Life on the Runway

Follow Kayne’s runway journey from the past to the present while enjoying behind-the-scene stories.

So excited to share behind the scene stories from my life on the runway. A little back story on this first audition video when I auditioned for season 3 of Project Runway. My model and I had driven from Norman to Chicago and I thought I would get a hotel room once I got there. Well, there was an international doctor’s convention in town and there were no hotel rooms for 50 miles. My model slept in the valet area of the hotel where the auditions were being held while I finished putting my portfolio together. So I was on very little sleep for the three days leading up to the auditions.

The first round of the auditions a set of judges looks at your portfolio and if you pass this round then you go to the next round where a different set of judges looks at your 3 garments you have brought to show the judges. They asked that you bring your best three pieces of work. If you pass that round then you go to the last in person stage where you are in front of a panel of judges including Tim Gunn. That is what you will see in this clip. I was so nervous and so excited and sleep deprived all at the same time.

Well obviously, I made it to the final round and they put me through. Then we were instructed to create a 3 minute bio video and make it unique and all about our life and design career. I had less than a week to create this video and so on my drive back to Norman from Chicago I had the idea to incorporate little movie spoofs into my bio video. So the first one was from the Blair witch project, one of the biggest movies of that year. The “NO Wire Hangers!” clip was inspired by the movie Mommy Dearest.

I had no video editing skills, so we were literally pressing stop and record on a camcorder to send in my video on a VHS tape.

Growing up I always thought I would be a veterinarian or a marine biologist. I loved animals and always had a pet or three or four. I had pet fish, hamsters, Guinea pigs, mice, rats, ferrets, dogs, cats, parakeets, turtles, frogs, hermit crabs, basically you name it, and I probably had it as a pet growing up. At 15 years old, I got my first job out of vet clinic as the vet’s assistant. I quickly began grooming the animals, assisting in surgery, drawing blood, running various lab tests, ordering inventory, etc. I loved working with people and their pets and it kind of came natural to me.

Then one of my sisters told me about a job at a small evening wear boutique where she shopped for prom and pageant gowns. The owner needed someone to help sell the gowns as well as sketch custom designs to be sent to designers in LA and New York to be produced. I fell in love with the fashion industry and quickly became a buyer for the boutique. I realized the power of clothing and how the right dress could change someone’s mood or confidence. I loved helping our clients look and feel beautiful. Honestly, I felt guilty for getting a paycheck at the boutique. That coupled with 8 years of college for veterinary medicine versus four years with fashion design, I changed my major to fashion design.

I took one semester at O’More College of Design in Franklin, Tennessee, and that solidified my decision to make the world of fashion my home. I transferred to The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City and graduated in 2002. I feel like I have the best of both worlds being able to still have pets and love my animals, but help so many people Feel Beautiful.

So I had a very tiny humble store in Norman, Oklahoma called Southern Charm where girls would come and shop for a fabulous gown to wear to their special event. We had just a few days after this audition to turn in our bio video which you see clips of what I submitted here. I wanted my video to really stand out so on the drive home after getting through this interview round with the judges, I came up with the idea to do some of my favorite movie spoofs included in my video. It’s so funny to look back at the quality of the video and how grainy it is. You have to remember this was 2006 and video editing software was not very common if you weren’t in that industry. So my video was all pressing stop and record on a VHS camcorder!

So you’ll notice the first movie I spoofed in my bio video was from one of the top movies at the time “The Blair Witch Project”. It was from the last part of the movie when the actress was all alone scared in the dark with the flashlight. The other spoof was from one of my favorite movies of all time with Joan Crawford, “Mommy Dearest”. This one is the “NO WIRE HANGERS!” reference. I guess you could say I’ve always been a lil’ crazy and had no problem acting in this video! Thanks to my High School Theater Teacher Mrs. Blankenship.

Everyone knows that Dolly Parton is my favorite person in the world outside of my friends, family, and partner Ian, of course. She was a mentor of mine before I even met her and designed for her. She taught me to be proud of where you come from no matter how big or small.

She is also one of the hardest working people in show business. Of course I love all the hair and make up and rhinestones, but her authenticity is what I most admire. The world would be a lot better place if we all tried to be a little more like Dolly.

Thank goodness Tim liked me and I was able to show him on the show that I could design and sew anything!

In this challenge, our models chose a fashion icon for each of us designers to create a modern look for. I was thrilled when my model Amanda chose Marilyn Monroe, as there are few fashion icons more glamorous! To this day, she has remained a beauty icon.

While designing this look, I enjoyed bouncing ideas off Tim Gunn. I used black lamb skin leather, black stretch powermesh, and a nude jersey lining. However, I have yet to recreate this look. Let me know if you think I should!