Project Runway Season 6 Winner Irina’s Holiday Dress Walks the Macy’s Runway

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Pictured: Irina’s Holiday Dress Premieres at Macy’s

Are you as addicted to Project Runway as I am? Do you remember the episode where the designers had to spilt into teams and make pieces for Macy’s INC. (International Concepts) collection? In case you missed it, Irina and Jordana won the challenge with a blue and white stripped, flowing, bias cut dress plus a romantic-looking blue blouse. (Yes, this was the episode where Christopher was reduced to tears by Michael Kors stinging critique.) There was just so much dram-ha. As every Runway fan knows, some challenges will end in tears and this was one. As the team lead on that challenge, Irina won the chance to design a holiday dress for the Macy’s INC line. I had the opportunity to see both dresses tonight and meet Irina at Macy’s South Coast Plaza store. Seeing the dresses in person, gave me a new appreciation for Irina’s talents as a designer. Her model from the TV show, Katie Sticksel,was on hand to model both dresses. Let’s start with a few pictures of the one you remember from the TV show, the flowing, spaghetti strapped blue and white striped dress. The dress is much better looking in person than I remember it to the show. The loose style will flatter a variety of body types. The “bias-cut” of the dress allows for greater give and draping of the fabric, making for a figure flattering cut.

Pictured: The dress Irina won the Project Runway Macy’s challenge with, modeled by Katie
Pictured: The back of the winning dress moves beautifully as the model walks, because of its skillful cut.

Unfortunately for fashion lovers, this dress won’t be coming to Macy’s INC. right now, because its now out of season. Hopefully, we see it in the store in the Spring. But the holiday dress is here now in store and at You have to see the dress to really realize how well made it is for the price ($139.00.) The color is really more of a midnight blue, and the material is rayon jersey, which allows for lovely draping at an affordable price. The sparkling butterfly is placed strategically one one hip for accent. As the recent owner of a sequin dress by a very high-end designer that snagged on every piece of jewelry, handbag or passerby, I wanted to really inspect the dress to see if the sparkling butterfly would also have sequins that would become quickly embedded and caught in other objects. Good news, the butterfly is beautifully protected by invisible netting placed around it, just so the beads/sequins on it will not pull on other objects. Genius!

Pictured: Strategically placed netting encloses the beaded butterfly, stopping beads from flying away or getting caught on other objects. I was impressed by this detail and the thoughtfulness of it.

Features like the netting covering the beads make Irina’s INC holiday dress uniquely well made and durable. There are plenty of lower priced sequin dresses on the market, but they don’t have these little touches. The dress is also fully lined. My only critique of the dress is that I wish it was just a little bit longer. The dress hits well above the knee, at mid-thigh really, depending on the height of the wearer. Some fashionistas might even want to wear this as a tunic top over skinny black pants or with black tights and pumps because it is short.

Prior to the INC fashion show, I had the opportunity to chat with Irina and understand her work ethic and the story behind the dress. She is very attached to Butterflies because of the legend surrounding them. The native America Indians had a story that if you wanted a wish to come true, you must first whisper it to a Butterfly. The Butterfly, having no speech, could only “whisper” the wish to the Great Spirit for it to come true. The story is significant for the Project Runway winner who has worked very hard to make her own dreams come true.

Pictured: Irina’s Butterfly ring, designed by her, features a Citrine in the middle.

In talking to Irina I also learned that the whole Project Runway season is filmed in only 5 weeks! This means the contestants are working even longer hours than it appears on the show, as everything is condensed and all the challenges are filmed back to back. The short time schedule explains the intense environment, the tension and sometimes the downright rudeness. I asked Irina if she ever regretted any of her on air statements. She explains, “No, because I felt I was giving honest feedback. My intent was to be honest only, not hurtful.”

Pictured: My meeting with Irina. I found her accessible, friendly and very focused.

Of course, I had to ask about Tim Gunn. Is he really the caring, nurturer he appears to be? According to Irina, yes. She notes that Tim is wonderful to work with. Her advice to upcoming contestants, “Listen to Tim. He does not impose his opinions on you. He very subtly gives you honest feedback and tries to move you in a positive direction.” What’s next for Irina? She is going back to New York to focus on her 2010 collection. She’s come too far not to take her dreams all the way to Fashion Week next year.

Readers, what inspires you? For Irina its the butterfly, and the story of how if you whisper your dreams to a butterfly they will come true. Leave a comment here by Dec. 15th at midnight PST, or send me a Twitter at Recessionista to let me know and you can win this sketch of Irina’s Holiday INC dress autographed by her. The autograph on the picture? Its simple. “Follow your dreams, Irina Shabayeva.”

Pictured: Leave a comment here about what inspires you, or send me a Tweet to win this autographed copy of Irina’s INC. holiday dress sketch with photo.

The giveaway is now over and the winner has been notified. Thanks to all who left comments!


Since 2008, Mary Hall has been the author of The Recessionista Blog, which is read by thousands of regular readers in over 160 countries. An internationally recognized expert on the art of the living the good life for less, she has been a commentator on local, national, and international radio and TV shows. Her advice has been featured in over 2,000 media outlets, including The New York Times, Reuters, Life & Style magazine, ABC News, NBC News and now The Huffington Post, among many others.


  1. Target-Addict

    December 10, 2009 at 3:48 am

    Thank you for the rundown! I actually missed that drama-filled episode, so I'm thankful for the rundown.

    I'm inspired by honesty. I'm going thru so much crap at work right now…so much backstabbing, BS, and “politics” That it's really refreshing to find people that are honest and “tell it like it is”.

  2. Secondhand Shopaholic

    December 10, 2009 at 7:05 pm

    I'm inspired by reading successful blogs like this one. They all start somewhere, and the ones that are inspired by passion are the most authentic. I am starting my own blog, and daily reminders such as this one keep me inspired to follow my dream.

  3. Kathy

    December 11, 2009 at 10:57 pm

    I am Twitter challenged, so I will leave a comment here.

    I am inspired by people who do what is right regardless of the status quo. That is a hard to find in work and life, but when I do find such a person, it inspires me to keep working for better things, regardless if everyone else thinks it's too much work to change.

    kathycouchon at att dot net

  4. makeupbyjanine

    December 14, 2009 at 2:59 am

    I'm inspired by the clients I work with: real women and their questions about makeup. They inspire my blog topics, and help me stay in touch with readers. And on top of that, they are the most fabulous and beautiful women I know!

  5. debrarae

    December 15, 2009 at 5:11 am

    I have to admit that when I originally saw a photo of the dress, I hated it.

    However, a friend of mine bought the dress. She loves it, and it looks fantastic on her.

    Well done Irina.

  6. Kathy

    December 15, 2009 at 2:40 pm

    I am inspired by people who strive to what's right when it goes against the status quo. It reminds me that I should never settle for what's easy, but rather strive to better the situation, even if it goes against the grain.

    kathycouchon at att dot net

  7. baludec23

    December 23, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Wow! great share. Nice blog. Thanks for share useful information.

  8. Anonymous

    February 23, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    I'm inspired by people who live and work hard. Attitude never give up and never surrender. And no matter what they come out on top.