Gown inspired by trip to Paris earns Auld fifth win, finale spot

Photo by DAVID M. RUSSELL/AETN -- 'Project Runway: All Stars' designers' mentor Joanna Coles, in the red dress, introduces Valentino creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, left, to designers, on the right from left, Joshua McKinley, Anthony Ryan Auld, Uli Herzner and Emilio Sosa during their whirlwind trip to Paris.
Photo by DAVID M. RUSSELL/AETN -- 'Project Runway: All Stars' designers' mentor Joanna Coles, in the red dress, introduces Valentino creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, left, to designers, on the right from left, Joshua McKinley, Anthony Ryan Auld, Uli Herzner and Emilio Sosa during their whirlwind trip to Paris.

A whirlwind, 48-hour trip to Paris that included a visit to the House of Valentino and shopping for fabric at Jensens & Jensens proved the perfect inspiration for Baton Rouge native Anthony Ryan Auld on the Jan. 10 episode of Lifetime TV’s “Project Runway: All Stars II.” He won his fifth challenge of the season with his couture-inspired gown.

“It was a fun challenge,” said Auld in his weekly update with The Advocate. “I studied there (in 2010 at the Paris American Academy) for three months when I won the Fashion Group International Dallas Career & Design Competition. Just to be back was fun, but I did more in that 48 hours than anything I’ve ever done in my fashion career. It was very tiring … It took a lot out of us.”

Not only did Auld and fellow designers Uli Herzner, Joshua McKinley and Emilio Sosa get a tour of Valentino with creative directors Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli but they attended Valentino’s runway show and wrap party. Knowing the paparazzi would be out in full force for these two events, “Project Runway: All Stars II” sent former participating designers Kayne Gillaspie and Peach Car as “decoys.”

“It was a ‘Mission Impossible’ moment,” said Auld with a laugh. “I was sitting next to Nikki Hilton at the after party; I got to talk more with Maria and Pier. I mean, who’s gonna pass that up?”

Once the party was over, Auld and company were back on a plane headed for the Big Apple. It was the only sleep they got except for the flight to Paris. Back in New York City, they changed clothes and headed for the workroom.

“I was starting to get sick from lack of rest,” said Auld, who by the time designers’ mentor Joanna Coles got around to visit with him, had thrown the dress he was designing on the floor and started over. “I looked at her and said, ‘Don’t panic. The dress simply wasn’t working.’ … my gut was telling me it just wasn’t going to work. Once I decided on what I was going to do, I went to town.”

“She looks elegant,” judge Georgina Chapman said. “I couldn’t tell where the lining starts and stops.”

“There is no lining,” Auld answered.

“Brilliant!” Chapman exclaimed.

“The silhouette is precious,” judge Isaac Mizrahi said. “It’s so quiet and that’s a scandal.”

“It’s sexy in a very new way,” returning guest judge Cynthia Rowley added. “It’s really exciting.

“He’s really kept Anthony Ryan in this (design) yet given us something so effortless, so elegant.”

“The fabric did the work for us (Auld and Sosa),” explained Auld, adding that the design also reflected the “dark” mood he was in at the time. “I wanted to keep my design simple, sleek. I think that’s where Uli and Josh went wrong.”

Herzner and McKinley finished in the bottom, a kind of tie that was broken when they had to deconstruct and remake their dresses on the runway. In the end, McKinley was eliminated. That leaves Auld, Herzner and Sosa battling it out in the “Project Runway: All Stars II” finale, which airs at 8 p.m. Thursday on Lifetime TV.

There is also a viewing party downtown at the Capitol Park State Museum, 660 N. Fourth St., that is open to the general public. The evening gets under way at 7 p.m. with a runway show featuring Auld’s and McKinley’s 2013 fall/winter collections.