Anthony Ryan Auld became near and dear to Baton Rouge fashionistas a few years ago when the LSU grad won "Project Runway All Stars II." Now the designer has a chance to again take home the top prize in the final season of "Project Runway All Stars" on the Lifetime network.
Auld has made it to the top five in the show, which airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. And he's up against his toughest competition ever. All of the contestants are former winners of "Project Runway" franchises from around the world.
If the former Baton Rougean is the last one standing among the 14 competitors, he'll get the $100,000 grand prize, a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine and a position as contributing editor for a year, a complete sewing studio from Brother Sewing & Embroidery, a trip for two to London and the opportunity to create a signature nail color from luxury makeup brand Butter London.
“I can’t wait to see how it ends,” Auld teased in a phone interview. Of course, he couldn't tell us even though he knows since the show was filmed in 2017.
Produced by a company owned by Harvey Weinstein, who has been accused of numerous sexual abuse allegations, the show was put on hold. Weinstein's ex-wife, designer Georgina Chapman, remains one of the show's judges along with Isaac Mizrahi and judge/host Alyssa Milano.
Auld already has won two challenges — the first in the second week of the competition for a blue and orange graduation party outfit (the colors were determined by a tassel given to each designer, and Auld wasn’t happy about his dictated color scheme); and the second in week seven for his dry-erase coat, inspired by two deaf friends.
“It’s the craziest-looking coat ever, and I love it!” exclaimed guest judge Tony-nominated actor Andrew Rannells.
Since winning the second “Project Runway All Stars” in 2013, Auld has remained part of the “Project Runway” family.
“I couldn’t not be part of the final ‘Project Runway All Stars,’” he said. “I’ve helped with casting before and I’ve come back as a guest judge … We have winning designers from both coasts, Australia, Canada and The Netherlands, so in my own way, I’m representing the South, but I’m only one point of view.”
Auld, who moved to San Antonio in 2015 to be closer to family, described his fashion point of view as “a little street with a southern undertone, often playing with print and texture, and layering.”
Then, battling testicular cancer for the second time, he let fashion take a back seat to curating other designers’ looks and interior design for his boutique, Couleur + Blindé by Anthony Ryan. Now healthy, he’s doing more of his own fashion designs, but they are not mass produced.
“If they’re real popular, I might make the same look again,” said Auld. “It’s my take on ready-to-wear — fashion forward without breaking the bank … I’m just doing my thing.”
He said he's been somewhat inspired by working with the other designers he's competing against in the final “Project Runway All Stars” on Lifetime. This week, "Project Runway" returns to Bravo TV, where the show started in 2004. Auld competed on the original "Project Runway" in 2011, making it to the 10th episode before being booted.
With a laugh, he compared being on the show with being a part of a "small, dysfunctional family."
“Imagine being in a room full of people who love the same thing as you. Then, of course, you have the drama of competition," he said. “It was a lot of fun to reconnect with Seth Aaron (Henderson) and Anya (Ayoung-Chee), especially Anya."
Anya was one of several “Project Runway” friends Auld invited to participate in a show at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum several months after his big win six years ago. The show also included Casanova, Michael Drummond, Joshua McKinley and Laura Kathleen.
“It was fun to get into a bubble and not worry about what was going on the rest of the world,” he said of the current competition.
Aside from Auld, the remaining designers include Evan Biddell (Canada), Dmitry Sholokhov (Season 10 and All Stars 4), Michelle Lesniak (Season 11) and Irina Shabyeva (Season 6).
'Project Runway All Stars'
WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesdays
CHANNEL: Lifetime (cable channel 26)