When the iconic Somalian beauty hit the runway on Bravo's revamped "The Fashion Show: Ultimate Collection," it was with a Marchesa-clad please-me-if-you-can dare.
"I've worked with the best, now you," she sniffed at the 12 designer wannabes competing for a $125,000 prize, warning, "I can be bubbly or prickly."
StyleList spoke with the cosmetics and accessories entrepreneur about her first season of reality television, in which she appears alongside designer Isaac Mizrahi.
StyleList: Which Iman will we see more of this season? Prickly or bubbly?
Iman: Well, it's all in the editing isn't it? I thought the editing of the first episode had me prickly. But I'm not always that way, I assure you. I hope some bubbly can show or I'm going to be pissed at Bravo.
StyleList: Your fashions in the episode were amazing. How did you cultivate your look?
Iman: Well, that's me. Nothing was really developed. I worked with the same hair and makeup people I always do. As for the clothes, there's Marchesa to Lanvin to YSL. There's some Prabal Gurung. The usual people I like and respect.
StyleList: The black dress you had on during judging was very dramatic.
Iman: That was Lanvin! The opening scene is Marchesa. I think it is important to wear something really high fashion so it's on point. If I wore something ordinary, well, it wouldn't work for this show. But I never wear anything outrageous. It's not, "Look at me!" It's not the "Iman" show. That wouldn't be right either.
StyleList: This show has changed quite a bit from season one. What was missing?
Iman: Isaac and I spent a lot of time working with [Bravo executive and "Watch What Happens Live!" host] Andy Cohen because what was important to us was that we bring to television this idea that has not been seen: Competing fashion shows by competing fashion houses. I love the idea that our designers have to understand the importance of working together and creating a collection. Those meandering challenges on some of those other shows don't make sense.
Iman: Designers don't do one dress. Learning to create collections means you have to be cohesive. This is true of established fashion designers. It's a story they are telling. How it's styled, how the hair and makeup look is all part of it. What happens when you compete this way is very real. We are not doing the one, kooky dress.
StyleList: What was Iman's ultimate collection?
Iman: My ultimate, ultimate fashion moment was when Yves Saint Laurent asked me to be his muse for a couture collection in the late 1970s. He called it African Queen, in my honor. I was summoned to Paris and I saw for the first and last time in my business how a master creates a couture collection. Things were cut on my body from fabric, everything was made for my body. You were on your feet all day being, pinned, pinned, pinned. So much work, but in the end it was beyond!
StyleList: Who do you love to wear now?
Iman: Tons of people, but some that come to mind are Alexander Wang, Marc Jacobs, Prabal. Donna Karan, in my opinion, couldn't get any better than she is right now.
StyleList: I heard you've become a fan of Victoria Beckham too?
Iman: Always a fan -- from when she started. People consider her an emerging designer, but she's very, very established. I find her clothes work well on all body types. She loves women's curves. You wouldn't think it, but she really flaunts curves. I also love the length of her dresses. Length is tricky, but she gets it right. The length is very modern.
StyleList: Was it hard for you to judge the contestants?
Iman: Not really. I'm not aware of what's happening backstage. I wasn't coming with any baggage. I didn't know if they were being @#&*# backstage, although some of them were @#$%! during judging. You can only judge what you see.
StyleList: You're pretty entertaining during judging. Did you come up with your lines, like the droll, "You can stay"?
Iman: Some lines are in the script, but when I announced it was a "fashion emergency, come and take them away," that was me. You cannot imagine what we had just witnessed.
StyleList: What's going on with some of your other fashion and beauty projects?
Iman: The cosmetics line just celebrated 14 years and Global Chic, my HSN brand, is the third or fourth top-selling line on the network. It's been incredibly successful. As for this, I've never worked so hard in my life, but we were being very ambitious. We wanted to do something that will blow you away, and I think in the end the contestants really do that.
"The Fashion Show: Ultimate Collection" airs Tuesdays on Bravo at 10/9 p.m. C.
In other Bravo reality news, read our chat with wig-loving "Real Housewives of Atlanta" star Kim Zolciak.
Meanwhile, check out Iman's tope 10 style moments.