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Category: "anya ayoung chee"

02
FRI

Anya Ayoung-Chee Confirms Her Engagement!

Posted By LisaRaphael 11:04am GMT

It's a "Project Runway" wedding!! In an exclusive statement to us here at the PR Blog, Season 9 winner Anya Ayoung-Chee emailed to confirm the good news. "I am engaged to my longtime boyfriend, photographer, Wyatt Gallery :)" Anya writes. "Many thanks for your wishes!"

The designer sent us the below photo set, announcing the happy couple with a peek at the beautiful view of Galisteo, New Mexico, where the engagement took place.

Anya Ayoung-Chee Engagement

Many congratulations to Anya and Wyatt! Any guesses what her dress will look like?!

28
FRI

Fan Favorite Anya Reveals Her Plans for Her Prize — Sharing With Anthony Ryan

Posted By CaitlinB 5:48pm GMT

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."

Anthony Ryan Auld and Anya Ayoung Chee share the Fan Favorite prize moneyA: 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!

20
THU

I Actually Agree With Joshua This Time

Posted By CaitlinB 8:39pm GMT

Home visits. The time when Tim Gunn can play detective and do some spying on our behalf to see how the finalists are doing with their collections. Gone are the days when Season 1 winner Jay McCarroll had a leisurely four months to stroll around his native Pennsylvania and ponder the meaning of life before starting his collection. This crew has a matter of weeks to figure out sketches, fabrics, styling, hair, makeup … well, you get it.

First up, Brooklyn … er, Maryland! (Or maybe she meant Brookland?) Kimberly is hard at work on some looks that I'm not completely sold on, but you can see she knows exactly who her girl is (as usual) and where she's going directionally. I'm distracted by the minty beverages her family is sharing with Tim at the dinner table, but glad to see she seems confident and hungry for Fashion Week.

Tim goes on his first international home visit to Anya's hometown via boat, yet lets me down by not wearing mandals with his suit like he did in Season 6 out in L.A. Speaking of being let down, Anya has either completely dropped the ball or really loves to procrastinate when she shows Tim a whole lot of nothing. No sketches, no garments. Just a bunch of fabric bolts and some muslin. Basically, she showed him Island Mood.

If you've ever seen Tim Gunn concerned or worried, which happens often on "Runway," I don't think we've ever seen him this concerned. At least in a scenario like Seth Aaron in Season 7, Tim was worried by 30-something garments that existed. Tim is worried by figments and hopes and dreams of what will walk down a runway in New York's Lincoln Center. This is DEFCON 1-level "This concerns me" territory.

Back on the mainland, Tim swings by Viktor's workspace to see quite the opposite: a lot of progress. Not only does Viktor have his most of his collection completed, he created his own fabrics from photographs he took with a deeply personal story behind them. And we see the beginnings of what looks like an amazing white leather jacket. (And we know how I feel about Viktor jackets!)

Final stop, is Joshua's home base in Queens. We learn that Josh was not kidding about his track star past in the New Balance challenge when we are blessed by several slow-motion stills of a longer-haired version of himself leaping in the air with wild abandon. Tim is back to his worrying ways when he looks as though he wants to light one of Joshua's fabric choices aflame to protect the masses. As more and more garments in the collection start failing the litmus test, Joshua realizes that he has some big changes to make in a hurry and needs to play to his strengths. Oh, and edit!

As the designers finally arrive to a swank penthouse as they settle in for Fashion Week, Tim announces that the designers must narrow down their collections to three looks that will convince the judges to send three (yes, three) designers through. (We knew there must have been a catch somewhere!)

Viktor, Anya, Joshua and Kimberly are eyeing each other's pieces around the room and one thing is clear: Anya is in trouble. Whatever "trouble" is expressed as a number, times 68, times infinity, TROUBLE. Her details are unfinished and the garments look as though they were a Summer Reading assignment done at 1:30am the night before the first day of school. Meanwhile, Viktor is playfully stroking the luxe pearls sewn onto his this-looks-like-you-need-a-black-AMEX-card-for-that leather jacket. The man is on his game, and on it big time.

Kimberly is trying to sort out which looks she should showcase for her mini-collection for the judges, and Joshua is smartly deciding to hold back his neon moments for a later time. Here goes nothing!

Anya is trying to put on a brave face as her fellow designers are clearly showing her up in the execution department as the clothes come down the runway. Heidi has been pulled into the tractor beam of Viktor's white leather jacket and may have to hope that he really does accept the the titanium black AMEX in her wallet because she doesn't want to give it back. Nina, however, remains laser-focused and questions the leather ode-to-zippers hula skirt on his other model. Michael is once again giving Viktor a hard time for his accessory choices (a pair of sunglasses? Really, MK?), but it's clear that Viktor is going through to the finale.

Joshua has smartly shown his more subdued moments from his collection and demonstrated that he has an eye for tailoring that he wasn't credited for enough during the challenges and is also put through.

Kimberly's big-butt bubble skirt and styling choices has put her into the danger zone, but it's clear that Anya's lack of sewing skills is screaming so loudly next to her, our final three are apparent. Or are they?

Surprise! All four go through!

Yes, yes. I know.

And for once, I actually agree with something Joshua said.

14
FRI

When "Good" Is Enough

Posted By CaitlinB 5:01am GMT

I’m the type of person who rises to the occasion when the finish line is in sight: finish strong or go home. With Fashion Week one challenge (and three looks) away, the designers FINALLY have the payoff for little sleep, close quarters and crazy challenges on the horizon, so why do I feel like everyone phoned this challenge in with just good work and not great work?

Anya, Laura Kathleen, Kimberly, Joshua and Viktor create three looks inspired by Governors Island, varying from sculpture to architecture, with the help of some blasts from the past: auf’d designers.

Becky would be my choice, based on her sewing skills alone, no matter how well I worked with someone in the gigbillionty team challenges of the past. The key to this challenge, and really the door to Fashion Week, was finding the best sewer/seamstress/patternmaker to help execute three cohesive looks to show the judges “I belong here.”

Kimberly’s three looks had something going for them in a big way: They were her point of view. You know a Kimberly look when you see it, and that has never been a question this whole season. She knows herself and she knows the woman she’s dressing. Whether or not that woman would be wearing all three of these looks, I don’t know, but it was enough to get her through. I was surprised she struggled so much with the jacket, considering she chose Becky to assist her.

Anya’s sculpture-inspired looks actually looked better on TV than in photo form. Being able to see them in motion on a body was the most appealing thing about them. They’re not flashy clothing; they’re thinking clothing. A smart woman who wants to look effortless, yet put some serious thought into her wardrobe, wears those clothes. As Michael mentioned, it’s good to see her varying from her vacation/resortwear and into another direction by this point. However, the velvet ropes to Fashion Week were lifted here in part thanks to Bert’s construction skills. He mitigated the snafus that plagued her in the previous challenge by helping her execute the looks she was envisioning. And, truly, their aesthetics are not dissimilar. They both love clean, simple silhouettes that have a big impact. But, Anya can out-style him any day, which is why she is as strong a competitor as she is.

Viktor made three totally fine looks, and as the judges mentioned, they would be on every shopper’s receipt if sold to the masses. But was this the “wow” moment we all know he’s capable of? No. He has proven to be so consistent this season and obviously knows his way around a sewing machine. We were missing the magic from the recipe, and that’s what he’s so good at. I hope to see that come back in his final collection — and some of those leather jackets and tailored moments he’s known for ... if only for my own selfish, closet-filling reasons.

Joshua’s white cocktail dress was the only look I appreciated from his mini-collection. And, really, when the finish line is that close, why send a look you’re admittedly not happy with down the runway? That “Peggy Sue Got Married” baton twirling dress had no business walking down the runway with the white cocktail stunner. Those two ladies would never sit at the same lunch table. His third look was way too Statue of Liberty for me, and the fabric choice was all wrong. But Joshua will ultimately get through because the man knows how to put on a show.

Laura Kathleen’s three looks had the opposite effect of Anya’s for me — they looked better in photos. Maybe I was sucked in by all of the mesmerizing circles, but it certainly made a loud statement. I think if she had more time to play out how she would create these pieces, we’d have a different final four.

Are you surprised by the designers who made it through?


06
THU

The Twistiest Challenge Yet

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:01am GMT

Team Nuts and Bolts do not get along in the HP fabric challengeI was about to write an entire entry on how this challenge was one of those "Here is your inspiration! Now go out and be inspired by it!" scenarios until I realized that this whole series is truly about how one can best find inspiration in sometimes uninspiring situations and conquer it.

Are we as humans usually inspired by dirty gutter water? Discarded newspapers? The U.S. Postal Service? Probably not. But they've managed to help create some fantastic sources of inspired fashion throughout this show's history. I feel like breaking out my inner Wes Bentley in "American Beauty" and declare that there is beauty in ugly things as we all watch plastic grocery store bags dance in the suburban wind, but as far as inspirations go, exotic birds are not so bad. (But apparently owls are. Sorry, guy!) Especially with a $20,000 {cough – $12,000 after taxes} cash incentive!

Once the designers are paired in teams and ready to tackle their respective ravens, Amazon parrots and cockatoo, Tim throws in a twist: The team members are actually working AGAINST each other, not WITH each other.

As Joshua licks his way through fabric at Mood (did anyone ELSE notice that?), the designers run through the aisles repeating the inner monologue, "Do not be literal. Do not be literal ..." while stuffing faux feathers into a shopping bag. Here we go ...

Viktor is creating a look that half reminds me of his own Avant-garde Challenge look and half of Laura Kathleen's color palette (but muted) for the same challenge. I am impressed by his ability to manipulate the organza into a feather-like texture, whereas Laura glued an entire bird's worth of feathers onto the collar of her suited raven look.

Anya, also Team (That's So) Raven, has a beautiful piece of fabric over her dress form that looks like a promising new direction for her this week. Viktor agrees with me by describing it as "hellosexy.com," which, by the way, you should not visit in an office setting. Trust me. He is, however, not intimidated by his Team Cockatoo counterpart, and thinks he has this challenge in the bag.

Joshua McKinley bird challenge orange dressTim appears in the workroom, but clearly it's too early for his workroom visit, so something must be up. Twist #2: You need to create a second look! And your model needs to do a quick change into it! And you still have two days!

As if the designers didn't have enough trouble becoming inspired by a bird the first time, the second time is proving to be even more difficult. Bert, who must have had a weird run-in with a parakeet in his youth, is particularly bothered by this prospect ... until he sees Joshua's first look: the scariest green mess I have ever seen. In my life. Thankfully, Joshua recognizes it too, and switches his focus to Look 2. With a new direction, he asks Anya if he can borrow some additional fabric to completely redo Look 1.

I guess there's two sides to this point of the episode: the first being, yes, as Anya explains it, this is too late in the competition to be pulling favors, and the second, conversely, being that THE PERSON SAYING THAT BORROWED FABRIC LAST WEEK.

Anya may have an abundance of fabric on her side, but she's struggling with construction. She has no idea how to get her model into her second look, and her first look has, as Tim pointed out, two vastly different-sized armholes. Laura, who has now clipped on some great bangs, is betting on her years of training to help come out on top over Anya's sewing snafus.

Kimberly, who after sewing through her finger (Twist #3) and struggling throughout most of the episode, has a much-needed "Come to Jesus" chat with Tim, who revives her spirit and, with a hug, sets her on a new promising path ... until she burns a hole through Look 1 (Twist #4) and has to completely scrap it and create an entirely new dress in three hours (Twist #5). Someone get this girl a beverage!

Tim is back on runway day to brief everyone with a "special announcement": Only one of the two looks will walk the runway (Twist #6). Laura is rejoicing. Anya, Bert and Joshua are struggling with which look to send down.

Anya Ayoung Chee's raven dress reminicent of Viktor's Nina Garcia challenge dress I am screaming "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHOOSE ORANGE" as if Joshua can actually hear me, but I'm more intrigued by the fact that Anya has her model stuck inside of the fashion version of a Chinese Finger Trap.

As the designs finally come down the runway, I'm so distracted by recalling Laura Kathleen's avant-garde look again that I dismiss anything Viktor's look has going for it. Kimberly's three-hour gown has something appealing about it, but the slit is too high (reminding me of Olivier's avant-garde look) and I'm still on the fence about seeing under-cleavage reminiscent of Christina Aguilera's 2002 VMA outfit. But it's still got something really appealing about it.

Also in the "something appealing about it" (stress on the something) category was Bert's. He was right about the length being shy an inch or two, and I wasn't crazy about the makeup or the belt detail, but I didn't hate it. Joshua just happened to come up with a great look that couldn't be topped. He truly does best in this competition when he has the time to edit.

Speaking of "can't be topped," for this raven showdown and what seems to be the entire season, there's Anya's look. Although, and Laura Bennett is in sync with me on this point, that dress is a modified version of Viktor's Nina Garcia Challenge look. The end. I'm surprised he (and Nina) never commented on it. The shoulder treatment on Anya's also leaves something to be desired. They almost looked like they were made out of felt and pinned on there. But overall the look was so strong, and not so literal, that it gave her the win. Again. (That gives her three.)

Backstage, Joshua reminds us again that Anya's model needed to be cut out of the dress at the end of the runway day. Now, I know the designers use tricks to save on time, like not lining a garment ('cause who cares?), but whether cutting a model out of a garment she was sewn into is really a sign of a lack of construction know-how about where to put a closure or a zipper, or is just because these aren't clothes being worn by actual consumers, I'm not quite sure.

As for Bert leaving us now, it's kind of sad, 'cause I was just starting to like him again (Twist #7). Either way, drinks on Anya!

30
FRI

Keep Your Money Close and Your Fashion Books Closer

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 11:01am GMT

Bert Keeter's '70s inspired skimp dress As I was born in the early 1980s, my sensibility for what makes or breaks a great 1970s outfit is not the best, but I can tell you when a heinous garment walks down a runway, so I can still write this post with some qualifications. When this challenge was first issued to the designers, I wanted to throw down the yellow flag. Did you not see last week's episode, people?! This is not the reference or decade ... again! But, given this was back to designing for women, I figured we could all give them the benefit of the doubt. For now.

The words "SOPHISTICATED" and "MODERN" were reassuring to me, and I was instilled with hope that Pocahontas would be gone. For now.

CUE THE DISCO MUZAK, and we're off to Mood!

In a true "Project Runway" first, Anya not only loses her entire shopping budget, she's also forced to either beg her fellow designers for the nickels and dimes left in their pockets or create a look with the wonders of muslin. I don't know what's worse, really.

However, this is an interesting time if you're into personalities and what really makes a person tick on this show. This is the time when we see whose mantra is "But this is a competition!" versus "We don't want you to go out like this" when someone's down on their luck.

Little did you know, but Anthony Ryan actually left behind buttons and other notions with Anya in mind before he hit the register so that she would have some money to buy something with his balance. Let's hear it for Southern gentlemen! Some (I'm passive-aggressively referring to you, Viktor!) were not so thoughtful.

Bert was like a whole new man in this episode. The guy we met at the beginning of the season wouldn't even hang out with the Studio 54, velvet-rope guy from Episode 10. He was also a wealth of information for his fellow designers to use both for the history of the time period and for unbelievable disco stories from back in the day. (Did anyone else catch that "balcony third row" comment? Bert! You saucy minx!)

Speaking of which, the other interesting part of this challenge is what I like to call the History Channel Showdown. Bert, without question, knows the aesthetic of the '70s. Carry on. Laura asserts herself as being very familiar with the time period because she's "wearing vintage clothing right now" (clearly), and claims that Kimberly is off the mark on the reference and is designing "JC Penney's" pants. (Incidentally, JC Penney's was established in 1902, so it's totally possible.) Meanwhile, Josh claims that since he was born in the '80s, he couldn't possibly be familiar with the decade, which offends, curiously, Viktor.

Viktor, if you recall, was the one who got schooled on references by (then mean) Bert during the stilt walker challenge. Yes, the same man who was confusing Elizabethan with Victorian and and nearly caused Bert's head to explode in a fit of fashion history rage. Did he do some Wiki cram-studying since Episode 3? Check that browser history!

Although it didn't make it into the episode in full (that's what we're here for!), Joshua actually goes on to nearly break down on the specific reasons as to why he was robbed of the experience of knowing fashion references. (Watch this exclusive video blog to see the whole slightly awkward scene unfold. Yow.)

Laura Kathleen's '70s inspired dressHistory duels aside, when it came to the second look, you can see who it served well (Laura Kathleen, Bert, Anya) and who it did a disservice to (Anthony Ryan, Joshua). Laura Kathleen's first look had such clashing patterns on the top and bottom, they almost looked like a marriage of two completely different looks sewn together and hidden with a belt. Her second look may not have photographed well, as Nina pointed out, but was much more refined.

Bert's second look (the skimp) grew on me throughout the judging. It really has an effortless ease and simplicity that a lot of women would love. Although his first look was kind of bananas, it was fun and seriously inspired by the time. Perhaps a bit too vintage-looking, but it had a certain joy in it that was missing from the previous week overall. Anya's wheelhouse certainly seems to be creating resort wear with a relaxed vibe. Both winning looks could be in the same woman's suitcase.

If we've learned anything in this episode, it's never to stuff your money envelope in your bra. I don't care how much underwire you're rocking, your money for your reality-competition TV show will fall out. We also learned that you can make fashion with $11 and that even though the nice guy went home, he's still a class act.

30
FRI

Shop the Winning Piperlime Looks

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 10:01am GMT

Bert and Anya’s winning looks have sold out on Piperlime.com, but Olivia Palermo, our judge on last Thursday’s episode, has a bunch of great new picks at Piperlime.com! Click here to see her faves, and don’t forget you can shop the "Project Runway" Accessories Wall, too.

Winning Piperlime Looks: Episode 10

P.S. The winning looks' biggest fan? Heidi Klum herself! Check her out in Anya's winning Piperlime jumpsuit:

Heidi Klum wearing Anya Ayoung Chee's winning Piperlime look

02
FRI

Avant-Done Already

Posted By CaitlinBergmann 5:01am GMT

Viktor with Harlem School of the Arts sttudent in the avant-garde challenge 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 Lama–esque 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.)

Anya avant-garde challenge 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.