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Top 'Project Runway' designers talk fashion, TV drama

Designer Austin Scarlett at the Paley Center for

Designer Austin Scarlett at the Paley Center for Media in Manhattan. (Jan. 19, 2012) Credit: Nina Ruggiero

It's not every day a man's style is compared to Margaret Thatcher's.

But "Project Runway All Stars" designer Austin Scarlett took the comment from Marie Claire editor Joanna Coles in stride Thursday, dressed in a beaded cream cardigan and American Apparel pants he dyed to match.

The designer's unique fashion sense is part of what landed him in the intensely competitive series and he was ready to flaunt it at the Paley Center for Media in Manhattan before a screening of the show's third episode, coming off a win in episode two.

"There's always that pull, should I be designing more to win, to please the judges or do I listen to my own heart?" he said. "Having a win gives you that extra set of confidence to be true to yourself as a designer."

His competitor, designer Mondo Guerra, arrived in a maroon feathered vest over an orange shirt topped with a leopard hat and mix of bracelets. Guerra said his look was inspired by the movie "Coming to America."

"I'm wearing a hodgepodge of everything," he said. "I'm kind of like a New York City tourist gone mad."

Bubbly designer Kenley Collins made a dark printed Banana Republic top pop with a funky half-up hairdo and bright red lips. Though she received some criticism for designing a pink polka-dot gown for a night at the opera challenge in episode two, fans will be happy to know she hasn't changed her signature style.

"I'm still doing bright colors and funky prints; I'm still doing things that are inspired by the '40s to the '60s," she says.

Put this mix of strong-minded fashion-forward designers in one room and what do you get through the rest of this season? "Drama," says competitor Michael Costello. "Catfights and drama."

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