Nina Garcia might spend her days as the Fashion Director for Elle Magazine, but she’s become a familiar face to fans of Project Runway for her role as a judge on the Bravo reality competition series.
Garcia sits alongside designer Michael Kors, and host and model Heidi Klum as one of the regular judges on the program. The Project Runway panel is a one with no Paula Abdul; unlike American Idol, all of the judges are pretty tough on the designers. Garcia is usually no-nonsense and direct with her critique of the designers.
She is probably a little intimidating to the designers, but no doubt most have found it helpful to have some one-on-one advice from a fashion industry heavyweight. Now you too, can get some pointers from the Project Runway judge. You, though, can at least do it in the privacy of your own home, away from her withering scrutiny.
Not to be outdone by fellow Project Runway regular Tim Gunn and his Guide to Style, she’s releasing her own fashion guidebook: The Little Black Book of Style.
In it, she shares the origins of her own personal style. She recounts her arrival at a Massachusetts all-girls boarding school, and finding herself facing a sea of preppy conformity. She says, “Nothing can prepare a Colombian girl for the sight of one hundred American girls trudging across campus in duck boots.” At the time, she was quite put off by it (she was sporting “short skirt, high heels, and rabbit fur”), but now, she says, she can appreciate the aesthetic.
She says, “I’m sure I thought myself quite superior, but now I admire a lot of those very American things. I think that blue jeans and a white shirt can be the most fabulous outfit. It’s all about how you wear it. And I love a Chanel bag, but I also see the perfection in an L.L. Bean canvas tote. Functional, chic, simple. It’s about how you carry it…I…owe quite a bit to a group of American prep school girls, who gave me my first culture shock, who gave me the opportunity to hold my own, and who understood simplicity long before I did.”
So whether it’s blue jeans and a white shirt or a mini-skirt with rabbit fur, what’s the Project Runway judge’s pick for the most important accessory for a woman? Confidence.
She writes, “Confidence is captivating, it is powerful, and it does not fade—and that is endlessly more interesting than beauty. The first and most important step to developing style is to project this kind of confidence. The kind of confidence that tells others that you respect yourself, love yourself, and dress up for yourself and nobody else. You are your own muse. Style comes from knowing who you are and who you want to be in the world; it does not come from wanting to be somebody else, or wanting to be thinner, shorter, taller, prettier. Many of the most stylish women in the world have not been great beauties, but they have all drawn from an enormous amount of self-confidence. They made us think they were beautiful simply by believing it themselves. They did not let anyone else define them; they defined themselves.”
Project Runway fans interested in more fashion tips can pick up Nina Garcia‘s book when it’s released after Labor Day.
– Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of Bravo)