Project Runway's Anthony Williams
He's the take-no-prisoners designer, who's shaking things up on Project Runway this season.
- Q: You definitely have exhibited a certain degree of confidence on the show. Are there are ever times that you feel any self-doubt? - Natasha Alloway
- A: Obviously, as humans we naturally feel some level of doubt. I think it’s all about where you show the doubt. I take it home. I could show it in the workplace, but I don’t think that’s the most opportune time to show any doubt but there are times when I doubt myself a lot.
- Q: Has your self-confidence ever gotten you in trouble? - Natasha Alloway
- A: No, because I have not always had self-confidence. I have never been the best or had the best in. So the self-confidence I have now is just the end result of a work in progress because it has not always been there.
- Q: So what would you attribute your growth and self-confidence to? - Natasha Alloway
- A: Well, I’ve worked for some really great companies and I’ve done a lot of really great things for people and I’ve realized that if I can take a chance, you know, loving and cultivating the projects of others, I can love and cultivate the products of myself. So I just realized I’ve gotta start taking some chances on myself and doing things that will make me feel better about being Anthony Williams.
- Q: Tim Gunn’s catch phrase is “Make it Work.” On one episode, you said you were “Stacked, packed, and ready to attack.” Is that your catch phrase? - Natasha Alloway
- A: I guess it is my catch phrase even though I don’t really remember saying that. [laughs] It means I am ready for battle. I have everything I need. I am stacked, packed, and ready to attack. It means exactly what it says. I have everything I need to launch my attack.
- Q: Now, you’ve finished in the bottom 3 twice. How do you account for that and what do you think you need to do going forward? - Natasha Alloway
- A: Well, I don’t necessarily look at being in the bottom 3 like everyone else does. First of all, it gives the judges an opportunity to get to know you in a different way versus somebody who’s safe all the time and they don’t get to know you at all. I never thought about as being at the bottom. But going forward I feel like I need to continue to keep doing what I’m doing and listen to the judges. It’s a growth opportunity for me to be in the bottom 3 because I can find out what it is they’re looking for, what it is that I need to be doing. So I just think I need to continue to grow through the competition and I think I’ll be fine.
- Q: Have you formed any deeper relationships with some of the designers and if so, who and why? - Natasha Alloway
- A: Yes, Jay Nicholas Sario. We are actually very good friends to this day. Oh God, we have such an amazing friendship, like we have a very intimate relationship that is real and true. I remember coming home from the show, and it was time to get back to regular life or whatever, and I was on the phone with Jay and I was telling him everything that was going on in my life and he just started laughing. And I was like, “Fool, what are you laughing about.” And he said, “Your life is falling apart and you’re just so happy.” And having him there in that moment reminded me that that is truly who I am. My life was falling apart, and I still found a way to be happy, so it has been a good driving force for me.
- Q: So tell us what the first piece you ever designed was and tell us a little bit about it. - Erik Meers
- A: The first piece I ever designed was like this vest that I made in high school and by the time I finished with it, cutting it up, and doing it wrong, I think it could have fit a 5-year old. I really messed that vest up. That was what obviously let me know that that was not my calling to do menswear. And I think later on I ended up making my little sister a dress and now that turned out perfect. That was beautiful. But that vest, I’m glad it’s nothing but a memory now. I’m glad there aren’t any photographs of that laying around.
- Q: What did you think of the fashion on the Grammys? - Erik Meers
- A: Let me tell you the most intriguing person to me, not because of what she wears but because of her facial expressions. Lady Gaga. Let me tell you why I like her. Lady Gaga reminds me very much of this show that comes on. It’s this PBS special, “The Secret World of Haute Couture.” I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it but there’s the lady on there and they ask her, “What do you wear for lunch?” And she says “It’s always Chanel at lunch.” And when I look at Lady Gaga, she always has this facial expression of like, “Well why the hell didn’t you wear an outfit like this?” She just always looks like, “Well where’s your head piece? I thought everybody was wearing one.” So I just love her facial expressions because she always looks as if you need to be surprised by what you have on, not what she has on, and I just love that about her.
- Q: Now every designer has a certain aesthetic that defines them, like DVF has her flowers and prints. What do you have? What’s your signature? - Natasha Alloway
- A: I think the signature thing about Anthony is the fit and the functionality of the piece that I design. I think so many times, even on Project runway, people talk about the innovation of it all, and how you need to make something that no one’s ever seen before, but you know as well as I know, that’s not what’s going to keep the field safe. I think that what I’ve learned to do – it’s gonna be special and you’re gonna know that it came from Anthony but it’s gonna be functional and it’s gonna be something that you can wear because that’s what I believe in. I don’t have a closet where I have blazers that I can just wear once and that’s it. I don’t know people who can live that lifestyle.
- Q: Tell us who your favorite designer is and why. - Natasha Alloway
- A: It’s really a cross between Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad. They both have East Asian influence, some of which the glamour of it all is done in a special way. I’m not sure if you remember the year that Hallie Barry won the Oscar. That year and with that gown, she actually put Elie Saab on the mound. And it really let me know that you only have to be known for one night and it only takes one opportunity to launch you in and prepare you into greatness. I think she was definitely a great designer before her but she just gave her a face and a voice. Typically you don’t see American women in those dresses but they found a way to Americanize what they’re making. They said you know what, this is what we’re selling and you’re gonna buy it because they’re not changing, and I like that.
- Q: Now if you had to throw a fabulous party with any 3 fashion icons, who would they be and why? - Natasha Alloway
- A: Most definitely, I would love to talk to Jacqueline Kennedy, simply because I’ve read the O. Lincoln books, the letters that she’s written to him. I would love to just ask her about some of her comments she made in that book to see if she really would be that catty in person. And I would love to talk to Daphne Guiness. She is part of the secret world of Haute Couture and she is very like, “Oh my God, if a celebrity wears it, I wouldn’t want to wear it.” You should Google her. She’s very funny and you would want to talk to her. And last but not least, certainly, I would probably want to partner with Diane Carroll. I absolutely love the way she carries herself. I love her demeanor. No she is not necessarily been listed to the world as a style icon but she is a style icon to me. First of all, she found a way to show that African-American women can be beautiful and be polished and look lovely at all times. And she was absolutely lovely in Dynasty. So those are all the fashion icons that I would love to sit down and talk to and actually see how all their personalities would mesh together.
- Q: Often on the show the designers don’t agree with judges' decisions. Have there been any decisions so far on the show that you haven’t agreed with from the judges? - Natasha Alloway
- A: I thought some of their criticisms about my last gown were a bit harsh because I still think that there is a place for ball gowns. Obviously people still wear ball gowns to this day, and I thought that there was some innovation to the work I did on the bodice. However, I said it on Project Runway, and I’ll say it to you, and I know it probably sounds greatly rehearsed but I’m being very honest with you. I didn’t come to Project Runway to be a judge, so I’m not gonna judge. And you never know what they’re gonna say. I’m sure if you’ve ever watched the show, there have been some times once or twice that you’ve been surprised the things they’ve said to people. You just never know that they’re gonna say so you have to come into it with an open mind and just know that these people are human, and I am human, and at the end of the day honey if they don’t like it and I’m done, oh well, and if they do, on to the next one.
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