project runway all stars elisa 'Project Runway All Stars': Elisa Jimenez on her unconventional methods and dressing Mila Kunis

Although Elisa Jimenez came in 10th place during her original season of “Project Runway,” after last night’s premiere of “Project Runway All Stars” she now also belongs to the small group of designers with the distinction of being the first one voted out.
The New York artist came in last place after her hot pants creation — which she’s using in her spring collection — got a “no” from the new judging panel of Isaac Mizrahi, Georgina Chapman and host Angela Lindvall.
Jimenez, who spoke to reporters on a conference call after her elimination, says she found herself on the show via kismet. She had been meditating on what her next career move should be, and that same day received a call to be on “All Stars.” After talking it over with her daughter, she decided to participate. 
“This time when I came back, I really wanted to be present,” she says. “In Season 4 I was a bit timid about being verbal about the fact I believe in American production and artisans and small entrepreneurs and having that be part of my dialogue as an artist who does fashion. I’ve had a very blessed career in fashion, I guess because I look at it from a different perspective, I feel incredible responsible that I should be a good voice for the industry. … You can’t help but [know] you’re going to be a character of some kind, but to be a positive character in this, a good role model… that part felt good.”

Jimenez says that the new judging panel wasn’t any better or worse than the original cast, it was just a different voice. “I truly respect Mr. Mizrahi. I’ve seen him around in New York for 17, 18 years. So to have his compliment and his dialogue really meant a great deal because I was more connected with admiring his work. He’s someone in fashion who has constantly reinvented himself in an industry that’s very fickle.”

At one point during the “All Stars” premiere, new mentor Joanna Coles commented on Jimenez’s unique way of working rather than her actual work. 

“When you have such a highly intelligent and well-respected woman as Joanna Coles come up to you and the first conversation she’s having with you is about your process, you know that somehow the dialogue has shifted. Your whole method is coming into critique, not what you make.”

Still, Jimenez says she’s used to it. “I think my unconventional methods and my unconventional ideologies at times throughout my entire life have made it difficult for certain groups of people to totally understand or accept something can come out of that.”

Plus, she stands by her work from the challenge. “In the context of the runway it looks like I’m explaining the dress, but actually I was just being nervous and explaining more about the dress than I needed to explain. I was really proud of it and I think the work stands for itself. … I wouldn’t have changed a thing.”

After her exit from the show, Jimenez says she’s continuing to focus on her work. While she’d love to dress celebs like Mila Kunis — “I think she’s just a beautiful, strong [woman] and she would work in my clothes very well” — she says she’d also like to get into designing costumes for fantasy projects. “I would actually love to get into doing costuming and working with those types of projects. It’s not really one celebrity, it’s more like an industry. I make great wings!”

“Project Runway All Stars” airs Thursdays at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.

Posted by:Jean Bentley