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Leaving 'Runway' behind

By JOAN ELOVITZ KAZAN
Photos by Abe Van Dyke

September 2013


Miranda Levy (blue dress, right photo) and Timothy Westbrook (below) were all smiles at RunUp 2012.


 

Milwaukee-based designers Timothy Westbrook and Miranda Levy brought more than their share of drama to the "Project Runway" Season 12 cast. After the two were paired together in Episode 3, the wheels fell off as the two clashed over their Coney-Island-inspired design. Westbrook got the ax while drawing curious stares from other designers for his obsession with a carnival unicorn and Levy got labeled the "mean girl" for lashing out against Westbrook. As of press time, Levy was still on the show.

It might not have been Milwaukee’s finest hour in the national spotlight, but we still rally around our own.

Back on the Unicorn

A native of upstate New York, Timothy Westbrook relocated here in 2012 to become the youngest Artist in Residence at The Pfister Hotel. Calling himself, "a sustainability-focused fiber artist," Westbrook’s passion for repurposing materials combined with his love of whimsy is evident in everything he does. "We have to protect the forest to keep the unicorns alive," he quips. Drawings of unicorns welcome visitors to the Timothy Westbrook design studio/showroom in downtown Milwaukee’s Shops at Grand Avenue. With a fashion/performance art show scheduled for Sept. 21 at the Milwaukee Public Museum, Westbrook is happy to be working full time on his art and plans to feature 12 to 16 full looks in his show. Combining Westbrook’s passion for sustainability with his love of dinosaurs and fashion, the show is titled, "The Paleontology of a Woman."

"The major theme is about fossil fuel reduction," he says. "We’re also trying to inject a lot of humor and a lot of fun into the show." Tickets are available at www.paleontologyofawoman.com

Military Proud

For her video diary on "Project Runway’s" website, Levy chose full military regalia to take to the streets of Shorewood. A proud veteran of an eight-year army stint, Levy’s uniform is the major influence on everything she designs. "This uniform shapes and molds every aspect of my life," she says. "Wearing the military uniform redefined my ideas of clothing and its effect on my identity." With an objective of marrying the military motif to contemporary fashion, Levy adds, "The elegant look, timeless style and vintage fabric from the period inspire me but I deliberately try to integrate those ideas into a modern woman’s wardrobe." Levy intends to build her design business with a new line for spring and fall 2014. She is working to fundthat business through networking and outreach.

Helping female military vets is another of Levy’s goals through a program that will focus on "female veterans struggling with (the aftermath of) military sexual trauma."

 


This story ran in the September 2013 issue of: