What has become of Project Runway season five winner Leanne Marshall? She certainly hasn’t been as omnipresent as previous winner Christian Siriano. Find out what’s new with “Leanimal” below.
Name: Leanne Marshall
How You Know Her: As the most recent Project Runway Winner, Marshall took home the title of top designer for the fifth season, the final installment to air on Bravo. She won an editorial feature in Elle Magazine, $100,000 to start her line with the opportunity to sell on Bluefly.com, and a brand new 2009 Saturn Vue Hybrid. “My collection was incredibly cohesive, it was very inspired and it was new – it was truly modern. Half of the materials I used were sustainable. And I was doing techniques that you don’t traditionally see everywhere. I think at the end of the day it was the freshest, most modern-looking collection and the crowd loved it,” she told People following her win.
Where She’s Been: Good question. Unlike her predecessor, season four winner Christian Siriano, Marshall has shied away from the limelight. But that doesn’t mean she hasn’t kept busy. Marshall recently debuted the fall 2009 collection of her line, Leanne Marshall, her first post-Project Runway effort, and the re-birth of her former brand, Leanimal. Her designs are sold in various stores in her home state of Oregon, as well as through her website, www.leanimal.com, the online clothing boutique, Etsy.com, as well as Bluefly.com, which just launched her line last month, nearly a year after her win. Her pieces range in price from a $98 top to a $990 extravagant blue gown. But don’t look for any pieces you saw on Runway. Turns out what you see on TV is a one time design only! “They were auctioned off, and we’re not allowed to re-create any of them. They are all meant to be one-of-a-kind for the show. I can’t tell you how many thousands of people emailed me wanting specific things from that collection. I was like, “I can’t, I can’t!” she said.
What We Know About Her: A former graphic designer known for her structured designs, and signature petal-ed look, Marshall beat out finalists Korto Momulo and rival Kenley Collins for the win. Inspired by nature and architecture, Marshall incorporates eco-friendly textiles in over half of what she creates, with sustainability as a leading factor in all she designs.
What You Might Not Know: Second time was the charm for Leanne, who didn’t make the cut while auditioning for season four. “This was my second time auditioning. I auditioned for season 4 as a last minute decision and I made it past the first cut, but ultimately I didn’t make it and I don’t think I was ready for it then. The second time was the charm, and I was without a doubt a much stronger designer; I had been making clothes constantly in the last year,” she blogged on Etsy.
Runway Life: “Once I found out I had made it I was beyond thrilled! And of course it was so much harder than I could ever be prepared for! I’m used to working alone in my studio apartment all day long. It’s just me, my sewing machine and a closet that is overflowing outward with fabric! This environment was the complete opposite with the cameras, the crazy personalities and all the drama! But it was the experience of a lifetime, without a doubt, and I made some great friends while I was there, too,” she continued in her blog. But don’t expect those “friends” to include her rival competitor Kenley Collins. “I don’t think we’ll ever be best pals but I think we’re good now,” she told People.
What’s Next: The west coast native relocated cross country and now calls Brooklyn, New York, home. With the recent launch of her Bluefly line, Marshall is now focusing on her Spring 2010 collection. “I’ve been working on my Spring 2010 collection for about a month now, though I’m behind!” she told StyleList last month. “I’m going to show during Fashion Week, but I’m not 100 percent sure where yet. I do have one venue in mind, but I am holding out for Bryant Park, because that would be amazing!” As for what you can expect to see, well, you’ll just have to hold tight. “It changes every day,” she said.