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Project Runway Season 7: Meet Mila Hermanovski

She's a stealth contestant, darlings.

Mila Hermanovski
Age: 40
Hometown: Dallas, TX

Okay, before we get into it, we're going to admit to our shallowness: we always sit up a little straighter and pay attention when someone with great personal style is before us. Sue us. We're fashion bloggers. LOVE the shoes, lady! And love the hair too!

Favorite designer(s)?
Helmut Lang, Preen, Courrèges, Balenciaga and Ralph Rucci.
Current occupation?
Costumer, TV/film and personal stylist.
Can you describe past jobs you've had?
Assistant designer for Calvin Klein and an associate at a fashion trend-forecasting publication.
What is a fashion must?
Perfectly tailored black blazer, trench coat, cashmere cardigan and well-fitting jeans.
What is your design training?
BFA in Apparel Design, Rhode Island School of Design; internship in UK for designer Val Piriou.
What's influenced your designs over the years?
Modern art and architecture, graphic design, vintage design, pop/street culture, music.
What's your favorite material or fabric to work with?
Wool, silk crepe, knits and any fabric that has stretch.
Do you prefer patterns or solids?
Solids or graphic patterns.
What are your favorite colors?
Black, white, red, purple and metallics.
Favorite designer from past seasons of Project Runway?
Daniel Vosovic.

Okay, what did we mean by stealth contestant? Merely that she's a little on the quiet side but the more you pay attention to her, the more you're like, "Hey, I kinda like this one."

And come on, the whole "my radical intellectual grandfather went to jail?" BEST AUDITION VIDEO STORY EVER.

See what we mean? She kind of sneaks up on you and before you know it, you're listening to everything she's saying and loving everything she's showing you.

Of a piece with her personality, her pieces all kind of draw you in. At first glance, they're deceptively simple, but then it's all, "Ooh, I like what she did there."

More on Mila Hermanovski at

[Photos: - Videos: - Q&A:]

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I like her already. Seems to know what she's doing! Hallelujah.

Well, I can see she has a "Laura Bennett" vibe, which is why you boys are so into her. But I do like her style, and her portfolio is lovely. Plus, she's a Texan. So I am required to root for her!

My comment is not intended to be anti-Laura Bennett. It is not. I love Laura!

another laura

Love that grey knit dress in the still pics.

She seems like a lovely person. I hope she lasts for a while!

I agree, she is going to go far if she stays true to herself. She seems like another Epperson, calm and focused, with an established POV. Let's hope she doesn't share his fate as well!

lovelovelove the black and white dress. I could rock that dress with high-knee boots (a shorter version, of course). Loved her story too.

Am I the only one who looked at the first picture of her and thought "Wait, that's Louise Black!" I mean, look: They're even posed the same way in the head shots!

I like the 60's vibe of some of her pieces. I look forward to seeing how she incorporates her aesthetic into the challenges.

I love the black and white dress, but the sweaters totally blew me away!


we always sit up a little straighter and pay attention when someone with great personal style is before us. Sue us.

Is that a jumpsuit that she is wearing? Because what is more attractive than a jumpsuit, one with legs that shape and length. (I guess it could be worse with a Malvin/JP (lack of a) crotch.

Can't view the videos yet so I can only comment based on the pics.

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I like her modern art-influenced POV. I'm just not sure about the neon color-blocking. It can trip over into bad 80's easily. I'll be interested in seeing what she does on the show, considering she sewed her audition garments the week prior to her audition!! That's impressive!

I definitely want to see what she can do!

I like her too!
And and admitting that I also base my early favorites on their personal style. What else is there at this stage?

Although I've liked all the work of the contestant so far, Mila's clothes are the ones that, not only would I wear, but also *could* wear.

Love the first sweater!

Am I too late to call dibs on the black & white dress?

I like her. I know we've only gotten a brief peek but she comes across as unaffected so far. With all the look-at-me!-personalities that we've seen already, the show needs someone to keep my brain from bleeding from all the arguing.


Oh no - another older contestant to worry about!

Was it you - MyFawny - who said on an earlier thread that you worry about the older contestants? Me too.

Well, she doesn't come across as brittle so she can probably handle PR. She wasn't even slightly discombobulated when Tim and Nick criticized (admittedly gently criticized) one of her dresses. That's a good sign.

I hate to like anyone too much at this point -

I really like her, and I really love the fourth piece - the brown/gray/dark blue sweater? Plus, I'll support any designer who says something universal like "well-fitted jeans" is a fashion must. Far too many want to force us all into super-skinny black pants or crocodile skin three-inch heels.

The black-and-white dress is tres Coureges; good homage to a great early-sixties look (as indeed is the orange dress, although that's almst YSL-ish) The sweaters are grand, too; on the other hand, hate the a-line coat.

She's got a good grasp of line and technique and is not crazy, which is sort of a first in these profiles.

I really really want that brown patchwork sweater. And Ralph Rucci is actually a very good designer - his Chado shows are impeccably detailed, tailored, and constructed. They're just very . . . quiet. Dark materials and people like Martha Stewart at his shows; as such, I'm interested to see him as a favorite. This one shows promise.

Not my cup of tea but I wish her well


I like these tailored looks and her influences.

And, after 11 years working in film & tv, Project Runway is gonna be a piece o' cake for this gal. Pressure-wise & production-wise, I mean. Whether the judges (Heidi) & producers take to her is another story.

I hope they give her a chance.

Caitlin - I thought the same thing! There is a definitely a Louise Black vibe to her (at least appearance-wise)

imdb page!

OMG, I had a jumpsuit just like that circa 1985. The pattern was a Brooke Shields for McCalls.

I really like her and what we've been shown. OK, honestly, maybe it's because we've both reached 40 and her clothes don't make me feel left out of all the fun. I could wear those pieces and not look pathetically desperate for my youth or matronly.

I like what I see here, but doesn't that black and white dress with the stripe down the middle look like Courreges (sp?) from the 60's?

I like Mila a lot. And I, too, thought of Louise Black! Love her personal style (I'd guess she designs for herself, but not in that bad way)and maturity. I find her designs chic, sophisticated, clean and elegant. I dig her early sixties, pop-art inspired aesthetic. I look forward to seeing her on the show.

It's nice to see someone with a more tailored sensibility. I was beginning to think we'd have an entire season of weird draping and pleats.
I agree that her clothes are very wearable; hopefully that's not a dirty word in the eyes of the judges. Love that patchwork-y dress (or is it a sweater?) I must have that!

Kudos to T & Lo, I'm already getting contestant fatigue & I'm just reading.

I like her clothes in a hopeful, if not yet excited, way. I am prejudiced in favor of calm contestants who demonstrate basic skills. And finally, a hair style to take away the bad taste of Althea's hair, and possibly one that is low-enough maintenance (if she doesn't have to straighten it) that it will look decent even on the sleep-deprived days of desperation.

She reminds me so much of Louise Black. Hopefully I won't confuse the two

Carol in Dallas

I LOVE her - she's my daughter! Sweet, talented and beautiful since the day she was born. She's MY greatest project and I can't wait to see her on the show. I'm hopeful this will be the big career break she so deserves! Thanks everyone for your positive comments.

Check out the imdb page that someone else posted ( It's very impressive! I hope that she'll really represent for the older people out there- she's giving me the "I'll Take None of Your Shit" vibe, so hopefully Heidi won't be able to walk all over her like she did with poor Gordana.

Inspired by Mondrian? God, this makes me feel really old, but Courrèges did that longer ago than I care to remember.

As for . . . the whole "my radical intellectual grandfather went to jail?" BEST AUDITION VIDEO STORY EVER.? So did mine. That doesn't mean I should be on Project Runway.

Totally like her-- as a person, and her designs as well.

I hope she does well so we can see more of what she creates. I feel like I could wear what she has made.

Very retro and I'm not sure how flattering, but pretty.

Wow, I really like her. Love her almost mod-inspired looks. I'm already super-pumped for this season, I pretty much love all of these people so far.

YAY! So sweet that Mom is on here cheering on her girl!

I think the jumpsuit is too trendy and the accessories make it look very euro-trashy. Her hair is too severe and makes her seem cold. Not much personality in her videos either.

Love love love love. Favorite so far. I agree with you about her personal style--some of the other designers look like they...I don't even know. There were some bad moments.. Her portfolio was just achingly chic. And her questionnaire answers seemed fairly original. Go Mila!

Unfortunately I can't see the videos, but she had me at "inspired by modern art" and "graphic patterns."

I'm not wowed by the mod clothes in the pics, but I get the feeling from her that she is NOT a one-trick pony. I bet she really shines in some of the crazier challenges.

Can I have that sweater please???

I agree that her personal style is very chic and sophisticated and that she looks great. But at the risk of sounding mean if she's 40 then I'm the Empress of the Universe. She looks at least 10 - 15 years older than 40 - not that there's anything wrong with that.

She portfolio is interesting. Nothing that knocks your socks off but I can see her producing a terrific collection. One to watch.

OMG, I must have that orange dress. Fabulous.

Tim Gunn on Regis and Kelly!

Discussing pocket squares.

Love her and her clothes. She reminds me a bit of my designer friend Rachel here in Atlanta.

She sure has the sweetest mom.
Like her, find her portfolio interesting, has a vision and taste, but imo needs to push the creativity button harder.
Not fond of the haircut as I find it too done. But I agree, it's good to see designers with a sense of personal style, whatever that may be. I just don't get a fashion designer which has no sense for what (s)he's wearing her/himself (hello Althea?)

She obviously can work quickly, a huge plus for PRW.

I haven't had a front-runner in my mind until now. I like this gal!

Put my $5 bet on this one.

What TLo said. But in that picture, doesn't she look like Christine Baranski?

She's fabulous. I like her.

I really don't get the orange dress. So basic, and kind of sloppily done (unless it's just a bad picture). Though I'm glad she isn't completely averse to color.

The rest is very nice, if monochromatic. She's one to watch.

Anonymous said...

I agree that her personal style is very chic and sophisticated and that she looks great. But at the risk of sounding mean if she's 40 then I'm the Empress of the Universe. She looks at least 10 - 15 years older than 40 - not that there's anything wrong with that.

You think she looks 55? Uh...okay, Empress.

Caitlin said:
Am I the only one who looked at the first picture of her and thought "Wait, that's Louise Black!" I mean, look: They're even posed the same way in the head shots!

I thought the same exact thing, even to the sideways pose!! I though you fellas had slipped us a trick!!

I am a different anon than the first poster, but I agree that mimi looks older than 40. Two reasons:
#1 - her skin around her jawline and neck. Usually this starts to appear at about 50. however, it all has to do with a reduction in hormones, and maybe she has issues there.

#2 - her hair is too dark contrasted against her skin.

and if all of this sounds unfair, it really is. It does not affect her as a designer at all. I really like her stuff and like her. But if you don't want physical critiques, don't go on TV. And that is why I am watching TV and not on it. I should be so lucky as to look like Mila. She is fit and trim and cute.


We're all for making fun of someone's clothing and style, but...hormone levels? Come ON. That's a bit much.

Another one I'll be watching. I've enjoyed the creative diversity this bunch seems to show. Should be a fun season.

I like her. Maybe it's the lipstick or because she's older, but for some reason I get a Laura Bennett vibe from her.

@ anonymous:
"#1 - her skin around her jawline and neck. Usually this starts to appear at about 50. however, it all has to do with a reduction in hormones, and maybe she has issues there."

Seriously? I guess that's why we have such a rampant problem with plastic surgery in this country. People are so judgemental.

Ya know, "she's closer to 50 than 40" went through my mind as soon as I saw her age listed as 40, but I didn't comment on it as I thought it was irrelevant (since, unlike a certain male contestant whose claimed age I doubted earlier, I don't think she is dressing waaay too young.)

It is tricky though, since we're all so used to seeing women (& men) photographed/filmed who've been having a "little work" since their 30's, which skews one's perceptions, and we don't all age equally well.

Since we're all living longer and most of us are going to *have* to work well into what used to be thought of as "old age," it's a shame that so many women and men feel the need to fudge their age.

And to be quite clear, I *do* think most folks who feel the need to fudge on their age are being realistic about how much ageism there is, though it varies by profession.

I really like her work. And judging not only by what she threw together in a week (!) but also by her IMDB page, she can definitely work fast -- she's been sewing for Dancing with the Stars, which has a really short turnaround in costuming. Which, as long as the judges like what she's producing, bodes well for her.

And yay for Mom being here to cheer her on! It seems like we've got some really cool moms this season; it would be fun to bring them back for a challenge again.

I like her.


I know Mila personally, and she's 40. And very beautiful. The camera lights can be harsh... any one of you would be horrified to see yourself under those lights.

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Carol in Dallas

50??!! PLEASE!! She's not lying about her age. Mila was born May 11, 1969. I know because I was there and I'm definitely not old enough to have a 50 year old daughter!

Carol, your daughter is beautiful and incredibly talented! I'm totally impressed with her, and she hasn't even been on the show yet. Can't wait to see her in action. You should be very proud, as I'm sure you are!!

I really like that sweater. I just wish she weren't wearing a jumpsuit.

Love her!

And her designs look very promising. I think we have a contender here.

They will sabotage her like they sabotaged Gordana.

Everybody says she looks like Louise, but really, darlings, she is actually the doppelganger of somebody else. She's just lost the round black glasses, or everybody would be calling her Edna Mode.

I love her designs and have tivo'ed the show to see more of Mila! The apple doesn't fall far from the family tree - her mother is a renowned interfior designer in Dallas! I just know she is going to win!! Go Mila!!

I love the risks she takes with her designs, and I would wear every one of them. She's my favorite this season and her clothes are an all time best for Project Runway, if you ask me. As for her personal appearance, I admire people who go for "striking" with their look, it takes creativity and balls. If the more commonplace among us think this is "aging" or "harsh", well that's just nonsense. The woman's got real personal style - and beauty.

I've been watching PR since Season 1 - Mila is the most exciting designer to date. Her designs are edgy, but approachable, artful, memorable, unique and classy. She pays homage to her inspiration and yet carves out a path of her own. And what a strikingly beautiful girl! ... lucky us to watch Mila truly come into fashion.

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