In Fashion, It's '11 Minutes' of Fame

Designer Jay McCarroll poses as he arrives at the "Eleven Minutes" premiere party, Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009 in New York. He is the first winner of "project Runway"
Reality TV can sometimes extend a person's 15 minutes of fame. And that's just what happened to Jay McCarroll, the breakout fashion designer who won the first season of "Project Runway."

In fact, McCarroll will now receive another "Eleven Minutes" out of his success. That's the title of a recently released documentary that follows his chaotic assembling of more than 30 "looks" for his big debut fashion show in New York.

While "Project Runway" has become stalled in legal controversies, thus delaying the start of its latest season, McCarroll is charging ahead full-tilt with his design career.

In comments that are at times bold, but often appear purely shocking and offensive, the designer spoke with about his new turn on the silver screen.

"Well, I'm really self-obsessed, so I asked everybody I've ever met if they'd be interested in making a film about me," McCarroll revealed about this feature-length project. "I let them [co-directors Michael and Rob Tate] be filmmakers. I stepped back and prayed that they wouldn't show my naked body."

Selditch and Tate were responsible for "Project Jay," a TV special on McCarroll they created for Bravo.

An openly-gay native of a small town in Pennsylvania, McCarroll is strikingly critical of his field, particularly when he talks about gaunt models.

"You have girls who are bred in … Romania or wherever they're from…, " he raged. "They represent today's fashion and they are emaciated. They're 14 and they haven't even gone through puberty and their legs look like my arms. They're foul."

Asked about this trend, McCarroll looked back to previous decades. "Marilyn Monroe in the 1950s, or whenever the hell she was alive…she was a size 12 and the picture of beauty at that point," the designer said.

"And then Kate Moss comes around, and she looked like she came from Auschwitz…that's bad, I shouldn't say that. Rather, she looked like she was on a heroin binge," he said. "And now you have girls who are six feet tall and 100 pounds. At that point, the clothes don't even look good on them."

While quick to point out perceived faults of the apparel industry, McCarroll is steadfast in his love for design and presentation. "There are a lot of people who put a lot of work into these shows. It's not about making a lot of money or making people spend a lot of money," he said. "The film is not really about me…this is more about the collection."

Indeed, this documentary shows a world in which many work tirelessly and thanklessly to have their efforts displayed for fewer than 12 minutes on a runway. It joins other recent documentaries about Marc Jacobs and Valentino in introducing viewers to the constantly evolving world of fashion.

"Eleven Minutes" is now playing in limited release in select theaters and can also be seen on Here! Television. Find out more at

By Ken Lombardi

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    Ken Lombardi is an entertainment reporter for CBS News. He has interviewed over 300 celebrities, including Clint Eastwood, Oprah Winfrey and Tom Hanks.