Thursday, December 17, 2009

Merlin Castell - a Cinderella story By Matt Kailey

The darling of Bravo's The Fashion Show earlier this year and in demand by some of the hottest trendsetters in Hollywood and beyond, Merlin Castell is truly a rags-to-riches phenomenon who just keeps getting richer.

Born in Honduras and raised by a single mother who struggled to keep eight children in clothing, Castell now dresses the best in the business - the film business, the television business and the music business - as well as the ladies who lunch on Rodeo Drive and stay at the Beverly Wilshire.

How did a boy who played soccer without shoes to avoid ruining his one good pair become a man with a style all his own and a following that includes the likes of Paris Hilton, Carlos Santana and even Marilyn Manson?

"I don't have limits in my life," says Castell. "Always, since I was a kid, I had high expectations. ... And little by little, I'm getting everything. And I'm doing it myself, alone. ... I couldn't even speak English when I came to this country. And I learned English, and I had to break a market that was particularly impenetrable. It was very difficult. And thank you, God, that I can get the attention of the people by doing my little dance."

His "little dance" is designing some of the most fashionable haute couture on the fashion scene. And, even while growing up in Honduras - without electricity - he knew that it would happen one day.

"When I was a kid, I used to dream with all this - what is happening in my life," he says. "I used to tell all the other kids, 'One day, I'm gonna be famous.' ... And I used to tell all the other kids, when we would talk about what you want to be when you grow up, I used to say, 'I'm gonna be famous. I'm gonna be a star.' I didn't say I was going to be a designer, because I didn't know what a designer means, but I said, 'Everybody will know my name.' And they used to say, 'I don't think so. Your family's very poor, and you have to be rich to get what you want.' And I said, 'I don't think so. I'm gonna get what I want. Watch.' And they watch now."

Like his dreams, Castell's talent for design emerged at an early age.

"I've been designing my whole life," he says. "Shorts. I designed my shorts. But designing designing I actually started here in Los Angeles - seven years ago, eight years ago. And my big break, I think it has been The Fashion Show. I didn't know I was famous until [shortly after the show]. I was in Costco buying groceries with my roommate, and I see everybody's watching me and watching me and watching me, and they must know! ... And my roommate said, 'They're looking at you.' And then this lady came and she hugged me and said, 'I love you.' And it feels so weird! And I said, 'Ohhh, well, I love you too!' I didn't know this show was so big - big, big, big!"

The show was big, and Castell was so popular with audiences that Bravo asked him to appear on the show's finale as a fashion expert. But Castell had a following before The Fashion Show, and his newfound fame and bigger name as a result of the show brought a little bad along with a lot of good.

My customers are ... more socialite ladies," he says. "They are Bel Air ladies, ladies from Beverly Hills. They want to have something unique. They know they can buy whatever in the store. ... They can have everything. But sometimes they want to have something that's not mass production - what is only for them. They want to feel special. And that's why they come to me. They want to have something original. ... Sometimes that's good and sometimes that's bad. It's good because they pay me really well for what they get. And the bad way is that they want to keep it a secret. They don't want people to know where they got what they got, because they are collectors. ... And that's the only bad thing about it. But now, with the show, my name is out. What can I do? ... I lost like 25 customers after that show. They wanted to keep it a secret."

But Castell is no secret anymore, and with his unique sense of style, both for himself and his clientele, he's definitely hard to miss.

"I like to create new things," he says. "I like to create something fresh. Something that's gonna blow your mind. ... That's my style. I like to shock people when I show something. I like to surprise them."

And, he says, no matter how shocking or surprising something might be, there is no such thing as a mistake.

"Whatever you can wear and you feel comfortable with, I'm thinking you have to wear it," he says. "It doesn't matter what. Because there's no mistake in fashion. It's a statement. ... I believe you only live once. One time you die, there's no return. ... That's why you have to live it loud, the most you can. Every second of your life, you have to live it the most, the best you can. If you're gonna cry, cry until you're dry. If you're gonna laugh, laugh until you feel pain in your stomach. I enjoy every second of my life to the limit, and it doesn't matter what."

Castell's enjoyment of life is part of his charm, and no doubt one of the many reasons that clients and television audiences alike gravitate to both the designer and the designs. But with all his famous and elegant patrons, there is still one person he wants to design for.

"It's Nicole Kidman," he says. "Oh, I dream to dress the bitch. I dream to dress her. She's so elegant. She's my muse. ... Nicole Kidman is my dream, dream, dream celebrity I would like to dress one day. I don't care - whatever she wants to wear. I would do whatever for her."

And with Castell's success, independent thinking and positive attitude, it just might happen.

"A lot of people, they waste their time trying to please the market," he says. "I have no reason to please the market. Always there is a market for somebody. Each one of us, we are so individual, so different and so original, there's a niche for every one of us in this life. So when you commit yourself to who you are and what you do and what you are the best at, that's the moment when you start getting success in your life."

And that success has brought Castell a long way from his roots in Honduras.

"I live in West Hollywood," he says. "You see everything there. ... After that, you are ready to die, because you have see everything. I love it. I love my community. I have nothing in this life to regret. Nothing. If I want to say something, I say it. If I don't like something, I say it. If I'm happy with something, I scream it loud."

Sunday, November 29, 2009

6th Annual BIENESTAR Fashion Show benefits Latinos living with HIV/AIDS

Merlin Castell—A fashion icon best known for his haute couture tailored clothing, Castells fascinating rags to riches story has made him one of the industry’s most sought-after designers who has dressed the likes of Paris Hilton, Priscilla Presley and Paula Abdul.

A gathering of fashion stars

The Sacramento fashion scene continues to evolve, with more shows and more local designers, models and stylists gaining momentum and attracting national attention.

However, recognizing their efforts - in the capital - has not happened on a big scale.

That's about to change.
[ Merlin Castell, 37, grew up in Honduras and was a contestant this summer on Season 1 of Bravo's "The Fashion Show." He lives in L.A. and is working on three fashion collections.

"My dream is to see 'Merlin' clothing in Nordstrom and on every woman who wants to look pretty," he says.

Castell has never been to Sacramento. He also is eager to talk to the upand- coming designers in the show.

"My advice to them will be to have your own style," he says. "Whatever that is. I'm a little eccentric! Celebrities sell products because they're celebrities. Designers sell because they have character."

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Runway Exclusive Interview with

A Runway Exclusive Interview with
RM: M:
What do you like best about your designs? RM: What do you do for fun? I get to express my individual visions. M: I like to take my daily swim at the local 24
What is your most memorable experience
Hour Fitness, and I love to dance! while appearing on “The Fashion Show”? RM: What can you tell Runway that the rest of the
M: I would say my most memorable experience on “The Fashion Show” was the Homage to the Designer challenge, where I was able to design a dress inspired by Madame Gres.
RM: What is your favorite item of clothing in your closet? M: I would have to say that my favorite items in my closet are my hand-crafted jumpsuits and hats.
RM: Who is your favorite couture designer? M: My favorite couture designer, I would have to say, is the incompatible Valentino.
RM: Who is your favorite ready-to-wear designer? M: My favorite ready-to-wear designer is Diane von Furstenberg.
RM; Who are your influences? M: My influences are my Grandmother, who made most of my clothes growing up, and Hollywood.
RM: Where did you learn to design clothing? M: I learned design in Mexico City and Milan, Italy.
world doesn’t know? M: That fashion is a land of fantasy, but in the end, it’s the biggest reality.
RM: Who is the first famous person you remember dying in your lifetime? M: The first celebrity I remember dying is Eartha Kitt.
RM: What kind of music do you like to play during your Runway shows? M: I like to play Contemporary Opera.
RM: What famous person do other people tell you that you most resemble?
John Leguizamo
What is your favorite movie? My favorite movie would have to be “Funny
RM: M: Face”, with Audrey Hepburn.
RM: In your opinion, which designer has had the biggest impact on today’s retail world? M: Christian Audigier with Ed Hardy Designs.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A gathering of fashion stars

The Sacramento fashion scene continues to evolve, with more shows and more local designers, models and stylists gaining momentum and attracting national attention.

However, recognizing their efforts - in the capital - has not happened on a big scale.

That's about to change.

On Oct. 2, the inaugural Capital Fashion Awards will be held at the Park Ultra Lounge, 15th and L streets. The event will pay tribute to the area's top designers, models, hairstylists and salons. There also is a category for fashion photography.

This won't be just any awards show. The design nominees, including Dee Aguilar, Mercedes Ben, Richard Hallmarq and Lauren Oto, will present new collections.

Models for the show are from Cast Images. M.A.C cosmetics will do the makeup; Strands Salon & Spa will do the hair.

Besides the local talent and presenters, the show will feature big names in the fashion and modeling business. For example:

[ Jonathan Waud, 27, was a topthree finalist on Season 2 of "Make Me a Supermodel." He grew up in Southampton, England, and lives in Los Angeles with his wife and son.

He's looking forward to coming to Sacramento because it's the capital and, for a change, he's not the focus of the runway. Waud has done shows for Nordstrom, the most recent this summer in San Francisco. And plenty of print work.

"I get to wear all these great clothes (even underwear!), but my favorite thing is jeans, boots and a cotton T-shirt," Waud says.

[ CariDee English, 23, was the winner of Cycle 7 of "America's Next Top Model." She grew up in Fargo, N.D., and lives in Santa Monica. She hosts "Pretty Wicked" on the Oxygen network and also is pursuing a singing career.

She says her manager raved about the show here, so it was a quick booking for her.

"I'm looking forward to meeting the models in Sacramento to encourage them," she says. "Winning 'Next Top Model' changed everything for me. But these days, the (magazine) covers don't go to models, they go to celebrities.

"I was on the cover of Runway, and it was like winning a Grammy or an Oscar."

[ Naima Mora, 25, was the winner of Cycle 4 of "ANTM." She grew up in Detroit and now lives in New York. Mora will host the Capital Fashion Awards. (She hosted the local International Academy of Design & Technology's "Imagine" show in 2008.)

"For me, this will be a personal experience with the designers because there's a human being behind those collections," Mora says. "I have a great relationship with Richard (Hallmarq) and will be wearing some of his pieces at the show."

[ Merlin Castell, 37, grew up in Honduras and was a contestant this summer on Season 1 of Bravo's "The Fashion Show." He lives in L.A. and is working on three fashion collections.

"My dream is to see 'Merlin' clothing in Nordstrom and on every woman who wants to look pretty," he says.

Castell has never been to Sacramento. He also is eager to talk to the upand- coming designers in the show.

"My advice to them will be to have your own style," he says. "Whatever that is. I'm a little eccentric! Celebrities sell products because they're celebrities. Designers sell because they have character."

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


The Viceroy Hotel in Santa Monica, CA provided the perfect backdrop for
the hottest swim and resort runway show of the summer as TMG International
hosted its Annual Style LA Fashion event Monday, July 27th. Glam Palm,
Secret and Romancing Diamonds sponsored the event while The Doves Studio
crafted signature hair and makeup in an effort to raise funds for Operation
of Hope.

Celebs and Fashion industry elite sipped cocktails and gawked at hot models
as they graced the over-the-pool catwalk in 100 must-have looks for the

Merlin Castellon, alumnus of Bravo TV’s “The Fashion Show” was daring in a
purple jumpsuit and scarf. “I’m living a dream and I am so happy when
people recognize me,” offered the emerging designer, admitting that he
feels his success came overnight. But with a style all his own, we can’t
wait to see how he wows us with his forward-thinking collections.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The Fashion Show’s Merlin Castell talks about his style

By Susan Jordan
Celebrity fashion designer and star of Bravo’s hit “The Fashion Show,” Merlin Castell is no newcomer to mesmerizing viewers with his glamorous designs and eccentric personality.

Known for his haute couture tailored clothing crafted from highly luxurious fabrics, Merlin has attached his name to some of Hollywood’s most recognizable entertainers, such as Paris Hilton, Carlos Santana and even Marilyn Manson.

Merlin and his designs have been featured in both national and regional television shows, including “The Janice Dickenson Modeling Agency, ” “LATV,” “The Insider,” “Al Rojo Vivo,” “American Latino Television” and Bravo’s “The Fashion Show.” Merlin has also been featured in print publications such as “Women’s Wear Daily,” “Las Vegas Magazine” and “Las Vegas Weekly.”

Named one of the top designers to watch out for, this chameleon of fashion is constantly venturing into realms other designers dare not step into. On “The Fashion Show” Merlin made such an impression with the viewers and judges that Bravo asked him to appear back on the show’s finale as a fashion expert.

Merlin Castell answered some questions about his work for The Empty Closet.

What is your fashion or style philosophy?
Well, to tell you the truth I really don’t have one. As a designer I’m always changing with the seasons. But if I were to have one, I would have to say, epic, timeless, sensational.

Which great designers have inspired and influenced you?
Valentino would be my number one choice. A close second would be (a tie between) Yves St Laurent and Balenciaga.

Do you feel your work resembles haute couture in that you design for individuals, not the mass market?
I would have to say yes. However, I would license my name so that the masses would be able to wear my product. With the same high standards, with more affordable prices.

Who have you never designed for but would really like to?
I would have to say most definitely my princess/goddess Nicole Kidman.

What do you most enjoy about the show?
The show afforded me the chance to go to New York City, where I’ve always wanted to visit but never had the chance. And of course I can’t forget the massive amount of exposure.

Anything you’d like to add?
What I would like to add is that I really got the chance to show the world that I’m a unique and talented designer, not just a character/TV personality.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Merlin Castell: Llegó desnudo y ahora se viste de éxito

Merlin Castell: Llegó desnudo y ahora se viste de éxito

Por Hirania Luzardo

Merlin Castell, quien estuvo en 'The Fashion Show' de Bravo Network, tiene una historia digna de guión de Hollywood. Vivió literalmente en la calle y había días en que no tenía dónde comer. Ocho hermanos criados por una madre soltera. Llegó ilegal a Estados Unidos procedente de Honduras en 1999, y hoy, está convencido, que va a ser el diseñador de Nicole Kidman. Es excéntrico, irreverente, no le teme a nada, y su meta es "armar un imperio latino de la moda en Los Angeles".

-¿Es cierto que has sido víctima de discriminación?
He sufrido discriminación por hablar inglés con acento, por ser latino, por no tener papeles, por no contar un permiso de trabajo para poder ir a un banco a cambiar un cheque de trabajo. Cuando llegué me usaron y no me pagaban. Me amenazaban con inmigración. Me decían que yo no iba a poder cumplir mis sueños, mis metas.

-¿Cómo y por qué viniste a Estados Unidos?
Llegué como todos los ilegales. Llegué literalmente con una mano delante y otra detrás. Vine porque quería hacer mi carrera, quería hacer todo lo relacionado con moda. Empecé muy abajo, hasta que a punto de perseverancia, he logrado poner mi propio taller. Tocaba en las boutiques y todos me cerraban las puertas. Pero soy como los caballos cuando tengo una idea fija no miro para los lados. Creo en lo que soy. No me pongo obstáculos, ni tengo complejos.

-¿Cómo logras ser parte de 'The Fashion Show' ?
Los productores ya me conocían y sabían que yo les iba a dar rating, lo que nunca imaginaron que yo tenía talento también. Soy extrovertido, excéntrico, sé qué vende en televisión, cómo atraer la atención del público y aunque me eliminaron en el episodio 9, me trajeron en el 10 porque yo funcionaba. No sólo se trata de ponerme una pluma. Es también llamar la atención.

-¿Es verdad que uno de los jueces se burlaba de ti?
Se burlaba de mi acento, me decía las cosas en forma de burla. Pero yo sé para lo que soy bueno. Yo se transformarme totalmente en cámara.

-¿Por qué vistes tan excéntrico?
Me visto así para la TV, pero soy bien normal. Ando en mi casa con un short y una camiseta. El otro día fui al mercado y la gente me empezó a decir que me veía bien normal. Ese día me di cuenta la fama que había ganado con el show.

Haz click sobre la imagen para ver fotos de Merlin Castell.

-¿Es cierto que has sido víctima de discriminación?
He sufrido discriminación por hablar inglés con acento, por ser latino, por no tener papeles, por no contar un permiso de trabajo para poder ir a un banco a cambiar un cheque de trabajo. Cuando llegué me usaron y no me pagaban. Me amenazaban con inmigración. Me decían que yo no iba a poder cumplir mis sueños, mis metas.

-¿Cómo y por qué viniste a Estados Unidos?
Llegué como todos los ilegales. Llegué literalmente con una mano delante y otra detrás. Vine porque quería hacer mi carrera, quería hacer todo lo relacionado con moda. Empecé muy abajo, hasta que a punto de perseverancia, he logrado poner mi propio taller. Tocaba en las boutiques y todos me cerraban las puertas. Pero soy como los caballos cuando tengo una idea fija no miro para los lados. Creo en lo que soy. No me pongo obstáculos, ni tengo complejos.

-¿Cómo logras ser parte de 'The Fashion Show' ?
Los productores ya me conocían y sabían que yo les iba a dar rating, lo que nunca imaginaron que yo tenía talento también. Soy extrovertido, excéntrico, sé qué vende en televisión, cómo atraer la atención del público y aunque me eliminaron en el episodio 9, me trajeron en el 10 porque yo funcionaba. No sólo se trata de ponerme una pluma. Es también llamar la atención.

-¿Es verdad que uno de los jueces se burlaba de ti?
Se burlaba de mi acento, me decía las cosas en forma de burla. Pero yo sé para lo que soy bueno. Yo se transformarme totalmente en cámara.

-¿Por qué vistes tan excéntrico?
Me visto así para la TV, pero soy bien normal. Ando en mi casa con un short y una camiseta. El otro día fui al mercado y la gente me empezó a decir que me veía bien normal. Ese día me di cuenta la fama que había ganado con el show.

Haz click sobre la imagen para ver fotos de Merlin Castell.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Doing It With Style

DOING IT WITH STYLE: Merlin Castell has become a breakout star on Bravo's hit "The Fashion Show," thanks to his luxurious designs and eccentric personality, and now he's looking to take his pieces to the next level.

"I haven't had the opportunity to dress the real, real celebrities that I want to dress, but I will. I am on my way there," says the Latin designer. "I get thousands of calls from people who say, 'Oh, my name is on this show. Can you dress me for this event?' I'm sorry, but I don't do that. My pieces are one of a kind. If I'm going to be dressing somebody, it has to be an A-lister.

"My dream is to dress somebody like Nicole Kidman. I would love to dress her! It might not happen for 10 years, but I don't care. I'm patient," he adds with a laugh.

When asked if he was surprised about not winning the show, Merlin responds no. "I wasn't expecting it because I know my market is not the market they are targeting. I was trying to stay in there as long as I could," says Merlin, who was asked back to the finale as a fashion expert. "It's been a really great experience. It's totally changed my life, so I'm glad I did it.

"Plus, it showcased who I really am. With the way I dress and the way I look, people think I just want to be a character for TV. No, no, no! That's Merlin! That's me," he claims. "With me, people either loved me or hated me -- there was no in-between. If they get to know me, though, they get to love me!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Merlin Busting Dangerous Moves He likes to let loose to music.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

TFS: TLo Interviews Merlin (plus decoy collection)

Tell us a little about your background and family in Honduras.
I was born at…how do you call it? A banana field where the Chiquita banana started, that’s where I was born. My family was a very typical one, they were farmers. I have six siblings. I was the only “coo-coo” one. I’m the black sheep in the family.

You once made a dress for your mother out of a tablecloth.
Yes, I did. It was for my graduation. She didn’t have anything to wear and she wanted to buy something and I said that I would buy the material. It was a material full of flowers, beautiful, and I had no idea it was a tablecloth.

You went to school to be an architect.
Yes, I’m an architect. That’s what I studied, then, I moved to Mexico to study fashion. I got a scholarship and I went to Milan where I studied for two years. Well, actually it was eight months studying and the rest of time I was having fun [laughs]. Then I moved to the United States. That was my goal, to come here.

Did you think that you could fulfill your dreams here? Is that why you came here?
I knew I could never be a fashion designer in Honduras. In Mexico, they pretty much copy fashion from outside, and this is not my style. I also thought that Europe was very conservative. It’s more about legacy, you have to have a big name, you maybe have to come from a very rich, respectable family and even when I was there people kept telling me that I should be in America. America is a young country of young people, and the fashion is fresh. America is a rebel, baby.

Speaking of America, you’re so funny on the show. Are you always over the top like that?
[Laughs] Always, darling, always, and there’s a lot more.

We noticed that everything you made for the show was very well constructed. Take the yellow jacket, for example, amazing work in such a short period of time. When did you learn to sew so well?
I was eleven years old when I learned how to sew. My family couldn’t afford to buy me clothes, so what I used to do was to buy vintage clothes. Something that I don’t like too much, so, I used to destroy the vintage clothes and copy the pattern and make something else for me in the materials and the color I wanted. I used to destroy all the garments and see how they were made and I learned how to do it myself. I’m not patient to wait for somebody to do something that I want.

Now, you said you didn’t know anything about Madame Grès and yet you made this great gown that was very much her style and aesthetic. Did anyone help you?
Nobody. I didn’t even know who she was and I was just trying to concentrate. I kept thinking, "Who is she?" It’s true. She came to me in the night and told me.

Most of our readers cannot believe the judges sent you home with that last outfit.
You know, everybody in this life has a destiny and it was my time to go. I could’ve done the best outfit, an outrageous dress, it doesn’t matter. I knew I was out. It was part of the plan [laughs]. You just have to accept it. I take everything that comes to my life, I take it and I transform it into something positive for me.

Did you think there were worse outfits?
Oh, yes, honey and I said so.

Were you and James-Paul close? It seemed that way, especially towards the end.
I like James-Paul because we’re both different. We try to experiment with fashion and that’s the way you grow, that’s how science and everything…that’s why we got aspirin, they experimented with everything. That’s how you grow as a designer, if you’re stuck in the same position you never grow and I see James-Paul trying to find his identity and I like that about him. The same with Reco, and the other contestants, they play safe. They just want to please the market, I don’t have any reason to be pleasing the market. People that can afford my clothes will buy them.

You have dressed many celebrities, such as Paula Abdul, Paris Hilton, and Marilyn Manson.
Yes, they like my clothes and that’s my niche. I have my niche, and I dress a lot of women from high society in my area here in Beverly Hills and Bel-Air. They are all very happy with my work because it’s unique, it’s different and they are collectors. Some say “I don’t even fit in that dress, but I’m buying it because I love it.”

One of the things that impressed us about you on the show it’s that you like to be challenged, play with fabrics you never used before, for example. To us, that’s the sign of a true creative designer.
Yes, the material itself doesn’t make you a good designer; it’s what you can do with it. I'm intrigued by new things, new materials I've never used before. I like to see what I can create with them. I was trying to expose a concept on the show. I’m not trying to be a cookie cutter. Honey, I have gotten so many offers to work for companies here in LA. Hell no, that’s not what I want to do in my life. You know, I have suffered so much in my life. I’ve slept in the street in Europe and here in America too just to survive and stay true to myself and do what I like.

You’ve been called the Latino John Galliano.
[Laughs] Yes, in the Latin market. They are very proud of me because they know my career, where I came from and I’m not ashamed at all. Everything I got it’s because of myself, just me, me, me, me.

How would you describe your style and aesthetic, Merlin?
I’m more experimental. I like to keep together the colors. It’s more theatrical, it’s very theatrical actually. I like to play with different patterns. I’m the shape shifter. I want to try to find a new shape that can accommodate a woman, to establish the new shape of the century, like Dior did in the 50s. He changed thoroughly the shape of the woman. I want to experiment with the new materials. I want to find out about new technologies.

Your decoy collection was an explosion of shapes and vibrant colors. What was your inspiration?
My inspiration was this painter, Max Ernst. He’s got this painting from the 40s called “The Robing of the Bride.” He’s amazing; he’s the master of the masters. I took all the colors from that painting and that was my inspiration.

Were you pleased with the way it turned out?
Yes, I was very happy and I named it “The Phoenix” because I’m like a Phoenix, I emerge from the ashes.

We’re glad you got to show your collection. We knew it would be quite a show. So, did you enjoy being on The Fashion Show?
That was an amazing experience. Now people aren’t going to be in shock when they see me, when they see the Phoenix walking. They’ll say “Oh, that’s Merlin.” You know, when you see me for the first time you are shocked. I don’t know why, I’m just a little mouse. My business partner says that I got presence wherever I go. I love it, I like to be like that.

Well, you’re very good at it. Never change, darling. What's next on your agenda?
I have a lot of plans for this year. I’m presenting a new collection in Miami for spring. I’m going to my country for a dinner with the president and everybody over there and present a collection there too. I’m also launching a new line.

You’re going to be busy. Thank you so much, Merlin.
Thank you, guys.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Congrats and Bye-bye

And our Chicken Diva goes home. We are both sad and at the same time very, very confused. To our eyes, there is way more good going on with this outfit than there is bad. And there were FAR worse outfits on that runway.Let's start with that coat, which we think is amazing, but the judges nit-picked to death.Beautiful color, amazingly well-executed with lots of detailing. The judges acted as if there was way too much, but have they seen some of the coats out there lately? There's a pocket and a compartment for every possible item one could conceivably leave the house with.And we thought he did a great take on the unfortunate American habit of traveling in sweat suits.It was chic and looked great on her and also had some great detailing. On top of everything else, it was practical.As a traveling outfit, it afforded her some comfort while still looking chic and she had compartments all over her clothing for everything from tickets to breath mints. What else do you need? Maybe he should have added some compartments for holding her shoes. The judges love that sort of shit.The ONLY part of the outfit that undeniably sucked were those ridiculous pants with their ballooning knees. We understand that they were SO awful that they may have overrided most of the outfit's good points, but the judges completely overreacted to them.And why did the judges completely overreact to this outfit? Because the crowd of "fashion insiders" did. That's probably our biggest complaint about the show, the judges are forced to restrict their decisions to whichever garments got the lowest and highest scores, which means by definition, the judges are forced to judge their way around other people's decisions and criteria. It's a murky process made doubly so because we have no idea who the vast majority of these people are (except for a shot of maybe 6 or so every episode) and we have no idea what information they've been given about the challenge and what the designers were required to do. "90% of the audience said they wouldn't buy your outfit." Well, okay. Who the fuck are they, then?

Exclusive Interview: Merlin from Bravo’s The Fashion Show

We just wrapped up our interview with designer Merlin from The Fashion Show and, boy, did he have a lot to say! During last night’s elimination, the judges criticized Merlin for being too ambitious in his “busy” design and, ultimately, they just weren’t buying his traveling sweat suit. The judges said bon voyage to Merlin, but he refuses to let the sun set on his dreams. Read on to hear Merlin’s point of view.SO!: Do you think your fate in the competition would have changed had you drawn a different tarot card?
M: No. When I pulled that card, I knew I was out. I didn’t want to waste my energy trying to fight it. I accepted my fate. I believe in destiny - it is why I am here, in this country.
SO!: You scolded some of the other designers for playing it too safe in their designs. What type of risks would you like to have seen the other designers take in their creations?
M: The only person that was playing with his designs and trying to experiment was James Paul. He was trying to find himself. The other designers don’t have an identity - they’re trying to be too commercial. They are so proud of the schools that they went to and brag about their experiences, but they don’t even know how to sew.
SO!: The judges seemed to like the color scheme and concept of your garment, but were overwhelmed with the functionality and “busy-ness.” If you could go back and rework your design, what would you do differently?
M: If you play it safe, you are not going to be memorable or make a point. I have to be happy with who I am. I can’t spend my life trying to please other people. You only live once and have to do what you feel and say what you feel.
SO!: What did being on The Fashion Show mean to you as a designer and did you get everything out of it that you had set out to?
M: It was like rehab for me.
SO!: What’s next for you as a designer?
M: I am working on a spring/summer collection right now. I am going back to my country this summer to put on a fashion show there. I am booked for the next two years, and I am so happy.

Merlin Finale Collection Sizzled..

Merlin's collection shown at Bravo's The Fashion Show Finale last Friday was definitely an unforgettable one. He opened the show in Elvis-like white bodysuit, providing much entertainment, but unfortunately not from the kind the fashion world is craving for.

The collection, which could be described as a result of a space ship landing at the carnival in Brazil, many times crossed the lines of a good taste. It opened with a green and bronze dress with orange ruffled sleeves and pink belt - a color combination rare to find in woman's closet (no matter how fashion forward she is). It continued with more metallics, feathers, beads and sequins... Yes, it was a great show, completely unrealistic and... unwearable...


Merlin Castell being ushered into a white van after the show. No, it's not a van to the crazy house. At least I don't think it is...Johnny R was in there, too.

Friday, July 3, 2009

The Fashion Show, week 6 winner, Merlin: High School Chaos!

The winner this week Merlin was given Mean Girls, which some might think suits his personality but this week Merlin showed a softer side. Maybe it was the stress of not gaining the judges approval but he crumpled a little admitting he didn't know if what he was doing was right. Luckily for him he gained his control and designed a gorgeous little jacket with the cutest knitted panel and sleeve detail. Though for some reason BravoShop have decided not to sell that part of the design! It makes no sense to me as the jacket made the outfit and 83% of the audience said they would buy his design.
Merlin found his creative side in fashion whilst attending architecture school in his home town of Honduras. Though he traces his earliest memory back to when he made a dress out of a family tablecloth! Taking his raw talent to Mexico he studied pattern making and today applies all his education to a theatrical style. Now head designer for his own label, Merlin Castell, he has designed for several celebrity clients. The list includes N*Sync, Paris Hilton, and Marilyn Manson. Wonder if Manson watches Merlin on The Fashion Show!


Merlin, 38 — Los Angeles
Always drawn to details and measurements, Merlin went to school for architecture in his home country of Honduras. It was through the guidance of a college professor that he discovered an aptitude for fashion. Merlin traces his earliest design memory back to when he made a dress for his mother out of the family's tablecloth. Merlin took his raw talent to Mexico, where he studied pattern making. Today, Merlin applies his conceptual and theatrical style to his role as head designer of his own label, Merlin Castell. He has worked with a number of celebrity clients, including Paula Abdul, 'N Sync, Paris Hilton, Marilyn Manson, and many others.

Behind The Scenes of Bravo's The Fashion Show!

Merlin's Collection can be described as Lots and lots of sequins, puffy sleeves, and fiery tones! Our fave look: an orange beaded and sequined gown paired with a burnt-orange coat.


The taping of the season one finale of The Fashion Show took place at the palatial Cipriani Wall Street on June 26th. On the good side, although I don’t think he will win, Merlin Castell utterly dazzled.I was not expecting this since I have not liked his work in the past, but his show was wonderfully vibrant, lively and full of unexpected details, shapes and accidents.The hair looks, created by Tresemme, were also flawless. However, few of the hairstyles were actually wearable, and they seemed more apt for the theater than what someone shopping would wear (the winning collection will be sold on the site).

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Merlin the Wizard/Merlin interprets the cards another way.

In the Cards .../Merlin knew he was going home when he pulled the Six of Swords.

It all started with Reco waking me up in the morning with sleeping robes that were left for us outside the door. Later in the Mini Challenge, we had to make a complementary piece for the robe. I did mine and thought it was one of the better ones made but of course Anna won.
The Elimination Challenge involved visiting a psychic and Tarot card reader that read us our futures. I do not remember what she said to me but I saw that I was leaving or moving on to something else.

The theme was to create something inspired by the Tarot card that we picked from the table. I took the Six of Swords. And since there are six of us competitors, it's fitting although the others have been like sword that have been nailed in my back.

Of one way or another, it doesn't matter what you create, you cannot always fight against nature and sooner or later you'll have to leave with what you carry. That fact is I lost and I went home. Happy? Yes. Satisfied? Yes. Pleased? No. What I showed was a beautiful piece compared to what the others made. I cannot believe I lost. The show might have ended, but for me, I'm just getting started.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bye-bye, Barbie!/Merlin doesn't shed any tears on Haven's departure.

My new mantra is that I can, I am, and I will do everything I can to achieve my goal. The competition is becoming harder and there is nothing but tension and fear between us.
Isaac still does not understand my accent but whether they believe it or not, I'm still here in the competition.

The Mini Challenge was a trivia about fashion history. I'm screwed because the little I do know about fashion history is what I've read in magazines. I answered the first few questions correct but in the end I lost. Because Anna won, she had the power to assign a designer to us for the elimination challenge. The challenge was to recreate an outfit inspired by the designer Anna gave us. Anna surprised me by giving me Madame Grès who I had not heard of before and I was worried.

In the end I made a marvelous dress that was very pretty and I was satisfied with. My outfit was safe and it was Haven that went home, it was just her time. Bye-bye, Barbie. Hasta la vista!

Merlin's Mantra/Merlin just wants to be relaxed.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Work of Art/Merlin describes working with Johnny, who he describes as "insecure."

I call this week the sacrifice of fashion. The week before, they told us that only the uncultured and uneducated people represent 10% of the population and will be the ones that buy the trash of dreams. This week's Mini Challenge started by putting us into pairs to work together. I was paired with Johnny. The theme was to better or transform the "walk of shame" outfit into an outfit suitable for work. Johnny and I won!

For the final challenge we stayed in our same pairs and had to design an outfit for Isaac's line. Johnny is a good guy and very insecure of his talent; he limited his creativity because he didn't have the capacity to pick his vision like a designer would. He has an obsession for varied materials especially Lycra and Spandex and picked out felt for one of our pieces. Once we got to the fabric store, I didn't have a chance to discuss the theme of the project with him and before I knew it he came back with all sorts of fabric in his hands. I decided to let him pick the fabric and I would just make sure that the construction of the outfit would be good. I hoped this would show him it didn't matter what rank or economic status people were, what's important is the quality of the garment and how it's made.

I thought we would have won because of the quality and design. It was one of the most liked outfits, but in the end Anna and Haven won. Johnny said this was his concept and wish but if the reader looks at my site, they'll see that I have an entire collection called "Tita" of this wish that I made three years ago that is a better constructed. With respect to the jackets, it wouldn't have been half of the jacket Johnny had in mind if I hadn't transformed it into a work of art. Amen

Friday, June 12, 2009

Learning To Listen

Mean Girl/Merlin explains what made him unhappy that he won.

We started with a Mini Challenge of making a campaign shirt for a girl running for class president at her school. My shirt was themed "Mean Girls" but I did not understand exactly what a "mean girl" was. Danielle explained to me that a mean girl was similar to a drama queen. I hated it.

For the elimination challenge we had to include our shirt theme somehow into a new garment. Horrible. I had to transform an ugly duck into a swan. I was a little disappointed and frustrated because I wasn't 100% sure what a mean girl was and didn't know how they dressed. So I made my own version of a "mean girl." I think each one of us has some sort of mean girl quality inside us and we use it when it's convenient to disguise ourselves and stay in the social world we'd like to stay in. I ended up winning the challenge, but I think Lidia should have won because she was the wisest in this challenge.

I have realized that Havan, Danielle, and Anna think that they can go through life pushing and trampling everything that is in their way. The cameras do not show who they really are.
Barbie is not more than the competition but in all the ways that follow I'm thinking that Haven does not have anything in her head and it is contaminated by the aerosol that she uses for her hair but it's good because it acts like an exterminator and kills off all the flies. Kisses, Barbie.

I'm a professional designer with years of experience over and beyond some of my competitors. Although this challenge was outside of what I do in my normal day-to-day business, I'm a professional and can pull a little magic out of my hands to pull off any challenge. My outfit was totally wearable and my idea of a "Mean Girl" is a snooty uptight woman, the kind you might find in Bel-Air.I was a little disappointed because I ended up in the top two in this challenge alongside BARBIE. It's like comparing me with a bicycle without wheels, Lidia i feel would have been a much better match.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Having Faith/Merlin accepts his faults and recognizes what he has to do to rectify them.

I wasn't happy with my outfit this time. The challenge left me unsure because this time we had to dress real women but in this business we dress the models with the concept of photo studios or video rooms.

To have Danielle win the Mini Challenge and get to pick someone to be put in the elimination round was one of the most difficult things for me without a doubt.

The lady that I had for this challenge, Amber, is beautiful and adorable like the heavens.

It pained me that I didn't achieve my goal with this dress and that I was in the elimination group. I am the type of person that when I commit an error I accept the situation and learn from the consequences of my problem. I have a lot of faith in me and I'm going to continue going to the beat of my heart. I thank God that the judges have given me mercy and let me continue in this competition. I know I have to socialize more with my fellow workers because they help me give better results with my work.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Grabbing the Bull by the Horns/Merlin doesn't hold back when talking about his fellow designers.

I can not believe that I'm still competing in this incredible odyssey. Seriously, The Fashion Show is the most important thing that has happened in my life. So far the competition has been difficult but not that hard for me. The judges, for good or for bad, are always correct and very good and wise with their comments. Blessed be God that they are! I continue fighting in my world of fantasy galactic by keeping both feet on the ground and remembering that I'm only dressing humans, not God or goddesses.

I'm not going to make excuses that I don't have formal fashion school training or that I haven't worked with famous designers before but in the end it does not matter. What's important is that I show that I can do it, that I try to put the best of me in each challenge and get better and better.

Today we are not working in teams and I'm so happy. I admit those beautiful shoes of Giuseppe Zanotti have left me hypnotized for the colors. I have finished moving each aspect of the shoe and detail into my outfit which will be super gorgeous but the look will be exaggerated like always. The best thing I can do is to grab the bull by the horns.

Angel, I'm happy that she dresses like the general public and I hope she continues to do so.
Daniella, it doesn't surprise me that she won the other week, yet again, her outfit is safe and forgettable. She'll continue to win and gain a lot of success. Reco has a lot of talent and knows how to take risks. He is a diamond in the rough and I'm happy to know him. I'm happy for him that he won the right.

Finally Andrew is gone. It is obvious that he is not interested in the world of fashion. He is a "man" of business and is here only for the publicity and he's got that from this. "Lidia Lidia". Lidia doesn't listen to advice or allow help; she's always making excuses and complaining. Finally everyone will see and witness what I've been telling them all season.

In general, I feel tired to be here and that the products I've made has given me the opportunity to show what I can do and I'm not misleading anyone. I continue to try and give the best of me and may God help me!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Love,LIfe,Liberty,Merlin Castell

Love, Life, Liberty, Merlin Castell

Thursday, May 28, 2009 – By Laura Medina, West Hollywood

West Hollywood, California (Thursday, May 28, 2009) - During Memorial Day weekend, we vegetate on the beach, the barbeque, or chilling in front of the tube.

Merlin Castell of WeHo, a contestant in Bravo’s “The Fashion Show.” WeHo News.
It takes an unlikely man to remind us the true meaning of the holiday. A man so passionate about freedom and liberty, it comes out of the blue, Merlin Castell, haute couture women’s’ wear and a contestant in Bravo’s “The Fashion Show.”

Taking a breather from doing rounds of contests and promotions, he offers a very rare glimpse into his soul, a candid tale of growing up gay in a small Honduran village to loving Los Angeles and America then competing on a television show in New York.

The usually extroverted Mr. Castell unexpectedly becomes introspective, calmly reflecting on his passage of being an immigrant, being gay in a free society then equating it with his patriotism for his adopted country.

In a middle of a banana field, a tiny village lines up for a polio vaccination. A weeping eight-year old Castell begs not to be poked. A missionary nurse promises him a comic book if he please stops. He did. As a reward, he got it but it was not a comic book. It was a Forties Vogue Magazine.

As a forlorn gay boy, the magazine’s glamour and art gave him the desire to dream about a bigger world beyond his humble village.

Growing up, his family did not have a television. They walked over to a neighbor to watch one. The simple act of watching television was so exhilarating. This too, gave him the ambition to visualize about all sorts of possibilities.

Merlin Castell of WeHo, a contestant in Bravo’s “The Fashion Show.” WeHo News.
As for that vintage Vogue, Castell proudly states it is still with him to this day. Actually, it is his bible. It goes everywhere with him from Honduras to Los Angeles to Milan then to Manhattan.

People ask him where he gets his ideas. He matter-of-factly replies he tries to stimulate the looks from that magazine.

Most people misconstrue his enthusiasm for flamboyance, his drive for egotism. If you do, do not worry. He treasures the freedom for fashion, art, and beauty and the opportunity to exceed. Something he could never do in his native Honduras.

“I was discriminated against because I was gay. I was interested in fashion; loved fashion; and everybody in school made fun of me.”

When he was eleven, Mr. Castell begun to customized the clothes his mother bought them.

“In school, nobody gets it.”

This is where having the freedom to be gay intersects with America’s liberties, the freedom of expression that exists only here.

Merlin Castell of WeHo, a contestant in Bravo’s “The Fashion Show.” WeHo News.
Underneath the flash, there is a fierce patriotism and love for the United States.

“I am so thankful I live in a country to be whoever I want to be and express myself. We (designers) are artists. I dress for myself. I dress in the way I like. I am different.”

Mr. Castell loves America. He treasures its choices and the acceptance of having the right to be an individual.

“From where I come from, there’s a lot of discrimination and problems. America, it’s like Candyland. Thank god, I have the opportunities. It’s worth it. People are amazing. Americans, they have everything here. It’s normal for them. Thank god, I live in this beautiful country.”

Being different means seeing the world in a different perspective, Mr. Castell is very worldly.

Milan disappointed him. For Castell, Europe is very conservative, commenting old people are very much in control. It was a let down.

In America, a person can rebel. You can express yourself.

Merlin Castell of WeHo, a contestant in Bravo’s “The Fashion Show.” WeHo News.
“It is young. It is fresh. You make your mark.”

For all the distracters who mock his image, his style, his accent, and his zeal, there is a depth of astuteness a few have witnessed.

Defending his image, Mr. Castell unintentionally reinforced his love of liberty.

“I read the postings and I’m shocked. People are making fun of my English and the way I dress. I have an “unique English.”

He is grateful this country gives him the chance to express himself, dressing for himself, no one else.

Appearing in a nationwide show, Mr. Castell sees this as good fortune to exhibit his mettle, “What I love, I have the opportunity to show I’m doing my own thing. I have the talent. I am the full package.”

Despite his “unique English,” Castell articulately elaborates on the rigmarole of being a contestant.

“In the competition, they don’t give any details until the last minute.”

In addition to only having six to seven hours to finish an outfit, they still have to make appearances and conduct interviews.

“We have a lot of pressure in the show, but it’s worth it.”

Merlin Castell of WeHo, a contestant in Bravo’s “The Fashion Show.” WeHo News.
Mr. Castell was disenchanted by his fellow contestants, flabbergasted by their conservatism, and how commercial they are.

“They’re brainwashed with commercialism. All those kids confused business with fashion. Commercialism, that’s business. Fashion, it’s fantasy. Let the managers handle the business. We (designers) have nothing to do with it. In life, go all the way. In the second episode, I did that.”

He states that it is the designer’s challenge to be original, bringing something new to the table. Despite setbacks, they still have to keep on going.

As for designing for Manhattan socialite, Tinsley Mortimer, this is old hat for him. He is used to designing for celebrities and Beverly Hills socialites but the everyday woman inspires him.

Looking out his hotel window, Castell talked about how beautiful Central Park is, right across the street from him.

New York is a real city. This is his first time in the Big Apple. Fearing the preconceived notion of rudeness, Castell was overcome by the local’s openness and friendliness. For him, it is a refreshing change of pace from the Hollywood scensters.

But, there is no place like LA. Mr. Castell misses working out at 24 Hour Fitness, sipping smoothies, wearing shorts and sandals while scooting around in the beautiful weather.

For him, nothing beats WeHo.

Friday, May 22, 2009

In Check

Since 5 a.m. the phone begins to ring. It’s a sign that it’s going to be one of those days: full of tension and adventure, in the world of the “mini-challenge” and the unknown. Cameras arrive at our doors and it’s a sign of exit. And for some of us without return because today is elimination day. The challenge this time is to create a jacket that has a hidden surprise, a trick that facilitates or satisfies the needs of who wears it.

But before the challenge we had a min challenge which was to repair a part of a jacket or skirt. Each of us had only a few minutes to fix the section we were given of the jacket or skirt.
I had to fix the zipper. And I have to accept that it didn’t go well for me. Well, Lidia was lucky, she had to fix the shoulder pads, James Paul, the buttons and Angel had to fix the hems, which he did flawlessly.

My team were the winners again of the mini challenge. We chose Lidia as a leader. Lidia is very organized I have to admit and put us all on check. We all agreed on the colors of the collection and the concept. (Angel) felt bad because when we had 15 minutes to discuss the concept he wanted to lead the conversation, and I didn’t let her, and told her that was Lidia’s job. I respect Angel because I consider her very talented but she has not discovered her own creativity. I feel that she is under a lot of pressure, and that she demands too much of herself for her capacity, in regards to execution. I think that frustrates her and irritable when she is under pressure.

Well, the thing is when we are buying the fabrics she attacked me directly without me knowing why and I had to put her on her place or as we say in Spanish “pintar mi raya y ponerla en su lugar.” Since then, I realized this is not going to work and will not have a happy ending.

In my team I have noticed the difference in our style, which is good. Therefore, we should not worry about competing amongst ourselves. What I worry about understanding the objective of the challenge, and all agreeing on tones and textures for the collection.

Why did our collection ended up being so separated without cohesiveness? The reason is that my teammates do not discuss the elements and materials amongst themselves, and do not make a connection among projects to at least create a story. On the runway, I noticed it the first time, everything was nicely created but each one with their own thing, and Lidia did not notice that disaster. On my mind, we are on death row. James’ materials are not included in my project. Lidia’s material is no where near ours .. HELLO!!!! James-Paul's project was very interesting and funny, with a very good sense of humor. Angel as always doesn’t know if the sleeve goes up or down, continues to be indecisive in the summer. My jacket didn’t even make it to the runway and that frustrated me because I put a lot of work into it, and it was not appreciated, not even evaluated. I felt discriminated, and I couldn’t do anything about it.
I am not worried about being on the elimination seat because this is a competition and sooner or later our end will come. What bothered me is that at the end my team was not connected in anything.

The Fashion Show - Bravo Takes Another Shot… Discovers Something Jamming Barrel

Merlin -

“After attending architecture school in his home country Honduras, Merlin became head designer of his own label. Celebrity clients include Paula Abdul, N’ Sync, Paris Hilton, and Marilyn Manson.”

Merlin is my favorite, because I swear to God he keeps standing like that. I can’t get past this wording though. Became head designer of his own label? What the hell does that mean? Why did he not just - start his own label? I can’t get over the suspicion that he started his own label and very nearly did NOT become the head designer. He’s so purposely odd that somehow that rings true to me, despite not knowing what it could mean.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


On Tuesday night at around 1 a.m. I watched the premiere episode of Bravo's Project Runway-esque The Fashion Show. I'm hooked. Here's why: 1. My friend, Fashion Week guru/IMG honcho Fern Mallis is a judge and Fern knows what she's talking about. 2. I'm also old pals with host Isaac Mizrahi who is reliably hilarious. 3. My sister-in-law Tinsley Mortimer is an upcoming guest judge (the designer hopefuls make a dress for her). 4. And finally, one name: Merlin, the 38-year-old contestant who is a snappy tyrant in crazy costumes. Honduran Merlin Castell is magical to watch. Anyone who dons capes, feathered hats and carries a riding crop gets my vote.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

The Fashion Show-Promo/Featuring Fashion Icon Merlin Castell

Daniella vs. Merlin-"The Fashion Show" Episode 1

it's the first challenge and the drama doesn't wait to get intense.

It's an Embarrassment-Merlin has strong words for this week's losing team, and surprisingly not for Daniella.

Its 5 a.m. and the phone rings. I wake up dizzy, after sleeping for six hours and suddenly hear the mysterious voice on the phone that always wakes us up “It’s 5 a.m., time to get up, wake up the others.”

Its elimination day, we have to bring our luggage in case it’s our time.

This time the challenge is to design a dress for a social occasion. I have to design a dress for a socialite that I have never heard of, and don’t even know what she does. The dress is for a luncheon she is attending, I’m not really sure what that means, but I am making a dress for a cocktail event. Suddenly I find out that my dress is for a meeting at 2 p.m., a day party. I quickly destroy my dress and transform it into something simple yet well done with my personal touch.

I think none of these people that are in this competition have the creativity to make a dress with the details, patterns, and interior construction. It’s like the fit of a door in a Mercedes-Benz; firm and secure.

My dress fits my model to perfection, which is beautiful; I’m not concerned about the end results. But with all this, we came out in second place. I think the people judging our designs are basing their judgment in what’s commercial and what’s in, and they are not considering new innovative design options and new concepts. However, I feel that my challenge is to dress today’s woman with today’s style vs. the future. Because it's clear that it’s not understandable but I think the competition gets better with each day. Not the best one will win, but the one that deserves it.

Daniella won today “la metralleta parlanchina.” That gives me an idea that people are voting for things they have seen on magazines and TV. I think that anyone can put on a jumpsuit, a high wasted skirt, any black dress on any photo shoot or model that has already been seen. I personally didn’t see any creativity in the winning garment, but I think that’s the concept of this competition. Anyways, I think that is fantastic and personally I am glad that Daniella is happy in her new team, and I hope she enjoys it.

I think the losing team today was one big mess, and more than one person had to be eliminated starting with the leader. What they presented was an embarrassment in construction, creativity, and wearable was a disaster. And the worse is they don’t take it as a warning lesson instead they take it as a joke. It’s an insult to what we represent as designers. It’s an embarrassment.

Talk of the Town

he First Day
Today was a marvelous day. My biggest surprise was when Izaac Mizrahi appeared. He’s incredible and I have always admired him. It feels very good to have him as a judge. I don’t know, but if you notice all other “designers” showed up with their best look that identifies them, and I busted out laughing: someone should tell them tsunami time is over.

My dress made with that cheap t-shirt wasn’t that bad. I came out in third place. I don’t accept it but I do think my dress looked more like a dress than any of the other dresses. It deserved the first place. That dress was very pretty and feminine; it deserved it, in comparison to the other dresses.

I imagine I am the talk of the town, people are jealous of what I wear, but what can I say I am an artist. And what? A little eccentric. Well, actually, a lot, God forgive me for that, but that’s me and specially for someone that comes from a place where style is not a big a deal – but please, someone tell these kids that having style doesn’t mean to copy from a magazine or wear something thinking that it’s the best.

Well, I’m having fun and with all these kids, the truth is that maybe they don’t have designer style but I do have to admit they do have talent.

The First Elimination
The one item that you must have in your closet is a jacket. Modern, simple and that goes with your personality. One that goes with everything.

I am very happy to have done a good job with my group. From the start I wasn’t too interested on my project. Maybe because I was safe, or because I didn’t understand the challenge. But oh well. I got it too late, when I had already screwed up and bought that horrible fabric.

In regards to Daniella, I can’t wait to see the time when she’s done and packs up her bags to go.

From the beginning she was a pain in the ass. A big mistake OR big disaster! All the time she was sabotaging my team just to call attention. But I, personally, don’t think she has talent. I think Lidia pretends to be weak in order to be unnoticed, but in reality she’s a wolf in sheep’s clothing. She applies little sheep technique but in reality she is using the wrong strategy and it won’t surprise me if she is the next one to hang her last garment.

In regards to the judges. Honestly I agree with the decision they made and how Kelly handled the situation. In her position, I would’ve done the same. I think I was immature and I got caught up in the moment with emotions, and after everything happened, I felt really bad.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Merlin Castell: Los triunfos de un hondureño

Merlin Castell: Los triunfos de un hondureño
El diseñador originario de Sonaguera, Colón va al reality “The fashion show” de Bravo TV
17.04.09 - Actualizado: 18.04.09 12:06pm - Sabino Gámez. Redacción La Prensa:

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San Pedro Sula, Honduras

Da gusto saber de los triunfos de uno de los nuestros y más si es una persona a la que le hemos seguido la pista desde que se inició en el mundo de la moda internacional.

Famoso por su excéntrico estilo de vestir y diseñar, Merlin Castell, nacido en Sonaguera, Colón, y residente en Los Ángeles, es uno de los 15 diseñadores escogidos por la cadena norteamericana de televisión Bravo para el reality "The fashion show", una nueva versión de "Project Runway".

Este hondureño, bautizado por LA PRENSA como el "John Galliano latino" por su inconfundible estilo en pasarela, fue escogido por la famosa televisora para ser parte del grupo de modistas que protagonizarán la primera temporada del programa, cuyo estreno mundial es el 7 de mayo en el canal Bravo.

Merlin Castell es el primer hondureño afincado en EUA que participa en un reality show de tal magnitud. "Es un honor. Es una oportunidad que jamás me esperé porque trabajé con Janice Dickinson en su programa "Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency" que es muy visto y ahora, lograr esto es algo que me llena de orgullo porque nada es imposible en la vida", dijo en exclusiva a Vivir en Rosa en comunicación telefónica.

Cuento de hadas

Merlin fue un niño criado en Sonaguera, Colón. Desde muy chico le confeccionaba ropa a las muñecas de barro que su hermana le hacía. Nunca dejó de soñar y convertirse en alguien famoso y hoy, gracias a su tenacidad, lo está logrando.

Su nombre original es Merlin Castellón, tiene 38 años y es catalogado por muchos que lo conocen como un personaje exigente y perfeccionista con él mismo. Los fashionistas lo llaman "El mago de la moda" por su increíble capacidad para diseñar.

"Me encanta hacer cosas que estén bien hechas. Soy de los que si inician algo lo hacen bien, sino es mejor ni comenzarlo", recalca.

Castell además de ser un buen diseñador es un experto en el dibujo. En su niñez recuerda que le fascinaba dibujar castillos y mansiones en la tierra del patio de su casa en el pueblo de Isletas junto a su hermana Leyda, quien hoy es estilista.

Uno de los desafíos que tuvo que enfrentar en su vida fue dejar aquella calma de su hogar liderado por su madre y junto a sus seis hermanos emprendieron un nuevo rumbo en su vida tras el paso del huracán Fifí en el año de 1970. Se trasladaron a vivir a las sabanas de Isletas.

El tiempo pasó y con ello la mudanza volvió a la vida de la familia Castellón. Esta vez decidieron vivir en Tegucigalpa, ya que su madre estaba enferma y urgía de atención médica.

Cuando cumplió los nueve años, el dibujo se volvió más que un pasatiempo, una pasión.

"Yo pensaba que iba a ser caricaturista, pero siempre terminaba dibujando ropa con ideas que tomaba de programas que veía en televisión, como el Chavo del 8, de las telenovelas y del programa de Verónica Castro "Mala noche no", afirma con cierta nostalgia.

Fue en ese justo momento en que comenzó a diseñar prendas para él, que eran manufacturadas por una costurera amiga de su madre.

Retos y trabajo

Los ideales de aquel inquieto niño no se limitaron a diseñar sus propias prendas. Quería más y más. Es por ello que le pidió ayuda a su madre para ingresar a una escuela bilingüe para aprender inglés y además, recibir enseñanza sobre el idioma italiano.

Gracias al pequeño comedor que su progenitora poseía, esto fue posible hasta cierto tiempo. Los ingresos económicos de la familia Castellón no fueron suficientes y fue así como él tuvo que cambiar los "lujos de ese entonces" por la modesta educación que ofrecían las escuelas públicas.

Ya como adulto joven, Merlin no dejó desvanecer sus sueños y gracias a su pasión por el dibujo decide estudiar arquitectura. Fueron cuatro años de intensa preparación y en ese justo momento, su vida toma un giro distinto.

A la vida de Merlin llega el viaje a México que aprovechó no sólo para especializarse en la carrera que había decidido estudiar, sino buscar sus ideales en otro país.

Su meta de consagrarse como arquitecto quedó en un segundo plano, porque ya en México se enamoró aún más del diseño de modas, carrera que culminó con éxito en una institución de alta costura.

Con el tiempo viajó a Italia y aquellos estudios del idioma italiano le abrieron puertas fácilmente para seguir perfeccionando y aprendiendo las técnicas innovadoras en la Universidad Marangoni, una de las escuelas de diseño con mayor prestigio en Milán. Desde casi nueve años viajó a Los Ángeles, donde radica y está construyendo una carrera en el diseño de modas muy admirada por los fashionistas.

La colección más reciente de Castell llamada las superestrellas "galácticas" fue inspirada por la película "Barbarella" con el gusto extravagante y sabor del incomparable Juan Galliano.

Castell se define a sí mismo como camaleón, quien continúa reinventándose uno mismo cada nueva temporada. Debido a esto, las revistas y colegas lo han reconocido en el mundo competitivo de la moda.

Ocho son hombres y siete mujeres que tendrán que realizar diferentes desafíos en busca del mejor diseñador.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Merlin Castell on Bravo's new fashion reality series "The Fashion Show"

Merlin Castell on Bravo's new fashion reality series "The Fashion Show"
So the cat is out of the bag! I have been mysteriously absent from work for the past month and half, and now everyone knows why. I have been secretly in New York City filming BRAVO’s brand new fashion reality TV Show The Fashion Show which pits fashion designers against one another in various challenges.

The Fashion Show picks right up where Project Runway left off, it brings the drama, the established hosts and judges but most importantly it brings the fashion back to Bravo. I, along with 14 other designers, find themselves competing in weekly challenges to prove themselves worthy of staying on the show. Each week I will be put to the test and will have to face off in two challenges – the Harper's Bazaar Mini Challenge, judged by the magazine's Special Projects Director Laura Brown, and the elimination challenge. One designer gets handed his thread and needle and sent home every week. The winner receives $125,000 cash and the chance to have their designs sold at a national retailer. Internationally acclaimed designer Isaac Mizrahi shares hosting duties with four-time Grammy Award-winning performer and actress Kelly Rowland. Mizrahi and Rowland will also serve as judges alongside fashion luminary and Senior Vice President of IMG Fashion, Fern Mallis.

I need everyone out there to tune in and root for me! It will defiantly be an entertaining season, watch what happens!
The Fashion Show premieres on Bravo on Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.