August 2008, Interview with Daniel Vosovic (but not really)

The Story of How Everything Went Wrong When I Tried to Interview Daniel Vosovic

It is Wednesday, 5/28 and, thanks to my cat deciding that this morning would be a great time to go exploring on a 24" wide section of roof on the enormous house I'm staying in, I am late for my meeting with Project Runway alum and professional cutie pie Daniel Vosovic. I leave the house about half an hour later than expected, there's traffic at the GWB (as expected), and I don't have the number of Daniel or his person. So I call up Teany, the Moby-owned LES (you guessed it) tea joint at which I'm supposed to be meeting Daniel in- WHAT?! 7 MINUTES AND I'M AT 85TH STREET?!—and speak to a lovely, rightfully puzzled barista:

Hello, Teany.
Hi, I have a really weird request for you.
Do you ever watch Project Runway?
Then you know what Daniel Vosovic looks like?
Okay. When he comes in around 10, could you please tell him Nora's cat is a terrorist and she should be there in about 15 minutes and she's SO sorry?

She agrees, I park in a lot in Soho, quickly beg the valet to lock my doors (to a dirty look from him), and start sprinting towards Houston. Get a cab. Cab goes 4 blocks, stops at freshly-red light. I tell cabbie this is fine, hand him money, start off on foot again. This is beginning to feel like Run, Lola, Run. Stop at kebab place ATM, which can't move slow enough. Get to Teany more like half an hour late, fully expecting Daniel to have left. Instead, he's leafing through the pages of his planner (I think?), tea in front of him and muffin already devoured. I plop down across from him and smush my features up like one of those rubber face things you get at a costume shop with the 3 finger holes in the back. He manages a smile, extends a hand, and asks if I'm okay with white peony. I am okay with anything he wants. He says though he'd love to have a cat and used to live with one, it's really not the ideal situation for his allergies. (Good, they'll only get you in trouble, anyway.) He's got an appointment uptown at 12, so we probably have right around 20 minutes to talk. I cue my voice recorder. We end up leaving just before noon. The aforementioned barista is giddy and exclaims, as we leave, how great it was to meet him. I concur. Then he's off to his next interview, and I'm on my way to Williamsburg to style a shoot. The next few days are jam-packed, and on Sunday I leave for a brief respite in Savannah, GA. I carry my luggage on, including my recorder and cassette tape containing the interview. I'll transcribe it in a coffee shop, when I have all the time in the world.

Only, when I get to my hotel room and attempt to preview what's on the tape, it''s blank. As is the other side, which once held my session with Yoana Baraschi.

You know, I never did get around to seeing Be Kind Rewind.

Fucking security x ray machine motherfucker. Fuck Osama bin Laden for ruining my fucking article.

So I guess I'll write about what I remember. I am not going to try and quote Daniel. Instead, I will paraphrase what I am quite sure are Daniel's feelings and opinions. Here'goes:

Daniel Vosovic originally came to New York City to pursue his dream of fashion design at FIT. For a few years previous, Daniel had studied at a community college to save money, and before that he spent many years as a dancer and gymnast in Lowell, Michigan. His current designs are inspired by a close female friend with long blonde curls and a vicious brunette alter ego. He believes in not following trends, but, instead, making clothing work for the proportions and lifestyle of an individual. He's traveled some of Europe, but never Asia, and he looks forward to hitting Tokyo. He knows he belongs in New York. He was recently delighted to meet Subversive Jewelry's Justin Giunta, who he would love to collaborate with in the future, and yes, Lanvin totally ripped off his orchid blouse (in case anybody wasn't already sure)! He misses gymnastics and is an aspiring trapeze artist, though you'd better believe he still finds time to dance. Does he keep in touch with anyone from Project Runway? Nick, when he gets a second. Tim Gunn wrote the forward for Daniel's upcoming book, Fashion Inside Out: From Inspiration to Runway and Beyond, which should be out in the fall, and Daniel's met a bunch of the cast members from more recent seasons (and, thanks to his publishers, an Olsen twin—though I forget which one. Also, he just learned that Dallas and Houston are actually really far apart!) My admission to not thinking piling bullshit onto a piece (a la Santino) makes a great designer, and that, well, where the fuck out of left field did Chloe come from?! is met with sly smiles, nose wrinkles and winks. Though obviously tired at the beginning of our meeting, the animated Daniel V that we all know and love is now coming to the surface. His musical influences include Cat Power, but he doesn't feel their aesthetic styles mesh; he would love to dress Cate Blanchett, though, whose work he respects and who never allows a dress to wear her. I tell him I saw Notes on a Scandal with my dad, who, from the title, assumed it was politically-themed. Awkwaaard, we agree. Once seemingly anti-high waisted pants (I know—I'm the creep who dug into the archives of his Outzone blog), he now specifies that he only hates mom jeans and thinks that the finely-tuned designer high rises of today are a wonderful way to play with the bod cards we've been dealt. No stirrups for him! I wonder about his initial reaction when approached by young and hip hotel (soon-to-be) chain NYLO to design uniforms for their staff, which will also be available to the public in NYLO boutiques and online (the clothes, not the staff). Was it a foreign concept to him? Did he consider not being able to go in the direction he'd like? You have to understand, he said, he's been accosted to design for dog shows. But, you know, he's genuinely thankful for every opportunity extended to him: it keeps him from getting too antsy about his own collection, which he's been holding off on executing (but is constantly conceptualizing) while working under the tutelage of other accomplished designers. Soon, though, he promises, after the book is released—because he just can't wait any longer!

The book, by the way, is gorgeous, double-stuffed with anecdotes, funny captions and, most importantly, pictures! Good luck to Daniel on chatting up those random book industry guys with pencils behind their ears, and on making it to Asia! I'm sure you won't find it hard to make a few friends along the way.

Nora Whelan

Nora Whelan is a writer and wardrobe stylist in New York.

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