Project Justin: A little less drama for LeBlanc on the Runway

August 30, 2013
By Bill Krueger

And then there were 10.

Ten designers left to compete on Project Runway, that is — and NC State’s Justin LeBlanc is still in the running. On last night’s episode of the reality show, LeBlanc didn’t end up in the top or in the bottom, but his outfit was good enough to survive the round.

“Safe!” he tweeted just after the judges’ ruling.

Unlike last week, little of the drama involved LeBlanc. Instead, viewers were treated to a battle of tartan plaids and a lesson on how not to rock a thigh-high boot.

prs12_justin_06152013-bn-0652The designers started by choosing a pair of shoes for inspiration. LeBlanc picked a pair of platform sky-high pumps with a colorful pattern of checks and triangles. At first glance, it seemed a challenging choice. His original plan was to use some color in the top to reflect one of the colors in the shoe, but the show’s fashion mentor Tim Gunn warned him it would look “too matchy.”

In the end, a designer who paired plaid pants with red flats was kicked off for looking “too Christmasy,” among other things. LeBlanc stayed in the running with artfully constructed slim pants and a fitted strapless top with a tiny jacket, all in black.

“I want to represent a powerful woman who is willing to wear anything — even those shoes,” he said as his model walked the runway.

Last week, the show’s storyline revolved around LeBlanc, an assistant professor at NC State and a graduate of the College of Design.

First, his glue-lace-embossed dress got him eliminated. Then the show’s fashion mentor Tim Gunn used his “save” to overrule the judges, keeping LeBlanc on the show.

It was an emotional moment, and actress Marlee Matlin later tweeted that watching the episode was ‘‘so MOVING” and added, “love u @TimGunn.” The shout-out likely had special meaning for LeBlanc, who listed her as one of the women he’d most like to design for.

Before the show started, LeBlanc reflected on his status on the show.

“I know I have the passion and fire to continue,” he said. “I’m ready. I’ve always been ready.”

—Sylvia Adcock ’81

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