Reality TV World soon for the concluding portion of Dmitry's exclusive interview.




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