For a minute, it looked the pants might be Justin LeBlanc’s downfall.
During the fifth episode of the reality show Project Runway last night, the NC State design professor was struggling with the waistband and fit of a pair of cropped pants made of vintage wallpaper when he confided to another designer that he hadn’t made a pair of pants in six years. When his model walked down the runway, LeBlanc tweeted his relief that the pants didn’t rip.
But in the end, LeBlanc and his design — the pants were paired with a sleeveless ivory top with a low back and a neckline embellished by dried berries — survived the show’s so-called “unconventional materials challenge” to advance to the next round of Project Runway. He’s now competing with 10 other designers remaining after earlier eliminations.
Before his design was completed, LeBlanc had a video reunion with his mother, father and sister. “This challenge is very difficult for me … My biggest supporter is my family,’’ he said. On screen, his mom was full of questions for her son, who is deaf: “Are you doing OK? Are you communicating OK with people?”
In an interview after the show, LeBlanc’s mother, Kathy Edwards of Raleigh, said the reunion was emotional for everyone. “We hadn’t spoken for a while — and they are all such under immense pressure,” she said.
The reunion ended with everyone telling LeBlanc to hang in there and that his family loves him. The family and LeBlanc said good-bye on screen with the American Sign Language sign for “I love you.”
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the signs that LeBlanc and his family gave were the wolf sign that is familiar to all NC State fans. It is similar to the American Sign Language sign for “I love you.”
—Sylvia Adcock ’81