By Phaedra Haywood
“Sorry guys,” the designer said to supporters who gathered for a $100-a-plate dinner at a private home on Santa Fe’s east side to watch results of the competition’s finale, which was recorded last summer but kept secret until Thursday night’s broadcast.
Michaels’ second-place finish means she won’t get the $100,000 top prize to create a new line to sell at Lord & Taylor department stores. She also didn’t win a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine or a new Lexus.
Those prizes go to first-place finisher Michelle Lesniak Franklin, who some partisans considered the “mean girl” on the show.
But Michaels’ 12-piece collection, inspired by trees and embellished with horse hair and handmade sterling silver sequins, created quite a stir amongst the celebrity judges on the panel, including famed dress designer Zach Posen, who dubbed it “techno pow-pow.”
And Michaels—the first Native American to appear on the show and a season-long favorite of host Klum—has already begun to parlay the exposure into a number of lucrative and creative projects.
By Joan Livingston
She employed materials such as horsehair and mica. Silver pieces were fashioned in her stepfather's blacksmith shop.
One judge labeled an outfit as "techno powwow."
Michaels was one of 16 contestants at the start. Originality was a key element in her designs throughout the season.
"We expected your collection to be one of a kind," Heidi Klum, head judge, told Michaels at the finale.