By Rick Romancito
She was close to being eliminated more than once. She fought with her team members several times and shed tears at the mean comments made about her designs. But, in the end, Patricia Michaels did it all with style, dignity and, even though she came in second place, she stands poised to take the fashion world by storm.
However, what she has received in media exposure, name recognition, sales and celebrity status is probably worth millions. Just last weekend, she took 2011 Best Actress Oscar winner Natalie Portman to the annual Gathering of Nations Powwow in Albuquerque. Portman is in the state filming “Jane Got a Gun.” Michaels has been interviewed countless times for media stories and has brought a level of attention to Taos you cannot put a price tag on. The Smithsonian Institute wants to do a retrospective of her work in October.
By Phaedra Haywood
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.
Michaels' longtime assistant, Amber Gunn Gauthier, said the duo already are working on a line that they'll debut at New York Fashion Week in September, aided by support from Thursday's fundraiser. Posen has asked Michaels to collaborate with him on a textile project. Her work will also be the subject of a retrospective curated by the Smithsonian. Just this week, she turned away people who wanted to take her textile-making class at the POEH Center in Pojoaque. And she's she has several other projects that are still in the secrecy stage.
Guest judge and fashion superstar Michael Kors said at the beginning of her runway show, "I was like, 'Oh my god, the art teacher is on an acid trip,'" but he later called Michaels work "fabulous" and said it "comes from her soul."