Irina Shabayeva won season 6 of Project Runway with her intense and intricately crafted collection.
Irina is an Aquarius Sun with Mercury not too far behind, so it's important for her to build her identity around a sense of her own individuality, that she's not who she is because she's trying to please someone or trying to imitate someone. All through season 6 it was clear that the thing that frustrated her the most was feeling like she was being imitated by Althea, which to an Aquarius can feel like what makes you you is being stolen and cheapened when copied. Whether or not Althea had any intention to copy her, she was clearly very protective of what makes her unique, something Aquarius values greatly. With Mercury close to her Sun in Aquarius it's especially her opinions and ideas that she is likely to be the most protective about.
Among a few other things, Venus says a lot about a person's aesthetic style, what one finds beautiful and how we translate what inspires us into our creative efforts. Irina's Venus lies in Capricorn, in a tight and tense relationship (square) to Pluto and Saturn in Libra. Capricorn reflects a creative style that's refined, elegant, tailored, and in many ways understated, without so many extras and flash that it takes away from the sophistication of something. Tim always admonishes the designers to bring an editing eye to things and Irina is likely to have the least issue with overdoing it.
Venus in Capricorn with Saturn squaring it might lead to a tendency to hold back too much, to take that understated sophistication and take it to far into simply flat and boring. However, with Pluto in a very tight square to Venus, the darker undercurrents rise to the surface, creating that sort of sophisticated, gothic, almost dominatrix style.
Because I do not know her time of birth, I'm unable to determine Irina's moon sign. It will either be Pisces or Aries, but if I had to guess, I would choose Aries. Her competitive nature would make a lot of sense for an Aries moon, who simply needs to push through to be the best and doesn't tend to reveal a lot of softness (although every sign has some, especially when we're talking about the moon which is your emotional nature, in a nutshell). The
moon represents our most private self and so is not likely to be
revealed on television or in a room full of competitors, but it can be revealed when we are stressed and our defenses are low, something I think all the designers went through as the competition got stiffer and they became more tired and their sense of security more challenged. When stress peaked, some of the designers let it show through tears, but when Irina let her stress out it usually more closely resembled anger rather than tears and she stepped more into The Boss role, especially in the finale where she was putting Gordana through her paces with the orders. If her designs are where her heart is, though, her very telling phrase "shielding yourself and just going at it" as the inspiration for her final collection is very Arien.
Irina appeared to be the one who grew to be the 'odd man out', not appearing as friendly with everyone as some were. With her Aquarius Sun and Mars trine to it, and then her Saturn and Pluto square her Venus, these combinations reflect someone who is more used to taking care of themselves and not having a lot of trust for others. To allow someone to support you, you have to allow them to see what might be perceived as weakness. Even if you are not weak, to accept help can make one feel vulnerable, something Irina is not likely to relish. Aquarians are known for their detachment, but it's not out of cruelty or disinterest in others as much as it is a useful defense mechanism to be able to pull away from the kind of obligations that can form when we get enmeshed in relationship with others and forget ourselves. Aquarius is about the pursuit of individuality, so detachment can come in very handy.
With Venus in Capricorn, squaring Pluto and Saturn, she may struggle with letting her defenses down enough to reveal her softness to another even though it's there. Venus is, besides our creativity and sense of beauty, also how we relate to others and reach out to others. Capricorn is often more reserved when it comes to connecting with others and can be much more comfortable running on its own self-sufficiency (they don't call it the sign of the hermit for nothing!) Capricorn also has a vulnerability to looking at any situation as a means to and end rather than seeing the emotional component, so Irina may possibly defend herself from feeling vulnerable to another by relating to others in a 'strictly business' kind of tone, which is not a bad thing, but she can be her own worst enemy if that gets too extreme and she doesn't allow herself to be supported or loved or give that in return. Capricorn gets the undeserved reputation of being cold, however, and it's not. It just knows that sometimes you have to get the job done and you don't have time to whine! It's probably a contributor to her win on Project Runway.