Chloe Dao Is The Next Great American Designer?

March 9th, 2006 // 9 Comments

While I wasn’t ever a huge fan of Chloe’s, but at least her collection wasn’t boring. Santino’s was pretty, but boring and ill-fitting. Daniel’s was well tailored, but boring and had no cohesiveness. Chloe’s was full of drama, the line fit the models bodies exquisitely, and it was similar to what was on the runway during Paris fashion week.

Chloe Dao, an aspiring designer from Houston who came to America as a child from war-torn southeast Asia, won the second season of the Bravo fashion-competition hit “Project Runway” on Wednesday, netting a $100,000 cash prize to start her own clothing line.

“Are you kidding me? No way!” said a genuinely surprised Dao when the Emmy-nominated show’s judges named her the winner over the other two finalists, recent fashion school graduate Daniel Vasovic and Santino Rice, an outspoken Californian who emerged as the reality show’s star and chief villain.

“We loved what you did,” supermodel Heidi Klum, the cable-TV show’s host, told Dao.

In choosing Dao, who will also receive at 2007 Saturn and a splashy layout in Elle magazine, not to mention bragging rights and invaluable media attention, judges Michael Kors, Elle editor Nina Garcia and actress Debra Messing cited the perfect construction and fit of the 13 designs she showed during last month’s Olympus Fashion Week in New York.

Her looks, which skewed toward the formal, were decidedly assertive and structured but elegant, with a dose of glamour.

It’s just too bad that she’s kind of boring. See what Tim Gunn had to say about the finale. My favorite quote from Tim regarding Chloe’s collection, “My overall impression was that the customer for the collection would be an older, mature individual (can we all scream “Wendy Pepper!”) and that Chloe’s home state of Texas would be an appropriate market.”

Chloe wins second season of TV’s “Project Runway” [Reuters]

By Miu von Furstenberg

  1. Nicole

    I liked Santino’s line!

    Daniel’s was really dull (those bags were hideous, too) and all of Chloe’s dresses looked the same – the exact same fabric, very similar cuts. And way too much SHINE.

    Santino’s stuff may not have been well fitted, but the designs were ALL a dream. I think if either of the others had shown that line, the judges would have been blown away – but for Santino it was ‘too safe’. I really loved it. Not fair!

    I so want Tim Gunn to evaluate my life – the man is a genius.

  2. renee

    SANTINO rules!
    Chole’s garments were ok, but I would never wear them and I’m a friggin stylist!
    Her seams are great, like Heidi said, but that fabric is so 80s JC Penny.
    Long live flowy beauty and Santino!

  3. renee

    SANTINO rules!
    Chole’s garments were ok, but I would never wear them and I’m a friggin stylist!
    Her seams are great, like Heidi said, but that fabric is so 80s JC Penney.
    Long live flowy beauty and Santino!

  4. k

    Ditto about the 80s fabrics…and the little matching shrug things? Those pieces were strictly 80s cocktail dresses.


  5. Mariana

    Project Runway is a great show, but it’s BS. Donna Karan (not a huge favorite of mine, but she’s very successful) has never sewn a thing. You think Ralph Lauren sews his own clothes? Does John Galliano make his own couture? No.

    Creativity in the design itself is typically overshadowed by how well the contestant can sew, which is stupid. Once they launch their own line, they’re not doing any damn sewing.

    Santino used a classic “Art of War” type tactic. Stayed on the show by being obnoxious but a ratings draw, even though his clothes are hideous, then played it safe in the final three.

    Daniel will still be a success. Micheal Kors offered him a job on TV!

    Chloe’s clothes are similar to Herrera, Bill Blass and lots of other uptown socialite designers. It’s not edgy, but it’s beautiful.

  6. BlazerMary

    Santino’s line was my favorite as well. I was a little annoyed how quickly the judges dismissed him in the final judging. I have to wonder how much of that was a reaction to his past behavior with them.

    And speaking of judges, I found Deborah Messing beyond annoying. She added nothing of substance. However, since she’s moved into the “matronly” phase since she had her baby, I can see why she was so hyped about Chloe. She couldn’t get one leg into any of Santino’s designs.

  7. renee

    i totally agree with the whole argument about the sewing, it’s lame! they spent more time sewing then creating and that just sucks!
    I love Daniel too and he would fit in well at MK. Last years PR was so much better, more risks, more style.
    I watch it to see creativity and instead I end up yelling at my TV…
    Also ditto to BlazerMary, Debra Messing was a pain in the ass with her “tell me aout the story…”
    They should have had Tim Gunn be the guest judge for the last challenge.
    Ok, I think I’m done ranting for now, I would audition for this show but I can’t sew a friggin button on.. oh well… =)

  8. Rumor

    After learning about the three finalist on the second to final show, I wanted each one of them to win. They are all special people, with unique stories about their lives. Daniel is a boy wonder. He’s gonna be alright. Santino has a heart after all. He didn’t win, but I know that despite his pretentious behavior, he has a lot of fans. He’ll make it work. Who would have ever thought Chloe beat such odds? Her life story is amazing. Imagine your family trying to escape to America and being put in prison. Bless that woman’s heart.

    You know, I didn’t expect Chloe to win, so it was a total surprise. Throughout the show, I thought she was good, but I thought the other two guys would be even better. I’m so happy for her!

    Sorry, but overall I thought the looks were somewhat dull. They were missing that “Wow” factor. There were some nice pieces, but nothing compared to the spectacular showings of last year’s finalists.

    Oh well. Tim Gunn said there will be another season. I’m excited! I am ready for the next Project Runway.

  9. Natalie

    Chole deserved to win more than Daniel and especially Santino. Unlike the two guys, Chole knows her customer and has business savvy. She would not put the prize money to waste. Who would wear Santino besides Nicky Hilton? Daniel still has a lot to learn.

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