Project Runway contestant Nathan Paul admits that the dress that got him booted from the competition was not his best effort.
The Manhattan-based designer, 33, was eliminated in Thursday night's episode for a challenge that asked the contestants to make over an everyday woman. His client, an aspiring R&B artist, asked for a garment she could wear onstage. Paul ended up making a blue satin dress that featured black panels and black mesh sleeves.
During the judging, Heidi Klum said the dress made the woman look like a "hoochie mama," while Nina Garcia called the whole look a "disaster" and Michael Kors said the sheer sleeves looked too "ice skater or old lady."
In a conference call with reporters Friday, Paul admitted there wasn't much of his design aesthetic reflected in the garment.
"The challenge was to have enough of my personality in the garment but still remain true to the client," he said, adding that he knew his design would be a risky one from the start. "I did have a little bit of Nathan in there, but it probably wouldn't be a garment that I would normally do and it wouldn't make my collection."
Paul said if he had to do it over, he'd probably change the fabric -- the judges didn't like how "shiny" the dress was -- but he'd likely stick with the same silhouette, because the client was comfortable with it.
Still, Paul said he deserved to go home over the other bottom-two designers, Ven Budhu and Sonjia Williams, based on the judges' critiques of all three outfits.
"But, at the end of the day, if it pleased the client, then that is my measure of success," he said.
The episode also was notable for Budhu's comments to his own client, a full-figured woman whom he brought to the verge of tears for his numerous remarks about her size.
"I would have never treated my client in that manner," Paul said. "I respected everyone especially since I do plus-size clothing, and I don't even call it that -- I call it upsize clothing. I am very sensitive to that [and] I felt he was very disrespectful."
In fact, Paul said he plans to work with local politicians to draft legislation calling for "size equality in stores."
Paul actually thought Budhu would be the designer to beat on this season of Project Runway, but "after seeing his progression through this competition, my mind has changed." Now he believes that Christopher Palu is the one to watch.