Posted: Sep 10, 2006 9:03 pm
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: So, what's it been like watching yourself every week on the show?
VINCENT LIBRETTI: It's been pretty cool. You know what they say, look at the bright side. Outside of the box, I got a lot of good accolades from people in the industry that I'm really happy about. I just did an Emmy dress not too long ago. Someone came in with a large amount of cash to endorse me. The exposure has been phenomenal.
Someone is giving you cash to start your own line?
The person wants to come in with $100,000 that will enable me to secure or raise more financing. I've been in this business. You need a lot more money than that. I'm looking to raise about half a million to put up a boutique in Los Angeles and then beyond. The first hundred thousand is a nice little thing. I have a financial guy who says we'll get the rest.
Were you surprised that you went home this week, considering some of the other dresses in the bottom?
I'm very honest. It's just my nature. By far I know my garment was way, way, way better than anyone else's. It's a great garment. It's beautiful. It's gorgeous. I love couture. I love to grab hold onto that and ride with it. The impact was there when Jia walked out with my garment. During the full extent of the show I don't believe the judges understood my clothing. I'm the designer on the show. I'm more innovative. Either America will say, ''Hey, Vincent, I really like you and the judges are crazy,'' or not. It doesn't matter. It's the exposure I'm getting that is most important.
What do you make of the fact that the judges didn't seem to get your dress? They wanted the back and front switched, among other things.
Stuff like that is okay to hear. It doesn't bother me. But you know, last week when Nina Garcia said to Jeffrey, ''You know what, I really like your outfit because it could go to London, Paris, or New York.'' Those remarks were to me, not Jeffrey, but they switched them to Jeffrey. I was watching it, and I looked at my wife and I go, ''Wait a minute.'' I'm over it now, though. I think more than any of the designers I'm getting enormous calls.
Do you regret using so much glue in the 11th hour on your dress?
Not at all. It's a joke — you have 20 hours to make a couture dress? Did you see the shoulder? I did so much work. I laugh at that. I think it's wonderful I glued it. Big deal. It's a freakin' TV show. You've got to be kidding me. That dress was impeccable. It was gorgeous for what it was in 20 hours. They're going to try to show anything they can to make it look like I deserved to lose. But they can't edit the clothes in the end, my dear.
You won the challenge after designing for Uli's mom. Was that your favorite dress you designed?
I was very, very pleased that I flipped from Miss America to the street to a sportier look and then I came back and did a Twiggy look. Looking back now, I don't have a favorite. My range of design is my favorite. My scope of work is my favorite.
You mentioned that not everyone got your vision. Are you unhappy with how you were portrayed on the show?
Yes and no. I was more of the older guy who would help everybody. I grounded the rest of the guys and let them see reality. I said, ''Let's all hang in there.'' I was kind of the elder statesman. I brought out a lot of camaraderie. They portrayed me as a little bit crazy, and I did not like that. But with television, people are hooking into the fact that he's innovative. He's a crazy designer. The attachment to my clothes being crazy will not hurt me. It's innovative, not crazy, but it's better than boring.
I think I follow you. Let's talk about Catherine Malandrino. Were you kissing up to her on the boat, or do you really think she's that fabulous?
I was not kissing up to her at all. I likened her to Anouk Aimée. I don't kiss up to anybody. When I looked at Catherine, I saw Anouk Aimée, and she just blows my doors off. I saw a little bit of that in Catherine's style. I approached Catherine, and I said, ''I'm really fascinated by your style.'' But I don't think she liked my dress. When judges see something new, they get intimidated themselves. With Catherine and Michael Kors, I think there was a little bit of intimidation. I might frighten other designers. I really don't know.
Did you think any of the judges understood you?
I think Nina Garcia and at times Heidi understood a little more where I was going. I think what's his name, Michael Kors, didn't have a clue. He only related to what he liked, and he's a simple, pared-down designer. I don't know Tim Gunn's story. Actually, I do. Tim has been bad-mouthing me ever since the show started because I didn't choose to bow down to Tim. If he gave me great constructive advice, I would thank him, but if he tried other things, I would dismiss him. In a nice way, not a harmful way. He did not like that. So he in turn is digging a nice hole for himself for putting me down all the time. He's supposed to be dean of a design school. You don't speak about people that way.
I was recently watching a Runway rerun in which you had to work with Angela. Was it as horrible as you said, or has time healed those wounds?
It was totally the biggest nightmare of my life. Editing chose to take a position on that, and they didn't want to show Angela how she really was. I gave Angela an enormous amount of work to do. I'd say, ''Angela, did you follow the notches?'' And she'd say, ''What are notches?'' She would swing high and low a lot — like ''I want to help you'' and then ''This really sucks.'' It was a brutal nightmare. They didn't show me being pretty nice to Angela. I was pretty good about that. I didn't want to be crazy on camera. The one thing they picked up on was when I said, ''Stay three feet away from me.'' I couldn't take it anymore. They showed me as a complainer. It's all in the editing.
No one seemed too sorry to see her go last week.
Angela wasn't a very nice person. She was kind of calculative. Most of the other folks helped each other out. From that episode [when Vincent and Angela teamed], the designers went south on her. I was actually the only designer to take her back in and say, ''Hey, girl, what are you doing?'' I just came around again because I wasn't there to fight. I was there to make clothes.
Was there anyone you felt like you best connected with?
The person I liked most was Bradley. I still am buddies with him. He's just a great, great, great guy. I think he's a phenomenal designer. Jeffrey and I were roommates, and we had a very close mutual friend. We kind of liked each other's style. Jeffrey was innovative. I was innovative. Looking at what we could both do brought us together.
What was your favorite part of the Paris trip?
The boat was fun. There was a cute girl with red shoes and a tattoo. I have a lovely wife, but I was getting a little bit nosy with her. Catherine was a little bit too old for me. The other one wasn't. We wanted to meet later for a drink — Jeffrey and I and she and her girlfriend. We invited them to our room just to have a nice bottle of champagne, but unfortunately they canceled on us.
Do you design for your wife and daughter ever?
Liz [Vincent's wife] was my business partner in New York, and she used to wear a lot of my clothes. Sometimes I pick things out for Nina [Vincent's daughter]. I love to watch her sketch. She's phenomenal. They ask me in the morning, ''Do I look good?''
Among the designers who are left on the show, which one do you think is worthy of winning?
Myself. I love the truth, and I'll say this: If you look at the show and you know anything about design, you can see clearly who the designer was. They are amateurs. This show is full of amateur designers. I think one was way, way above and alone on the show. But I don't do the ego thing. It's not my style. But I love the truth.
There are no other designers who you think have a future?
I like Bradley's style a lot. I think Bradley has the most promise going forward as a designer. I'm not crazy about Jeffrey's style — I think there's a bit too much going on.
You and Laura seemed to clash sometimes. What did you make of her?
I think Laura was a rough customer, but she's a rough customer to herself and her children also. As long as Vincent is not brutal, because Vincent answers to Vincent, I don't care what anyone says about me. If I go on the reunion show, I'll laugh. I'll bless them with the sign of the cross. It doesn't matter to me. When you get older, you think, ''I'm going to let somebody bother me?''
Are people approaching you on the streets of Los Angeles asking you to design for them?
Yeah, it's cool. I got to be honest with you. At the outset of the show, it upset me how I was portrayed as a loon. Then I would start meeting people on the street who made me really, really happy because they would go, ''Hey, I like your work.'' I have a MySpace page. Right after that first dress, Alexander McQueen said to me, ''I could see where you're going. I love your style. I did a dress like your Twiggy dress for Bjork.'' We sent each other sketches back and forth. The acknowledgement of a designer of that caliber — what can you say? That really rocked me hard. In my work I see couture. I see high-end design. People on the show say, ''What's that?'' So what? It's only a matter of time before I'm up and running.