The Project Runway Blog
Category: "anthony ryan auld"
Daniel Vosovic, Mychael Knight, Christian Siriano. Anya Ayoung-Chee is the latest in a line of standout "Project Runway" contestants who have taken home the title of Fan Favorite designer. This year, Lifetime reinstated the voting process with Twitter, and in the process, reinvigorated a tiny Caribbean country's national pride. Anya reveals her surprising plans for her $10,000 prize — sharing it with a fellow designer.
Caitlin: It was a close race for Season 9 Fan Favorite up until the very end between you and Anthony Ryan. You received an overwhelming amount of hometown love.
Anya: It was literally people who had never been on Twitter before were signing up to support me. They were running it on the news. It was such an incredible, incredible experience. I heard that 11,000 people were voting nonstop. It was insane. It's easier to understand when you know what it's like to come from a small place. It meant the absolute world to them ... And it wasn't just Trinidad and Tobago, it was pretty much across the Caribbean. Crazy amounts of loyalty.
C: There were many tweets in support of you that said, "This isn't just Anya winning Fan Favorite, this unified a country."
A: I'm so glad people were able to witness that. I have to be honest, I got a little not sure how to handle things towards the end, because Anthony Ryan and I are very good friends. I stayed out of it until the very end until I realized that it was bigger than me. Trinidad is currently in a state of emergency because crime has escalated, which means there's a curfew every night. It's been like this for months now. This whole thing, Fan Favorite, became about Trinidadians feeling proud. It lifted people's spirits. I can't downplay how much of an impact this has had. Because we are currently in a bad state and people are quite upset about it, voting for me as Fan Favorite became a shining light amidst of all of the depression.
C: What will you do with the $10,000 Fan Favorite prize?
A: I decided to use the money to set up a microfinance loan program for young creatives in Trinidad and Tobago. I'd like the fund to grow to be across the Caribbean. I grew up in a way that really didn't encourage creative careers as a viable way of making a living. I grew up thinking I should become a doctor, or something more "conventional." I'm very lucky to have parents who supported my real desire to become a designer, but a lot of young people grow up thinking that they can't do a creative job for a "real" living. So I want to bridge the gap between the people who want to do something in a creative field and provide a way for people to make a viable career. I didn't really win this. Trinidad and Tobago did, and the money should go back to them.
I am also giving half to Anthony Ryan's Rock One campaign fund. We were so close the whole time; if it wasn't because Fan Favorite became such a national and regional effort, Anthony was winning. His cause is equally important.
C: It's admirable that you both had plans to do something charitable with the money. No one else stood a chance once you two took the lead.
A Young men with cancer doesn't receive the attention in the media it deserves, and I really admire him. He's amazing. He was there for me at important times throughout the competition, and I love him as a person. Beyond all that, testicular cancer was pushed into the limelight when he discussed it on the show. I'm happy to share it with him.
C: Fan Favorite really broke down the "fourth wall" between the designers and their fans this season in particular because it was done via Twitter and you and Anthony Ryan were so active in promoting it.
A: It's true. People really develop relationships with us. We're in people's homes once a week, and this is a big part of the whole experience. I'm glad Lifetime brought Fan Favorite back!
Based on the Harlem School of the Arts painting session pairings, I was totally taken back to Season 4's prom dress challenge. Would Viktor's student Skyy become akin to Christian Siriano's prom tweenmate? For his sanity's sake, I hope not!
While receiving Dalai Lamaesque life lessons and avoiding House of Deréon inspiration, the designers all did their best to wrap their heads around the definition of "avant-garde." So that we're all on the same page, here it is:
avant-garde |?avänt ?gärd; ?avä n |
noun (usu. the avant-garde) new and unusual or experimental ideas, esp. in the arts.
I watched this episode three times in the hopes that something "new" and "unusual" would slap me across the face that I didn't notice the first two times. And finally, during the third replay, it did: EVERYONE IS NICE TO EACH OTHER NOW!
What a relief! Perhaps now that everyone is humming "Kumbaya" in 11-part harmony, we'll see some truly inspired avant-garde fashion:
Olivier, as much as we want to protect him like a tiny kitten, needs to ROAR already. His winning pet-challenge look was far and away more avant-garde than this look. This one was too safe. And just because he had some chiffon available (presumably because Danielle is no longer hoarding it and calling it her "Precious" in a corner somewhere), does not an avant-garde look make.
Bert, although half-harlequin and half-whatever crazy geometric thing Katy Perry wore to the VMAs, got the "unusual" part right, but it was too unflattering a fit to be a legitimate contender. Litmus test: If you make a model look like she has a saggy butt and the world's shortest torso, you're in trouble for the rest of us.
Josh C. spent so much time toying around with that ghastly red faux fur and his throwback to the sassy X-rated version of "Bram Stoker's Dracula" that he just couldn't get past the fact that it wasn't good. Painting or no painting! What's sadder still is that he had one of the cooler paintings to work with. His tweenmate who, incidentally, could have passed as his kid sister should have let him know.
Laura Kathleen's hard-meets-soft rose concoction had potential, but the combination of the green boning and the yellow organza just bothered me. I couldn't see past it. And apparently, neither could the judges for as much as they liked it. (Watch it again and take note of the number of times they applaud her for hard and soft ... and not much else.)
Joshua M. did a nice job of giving his skirt some texture with his paint application, but remove that belt in your mind and ponder how the top transitioned to the bottom. That wasn't using an accessory to accessorize; that was a foot of mystery in the middle. (Prove me wrong by removing the belt and I'll rescind my comment!)
Anya, for as much flak as she gets, really put together a great look this week. I'm surprised it didn't resonate with the judges more than just being safe. The shape she achieved in that skirt really set her apart from the rest of the pack. She, as always, seemed to be spot-on with the styling. Her model's hair? Genius.
Bryce's look had lot of potential too, but the fit was way off. Gaga would be all over that thing if it was done right. And she'd wear the sleeves tied behind her on the red carpet and have her minions speak for her using only index cards transcribed in German.
Anthony Ryan's look, I really loved it, but it was love I already had for his second challenge dress ... because that's what it was. Same neckline. Same silhouette, just longer and not covered in birdseed. Maybe it was a blessing that Nina wasn't there to remind Michael and Heidi of this?
If it sounds like I'm being harsh on the designers in this episode, I am. We're down to 11 designers. I want to see something spectacular. Spectacular Spectacular! I didn't expect them to, you know, throw Swatch the Mood mascot dog on someone's head as a hat and label it "avant-garde," but it certainly would have piqued my interest.
Well, let's just start off with the awkward elephant in the room: Cecilia's departure. She's not the first designer to choose to walk away from "Runway," but she's certainly the first to do it this soon.
Only the designers who have competed on this show over the years can truly know the pressure, stress and insanity the contestants face day in and day out, but after going through rounds of casting and years of trying to get your work recognized, why take yourself out of the competition at THIS point? I guess only Cecilia can answer that question.
Moving on to Olivier, quote, falling like a bitch (didn't know that was an "ism" across the pond, by the way) and the choosing of teams for the Heidi New Balance challenge …
Newly discovered track star Joshua strategically picks Anya for his first teammate, followed by Becky for her strong sewing skills.
Bryce smartly chooses last week's winner, Kimberly, and rounds out the team with loves-a-chiffon-moment Danielle. Anthony Ryan chooses former stilt-walker-challenge teammate Laura Kathleen, and is stuck with Bertzilla (LOVED that Heidi beat him in five-inch Louboutins!), who complains that he's picked last, yet gets along with no one at this point.
Viktor chooses a brought-back-to-life-from-near-death-fall Olivier, and is allowed to choose a third team member from the previously dismissed designers. His choice? Josh C. (Now I have to use Josh initials again! Thanks, guy.)
From the get-go, it's clear which teams are really teams of two with an oh-sorry-you're-working-with-us-too bonus mate, and who have true party-of-three cohesion. Anthony Ryan and Laura Kathleen initially shut Bert's ideas down in a dismissive way that perhaps is unfair, but given his winning personality lately, can we really blame them? Likewise, Joshua M. and Anya are clearly fashion BFFs, and Becky is the third wheel in this arrangement.
Josh Squared bromance is back, y'all!
But even this momentary moment of workroom happiness can't stop the sass factory that's about to take over the next hour of our lives.
In the workroom, Anthony Ryan often asks Bert what he thinks, but doesn't quite assert his authority as team captain to rein Bert in. Maybe it was his body temperature slowly rising over 98.6, but he could have had much more dominance in what needed to be done as a complete collection. Instead his work suffered, and his team fell apart in the process.
Both Joshua M. and Anya ask Becky to help sew their garments, and I use the word "ask" here purposely. They ASKED her. What Joshua eventually said to her with the whole "Your clothes are dowdy!" rant was certainly offensive to Becky, or anybody for that matter, but at no point did she ever open her mouth and say, "No! I will not be your seamstress wench! You figure out how to sew jersey, magician!" She should have put her foot down when Josh put his foot in.
Speaking of sewing, let's talk about the epic fails of needlework Betsy Ross is somewhere rolling in her grave about. The last-minute stripe on the front of Anya's maxi dress was tacked on with a stitch every foot or twelve. You could stick your hand through it to give your teammate a high-five when the judges completely missed the for-decorative-purposes-only exposed zipper on the razorback that was simply laid on top of the garment. The overall effect was nice, but the execution on these notions was seriously sloppy.
Bertzilla strikes again on the runway as he openly mocks and laughs at his own teammates during judging. Yes, Anthony Ryan's look was probably one of the bigger tragedies ever seen on the catwalk, but at what point was it OK to kick the guy when he's down ... and feverish? Bert's look, although better than the giant basketball-shorts romper next to him, was a pair of socks and a Staten Island Ferry ride away from a 1988 "Working Girl" moment.
On the flip side, Viktor's motorcycle jacket (pictured right) makes us all want to go out and buy one, and Joshua M. picks up the surprising second win.
In what's sure to be one of the more controversial judging decisions since Gretchengate of 2010, Danielle is sent home and Anthony Ryan is spared. Did you think her elimination was fair, or did Anthony Ryan's body of work save him?