Local designer Anthony Ryan Auld sailed through the second week of “Project Runway,” coming within a hair’s breath of winning Thursday’s challenge of using materials gleaned from a pet store to assemble an ensemble.
Auld, a 28-year-old LSU alum, again made the judges’ top three favorites, just as he did last week.
In this week’s “Pet Project,” the 15 remaining contestants used everything from dog beds and pet food bags to aquarium rocks and leashes to make their garments.
But Auld made it his mission to go for the most unconventional material he could find -- birdseed.
The result was a stunning cocktail dress, “beaded” with birdseed, birdseed and more birdseed. He used larger sunflower seeds to create a collar-like effect.
The judges -- host Heidi Klum, designer Michael Kors, Marie Claire magazine fashion director Nina Garcia and guest judge Stacey Bendet, founder of the $50 million fashion line Alice + Olivia -- praised the garment.
Garcia called it “dramatic but simple,” and Bendet thought it was chic. Kors said one would have to closely inspect the dress to realize it was made of birdseed.
Klum really loved Auld’s design, and fought to give him the win.
Garcia, however, argued the dress was too short. She picked designer 25-year-old designer Olivier Green, who made a top from a wooly dog bed and a skirt from hamster bedding, to win, and was able to convince Kors and Bendet to go along.
After announcing the winner, Klum told Auld: “To be honest, your look was my favorite, but I was overruled.”
The three “Project Runway” finalists will present their collection on Sept. 9 (although the show will end later) at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York. The winning designer will get $100,000 from L’Oréal Paris to start his/her own line, a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine, a $50,000 technology suite by HP and Intel, and the opportunity to design and sell an exclusive collection on http://www.piperlime.com.