seth aaron henderson heidi klum project runway

Heidi Klum and Seth Aaron Henderson. Photo: Mylifetime.com

"Project Runway" viewers may have been a tad surprised when Seth Aaron Henderson knocked snarky Emilio Sosa and refined Mila Hermanovski off the catwalk to win the season 7 title.

Turns out Henderson, 38, was not.

The whimsical designer and stylist from Vancouver, WA, sewed up luxury and drama for the show's New York Fashion Week finale in February and won for his imaginative collection inspired by 1940s Russian and German military women.

StyeList caught up with Henderson for a private chat today during his post-victory media tour, and much like his clothes, he made a statement.

StyleList: Emilio looked shocked when you won. Were you as surprised as he was?
Seth Aaron Henderson: Not at all. Mila and Emilio showed clothing lines. I showed a runway collection. There's a big difference and I got that. That's why I won. My attitude was, it's New York Fashion Week -- bring it on or go home.

SL: You are a family guy with two teens. How will this win change your life?
SAH: I have a small label already, but now I am moving to go into full-scale production, and I am going to need to be in Los Angeles and New York more. That said, the kids are very settled in their lives, although my daughter [Megann] is all about heading for L.A. for the beach and sun. I think what we may do is rent a condo in L.A. and commute there when we have to be at the factory and check on production. They are really good kids, always on the honor roll. I don't want to mess with that.

SL: Your clothes are so edgy. I've always wondered who you imagine as the Seth Aaron woman?
SAH: She's like my clothes -- totally bad ass. She may be young, she may be in her forties. It totally doesn't matter. She is not afraid to be bold. That said, I can do clean. In my ready-to wear line, I have a clean aesthetic, not so many studs and things. But my couture costumer is looking for something that isn't out there. The average ready-to-wear line is some boxy bulls---. My customer cares about fit. She wants something innovative, and I am going to give her that.

Two of Henderson's designs on the runway. Photo: Mylifetime.com

SL: You sound very confident, but "Project Runway"'s track record of producing elite designers, such as Christian Siriano, has been spotty. How will you make this win work for you?
SAH: By doing what I did on the show and working my ass off. You can't sit back and wait for people to come knock on your door. You have to keep pounding on those doors and working just as hard as you did before. I'm already talking to investors and backers and doing everything I can to keep the momentum going. That's what Christian did. He went to events. He does media all the time. That's going to be my approach. He got it right.

SL:
If you had not won, which competitor would you have chosen to win?
SAH: Jay [Nicolas Sario]. He has become my best friend. I talk to him on the phone every day. But it's more than friendship that makes me say that. His clothes are amazing. The details are incredible. It was a mistake that the judges did not send him on to Fashion Week. He deserved it. He was consistent all season. The other finalists deserved it too, but they had more ups and downs.

SL: I'm surprised you didn't say Emilio, because you have plans to collaborate with him, don't you?
SAH: I was with him yesterday! We are already working on a show we want to do in New York. Not a Fashion Week-type show, but something very theatrical and cool. We are looking for supporters and investors and already talking about how we want it to go down. It will be very different from anything you've seen.

SL: The last time we talked was at the HP computer design brunch. You told me you were going to Tokyo because Michael Kors told you the Japanese were going to go nuts for your clothes.
SAH: Oh, no! I said that? Was that before or after the mimosas?

SL: Well, you did snatch my drink after I said I didn't want it!
SAH: At least I said something coherent. I do want to go to Tokyo. And I think it was Michael Kors who suggested it. I am going to make a major move into New York and Los Angeles and also see where I can go in Japan. I think they will get me.

SL: Which judge taught you the most?
SAH: Nina Garcia. She was always very accurate and thoughtful in her criticism. She didn't seem to have any agenda beyond giving her take on the clothes. And I always looked to Heidi [Klum] first when my clothes were coming down the runway. She's so Heidi adorable. If there was a gleam in her eye, you knew it was a good day.

SL: Your dad was a cartoonist -- did that creativity pave your path to "Project Runway"?
SAH: That and my mother. She loved to crochet and all that stuff. I was a real boy. I rolled around in the dirt and did all that stuff, but I was interested in clothes from an early age, like, two. I was very into my own clothes. They had to be clean and cool. I really never gave much thought to doing anything else, which is why this win was so exciting.

SL: My favorite moment of the season was Tim Gunn on the Henderson family trampoline. How did you get him to do it?
SAH: Papa Gunn on the tramp! Wasn't that the best? He told me he had never been on a trampoline or played Pictionary. So that's what we did. We took him out there, and he was pretty nervous. He kind of wobbled and fell over, but it was great. My kids loved it. And he said he had a really good time!

For more "Project Runway" scoop, read our recap of the season finale.