‘Project Runway’ star makes ‘awesome’ visit to local shop

Published 6:00 am Monday, December 11, 2006

Fans, models and even some looking to join Kayne Gillaspie inthe fashion design world waited patiently for their chance to meetthe “Project Runway” star Saturday during his stop inBrookhaven.

“There are a lot of pretty girls in Brookhaven,” Gillaspie saidas he handed an autographed picture to one person during his visitat Susan’s Shoppe.

Gillaspie, who met owner Susan Nash during a fashion show inAtlanta earlier this year, came to the store for a trunk show andto promote his line of pageant gowns and fashion wear. Whilevisiting with customers Saturday morning, his appearance on SeasonThree of the Bravo network television program was a frequent topicof discussion.

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“You were our favorite of the whole bunch,” said MarcinaBardwell as she and friend Erica Keeton, both of Brookhaven, talkedwith Gillaspie.

Bardwell shares an interest in fashion design with Gillaspie.She said she is hoping to audition for Season Four of “ProjectRunway.”

“His dresses were awesome,” Bardwell said. “There’s no wayaround it.”

Gillaspie, who finished in the Top Five on the program,acknowledged the impact the show has had on his career, which hebegan in 2002. He said the program has provided “unmatchedpublicity.”

“The show is more popular than ever,” he said. “Basically,everywhere I go, people know my name and face from it.”

Gillaspie said about 70 percent of his work is related topageant gowns for girls ages 15 to 30, but he also designs customformal wear and cocktail attire. He said the highlight of hiscareer was making a gown for Miss USA Tara Connor and having herwear it in the Miss Universe pageant.

About his designs, Gillaspie said he wants them to be “fresh anddifferent.” He said his goal is to design a “gorgeous gown thatfits well on the body and makes whoever is wearing it feelwonderful.”

Judging from comments from Saturday’s fans, Gillaspie hassucceeded in impressing those who would wear what he designs.

“I loved them,” Miss Teen Mississippi-Southern Magnolia KaraHensley, of Magnolia, said about the dresses Gillaspie designedduring “Project Runway.” “I thought they were awesome.”