Project Runway Season 11 is set to begin tomorrow and we hear this year the scissors are sharper then ever. LT-Insider is your official insider’s guide to what’s happening each episode and what the designers are thinking, feeling and sewing. After each episode, check out what Season 10 designer Sonjia Williams had to say about this season’s designers, judges and challenges, and in case you missed the episode, catch some highlights from the night before.

See a look you love? – you can buy the accessories from the Project Runway Accessories Wall online at LordandTaylor.com and find out how you can enter to win the ultimate $2,500 Lord & Taylor gift card to create your very own accessory wall.

But first, let’s meet the designers of Season 11. Get ready to place your bets on who is going to win, and be ready to see Project Runway challenges like never before.

 

Amanda Valentine

Age: 31
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Current Home: Lincoln, Nebraska
Favorite Designers: Isabel Marant, Yves Saint Laurent, Balmain, Alexander Wang, Gareth Pugh, Holly Fulton, Vena Cava and Balenciaga
Style Icon: Cindy Crawford (circa 1994 – MTV House of Style Era)
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Jeffrey Sebelia and Gretchen Jones

Why she’ll win?
Amanda is extremely conscious of how a woman wants to look and feel in her clothes, how those clothes fit into an everyday wardrobe, and is hyper-aware of proportion, line and fit. Growing up in a large family  may help Amanda in terms of finding compromise and diplomacy in a team environment. Above all, SHE WANTS IT!

 

 

 


Benjamin Mach

Age: 35
Hometown: Sydney Australia
Current Home: London, England
Favorite Designers: Madame Gres, Madeleine Vionnet, Cristobal Balenciaga, Elsa Shiaperelli, Yves Saint Laurent , Valentino, Halston, Alexander ‘Lee’ McQueen, Tom Ford
Style Icon: The woman who appreciates his design and wears it well
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Mondo Guerra

Why he’ll win?
Benjamin wakes in the middle of the night dreaming about dresses, can’t stop talking about fashion – its just part of who he is.  He can stay focused and use his knowledge, passion and ambition to lead him to the win.

 

 

 

Cindy Marlatt

Age: 59
Hometown: Kent, WA
Current Home: Kent, WA
Favorite Designer: Joseph Altuzarra
Style Icon: Michelle Obama
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Mondo Guerra

Why she’ll win?
Cindy has strong construction skills, good time management and experience in many textiles and alternate materials that will help her to succeed throughout the challenges throughout the season.

 

 

 

Daniel Esquivel

Age: 48
Hometown: Austin, TX
Current Home: Austin, TX
Favorite Designer: Wes Gordon
Style Icon: Sarah Jessica Parker
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Mondo Guerra

Why he’ll win?
Daniel is the true team player, ever willing to help others and selflessly sharing resources with the other designers.  And because he never went to design school, his aesthetic is unique and not one-dimensional.

 

 

 

Emily Pollard

Age: 24
Hometown: Richfield, OH
Current Home: Falls Church, VA
Favorite Designers: Gareth Pugh, Haider Ackermann, Ann Demeulemeester, Yoji Yamamoto, Rick Owens, Sarah Burton, Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Alber Elbaz, Coco Chanel, Alexander Wang, Nicolas Ghesquière
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: April Johnston and Julie Tierney 

Why she’ll win?
Emily is very driven and not afraid to try new things.  She takes chances and is always looking to build upon her designs skills and knowledge base.

 

 

 

 

James Martinez

Age: 29
Hometown: Dallas, TX
Current Home: Fort Worth, TX
Favorite Designers: Viktor & Rolf, Valentino
Style Icon: Lenny Kravitz
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Jeffrey Sebelia

Why he’ll win?
James has that Texas swagger and impeccable construction skills and creativity to help him win.

 

 

 

Joseph Aaron Segal

Age: 30
Hometown: Framingham, Massachusetts
Current Home: Providence, Rhode Island
Favorite Designers: JC de Castelbajac, Walter Van Beirendonck, Lanvin, Moonspoon Saloon, Christian Lacroix, Rei Kawakubo, Henrik Vibskov, Gareth Pugh
Style Icon: Grace Jones, Leigh Bowery, Prince
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Jay McCaroll, Christian Siriano

Why he’ll win?
Joe is smart and knows who his customer is and the kind of clothes they want to wear.  He is not easily intimated and will play to win while staying true to his voice.

 

 

 

Katelyn Pankoke

Age: 23
Hometown:  Parkland, FL
Current Home: Chicago, IL
Favorite Designers: Alberta Feretti, Marchesa, Alexander McQueen
Style Icon: Grace Kelly
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Nick Verreos

Why she’ll win?
Growing up on Disney movies, Katelyn is a true believer that dreams do come true.  She is sassy, sharp, bubbly, confident and charming – all qualities that will help her win.

 

 

 

Layana Aguilar

Age: 27
Hometown: Valadares, MG, Brazil
Current Home: Astoria, New York
Favorite Designers: Alexander McQueen, Givenchy, Balmain, Marchesa, Oscar de la Renta
Style Icon: Kate Moss
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Laura Bennett, Rami Kashou and Uli Herzner

Why she’ll win?
Everything Layana does is a matter of heart, body and soul and designing clothes for women fulfills her so she is determined to win.

 

 

 

Mat Arthur

Age: 30
Hometown: Hammond, LA
Current Home: New Orleans, LA
Favorite Designers: Alexander McQueen, Nicolas Ghesquière, Marc Jacobs, Gareth Pugh, Thom Browne, Vivienne Westwood
Style Icon: Kelly Bundy
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Jay McCarroll, Anthony Ryan

Why he’ll win?
Mat’s competitive nature sparked in his childhood during years of little league basketball and baseball. It sharpened while in high school and college competing in everything from science fairs to class elections. He may see himself as a potential underdog, but he is willing to work hard to push through to win.

 

 

 

Michelle Lesniak Franklin

Age: 34
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Current Home: Portland, Oregon
Favorite Designers: Bottega Venetta, Marc Jacobs, Alexader McQueen Derek Lam
Style Icon: Auntie Mame
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: SethAaron Henderson

Why she’ll win?
Michelle is a fierce competitor and puts forth all of her energy to the goal ahead. She’s also very persuasive and charming with the confidence and conviction to win

 

 

 

Patricia Michaels

Age: 45
Hometown: Taos, NM
Current Home: Taos, NM
Favorite Designers: Tom Ford, Prada, Diesel, Balenciaga, Coco Channel, Etro, Alexander McQueen, Diane von Furstenberg, Stella McCartney
Style Icon: Debbie Harry, Anna Wintour, Audrey Hepburn, Madonna, Angelina Jolie, Grace Kelly, Catherine Zeta-Jones
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Mondo Guerra

Why she’ll win?
Patricia will win because no one else can do what she can do – she can create a garment from the drape and pattern to the fabrication and design.  Also, her garments have meaning behind them; they come from a very old culture but she is bringing them into a very contemporary realm.

 

 

 

Richard Hallmarq

Age: 40
Hometown: Fort Ord, CA
Current Home: Sacramento, CA
Favorite Designers: Maison Martin Margiela
Style Icon: Grace Jones
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Jeffrey Sebelia

Why he’ll win?
Richard understands textiles and how they fall on a woman’s body, which will be an advantage when he’s shopping at Mood.

 

 

 

Samantha Black

Age: 28
Hometown: Bronx, NY/Fairfield CT
Current Home: Brooklyn, NY
Favorite Designers:  Alexander McQueen, Balmain
Style Icon: Lisa Bonet, Grace Jones, Madonna
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Christian Siriano

Why she’ll win?
Samantha is a tenacious competitor with a fiery temper. As a repeat applicant, and a Season 8 and 9 Finalist, she feels that she finally knows herself as a designer and the time has come for her to be on the show.

 

 

 

Stanley Hudson

Age: 45
Hometown: Lynwood, CA
Current Home: Pomona, CA
Favorite Designers: Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurant, Halston
Style Icon: Halston
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Rami Kashou

Why he’ll win?
A sharp dresser, Stanley carries himself with cool, easygoing confidence. He combines his two fashion loves, Haute Couture and American Sportswear, to create a look that is effortless, chic and sophisticated.  Stanley came to the runway with a strategy to win.

 

 

 

Tu Nakchat

Age: 26
Hometown: Chacheangsao, Thailand
Current Home: Springfield, Virginia
Favorite Designers:  Cristobal Balenciaga, Dries Van Noten, Maison Martin Margiela, Miuccia Prada, A.f. Vandevorst, Alexander McQueen, Riccardo Tisci, Nicholas Ghesquiere, Marni, Rick Owen, Viktor & Rolf, Stefano Pilati, Elbaz Albert
Style Icon:  Queen Sirikit, Carine Roitfeld, Nicole Richie and Lady Gaga
Favorite Past Project Runway Designer: Leanna Marshall, Andy South, Elena Slivnyak

Why he’ll win?
Tu has a powerful drive to succeed and puts a lot of thought into his garments, using delicate fabrics to make bold silhouettes, juxtaposing softness and strength.

 

 

 

 

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