Idea No.


Project Runway Party - Design Original Outfit



February 2009


Tricia in Watertown, SD, USA

Runner Up

Runway Fashion Designer Party

My daughter wanted a Project Runway party, so we tried to create an event that would be fun for all, whether they knew the show or not.  We copied the theme of the Bravo T.V. show, and using many of our own items and some we created using our computer, we were able to have major fun with minor expense.  It was definitely one of our best!  

INVITATION:  Our invitation was an application form for Project Runway.  I visited the site and mimicked the wording and details.  The top page said Casting Call had clip art of the Project Runway logo on top, and then said You're either In" or you're "Auf'ed".  Do you have what it takes to Make it work?  Fifteen contestants but only one can be the winner! For these contestants "Project Runway Party" is the chance of a lifetime!  We are currently accepting applications.  I then listed eligibility requirements including age a connection to (the birthday girl) and the ability to dress themselves.  This cover letter closed with the instructions to submit applications/RSVP and informed guests that As a selected semi-finalist you will be asked to travel at your own expense to our semi-final location (address) where your design work will be assessed by Tim Gunn and/ or our panel of fashion industry experts. Semi-finals will take place on (date) at (time). I used the Project Runway clip art across the bottom to make it look official.   Along with this cover sheet I sent an application to fill out. 

Some questions included: Have you ever watched the show Project Runway? Have you ever secretly dreamed of being on television?  Are you a fashion designer?  If yes for how many years? Do you select your own clothing?  Do you know how to cut?  Sew?  Sketch?  Sing Happy Birthday? What are your strengths and weaknesses related to fashion? There were also some silly questions like describe your worst fashion mistake describe your favorite article of clothing what is your favorite fashion trend etc. The bottom was like a contract:  By signing below I the undersigned hereby represent warrant acknowledge and agree that I have read and I meet the eligibility requirements and that I will be a good sport and participate in all party activities regardless of my competence as a fashion designer. Guests completed and returned these applications and we hung them for all the guests to enjoy throughout the party.  We actually used the order of the returned applications/RSVP's to determine the order for our model selection later so it was a friendly competition.  If guests were not familiar with the show I also found a few short clips online that included highlights of the show so they could see what they were in for.  I emailed these links and also had those playing as guests arrived to get them in the spirit. 

DECORATIONS:  The main activity was to design a dress for a model a Barbie doll.  I covered a long table with black paper and then ran clear Christmas lights around the edge to look like a runway.  I hung white paper for a simple backdrop and then printed the Project Runway logo with Jane Doe Birthday Episode printed underneath.  This I hung right in the center.  I purchased doll stands on eBay (about $1 apiece) and displayed all of the dolls.  Like on the show we wanted the models to all look alike for the selection so I wrapped each one in a white tissue tied with a small ribbon- it looked like a simple white slip on each doll.  We brushed their hair and pulled it back in to a pony tail for each one then lined them up on the runway.  We have three daughters so had no trouble coming up with 15 different Barbies.  We also created a accessory wall like on the show.  We gathered up all of our Barbie shoes hats purses and accessories and displayed them in a shadow box.  I printed out the logo and hung that above the box.  There was also a L'Oreal logo and the TRESemme Hair Salon logo by the little Barbie brushes and hair elastics for designers to use to prep their models hair.  Around the entire room we hung pictures of gowns and dresses.  I bought a prom edition of a teen magazine so there were pages and pages of different dresses.  We just cut them out and hung them up.  While we waited for activities to start guests were asked to place sticky notes to indicate their choices for best and worst.  This was a fun ice breaker and provided all the decoration we needed.  

ACTIVITIES:  Our main activity was to design an original outfit for the models.  I had found the soundtrack to Project Runway so we used the real music to cue the different sections of the party.  As hostess (Heidi Klum) I welcomed the guests.  Hello designers!  For you 15 designers Project Runway is the chance of a lifetime.  At stake for the winner:  A banana to eat in the republic of your choice an old copy of Elle magazine and $10 to start your own clothing line.

First you must select your models.  I had created names for each Barbie and displayed them on little place cards in front of each doll so the designers selected their models by name.   As they chose I wrote in the designer's name on the cards too so that when they were placed back on the runway we would know whose design was whose.  Once the models were selected I gave the details of the challenge.  For your challenge today you will be designing a look for a Barbie doll that reflects your fashion point of view.  You will have a budget of NO dollars and up to 25 minutes to complete your look.  You may use any materials and tools in this basket for your design.  We will score your design based on originality fashionability and execution. Be sure to use the accessory wall to compliment your design.  You must also take your model to the L'Oreal Paris Make-up room and TRESemme hair salon within your design time to create an overall look that will impress the judges.  Good luck!  And then the time began. 

In the basket I had rolls of aluminum foil scissors and scotch tape (regular and double stick).  Foil was the perfect choice because it could bend tear fold and mold to the dolls bodies easily.  With the double stick tape it was easy to connect multiple pieces and the tape stuck well to the dolls and also removed easily when we were done.  The foil was also very inexpensive and didn't require actual sewing.  It was crazy fun!  Some made a mad scramble for the accessories while others started working with the foil right away.  I had the music playing in the background and got lots of good photos of the guests at work.  Some were so focused they hardly looked up while others chatted and teased each other the entire time much like the real show!   I watched the time and actually gave them a bit more than 25 minutes because things were going so well but I still wanted to have the time pressure as they have on the show. We also had the role of Tim Gunn visiting each designer to ask about what they were doing and how it was going reminding them to Make it work!  Anyone familiar with the show knows some of the phrases and lingo so it was fun to hear them playing along.   As they finished the dolls were put back in their stands on display. Once time was up we held our fashion show.  I again tried to mimic the style of the show.  Hello designers welcome to the runway.  As you know in fashion one day you are in the next day you are out. 

For the winner of today's challenge  I announced the judges with little biography spoofs about each one (designing for her own dolls since the age of 7 he's been dressing himself successfully since first grade.) We used relatives as our guest judges who were willing to be in character and challenge the designers a bit this part was fun especially for those who were very familiar with the show.  The designers each took a turn explaining their outfits and the judges recorded a score for each one.  There was lively commentary and good natured teasing from the audience as each designer presented his/her ideas.  Once the scores were totaled I announced the designers who were out and wished them "Auf Wiedersehen!" Finally the winner was revealed and all cheered.  The winner got a banana a copy of Elle magazine a picture of a Saturn Roadster and a fake $10 bill.  Guests had fun checking out each other's models and talking about the things that worked and didn't!  After our refreshments we played a few more fashion games.  As a group we played Shoe Bingo. 

I created a list of shoe styles:  stilettos go-go boots pumps flip flops Moon Boots high tops cleats wing tips Uggs etc.  I had about 30-35 different styles that I found.  I found an oline site that creates Bingo cards ( and printed a new card for each guest plus a few extras.  Rather than call the type of shoe I showed pictures I had printed so guests had to identify the type of shoe and cover it on their card.  Some guests knew them all and others knew very few but it was fun to discuss the different styles.  It also would have been fun to collect different shoe samples to use rather than pictures.    We did a make-over contest as well.  I found a blank makeup face online. I used old play makeup we had (or get some cheap stuff from the dollar store) and divided guests into two or three groups.   While one group competes the others got to watch the fun!  With blindfolds on the makeup artists applied eye shadow blush and lipstick to their paper faces.  This was like a grown up version of pin-the-tail on the donkey.  They had a blast watching their friends try to apply the colors to the right places on the face.  After all groups have a chance to compete the results were hung and voted on by the group.  

Finally I made up a brand name quiz using images I searched for on Google.  I found famous logos or items that represented popular designers and showed them one by one while guests tried to match the article to the name brand (Polo Tommy Hilfiger Fruit of the Loom Nike etc.).  Guests had to identify the brand show and the winner was the one who knew the most. PARTY SNACKS:  We tried to have a red carpet feel to the event so after our design contest we had appetizers and finger foods:  little cocktail wieners small cheese squares on frilly toothpicks vegetables with dip tortilla rolls etc We served mock cocktails in fancy glasses and used good china and silverware which meant we didn't even have to buy paper goods.

CAKE:  I decided to make individual cupcakes rather than one large cake.  I was able to make a few flavors with different fillings/frostings.  I used silver cupcake liners so they would all look the same and be a little glamorous.   To tie them all together I printed out mailing labels with the Project Runway logo on each one.  Some had our Birthday Episode printed underneath while others had a gown image or a dress form on them.  I stuck these labels back to back around a toothpick to tuck into each cupcake.  They looked fancy and were personalized to our event with very little work.  Each guest got their flavor of choice and there was no messy cutting or serving!

FAVORS:  We took a photo of each designer with their Barbie creation and used these to create personalized thank yous.  Each girl also got a few fashion items:  nail polish hair clips and a small sewing kit from the dollar store to inspire their fashion career!!

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