Auld wins again  on ‘Project Runway’

Anthony Ryan Auld had a lot to be thankful this Thanksgiving. The Baton Rouge designer is healthy, having survived testicular cancer, and he has won two of the four challenges on Lifetime TV’s “Project Runway: All Stars II.” The latest episode airs Thursday at 8 p.m. on Cox Cable Channel 26. It has a “big twist” that throws the designers for a loop. “It’s a fun episode,” said Auld.

His last win, which was a challenge inspired by photos submitted by “Project Runway” fans, came with an extra prize — a half-page spread in USA Today’s weekend edition that came out the Friday following the show.

“Oh my god,” said Auld. “I didn’t realize it was going to be so big! It was right next to the ‘Twilight’ ad! That’s like million-dollar ad space. It really got my story out there and that was the point of the whole challenge.”

Indeed, it was a challenge that proved emotional for the LSU graduate. Auld was inspired by a black-and-white photo whose headline he dubbed “Moving Forward,” which is what he did as he battled cancer. As he said during the show, “Myself and designing are what I relied on during chemo to keep me moving forward.”

“The photo was very graphic,” Auld explained during a weekly update phone call. “It looked like a bridge or a building. I loved the lines, the linear aspect of it. There was something about it I knew I could turn into my story … the lines all intersected into a fork in the road, kind of like my life, and you take one path and don’t look back.”

It was a story that also captured the imagination of judges Georgina Chapman, who commented on the balance of the design, and Carolyn Murphy and Isaac Mizrahi, who proclaimed, “We know the woman who wears this.”

In fact, everything Auld has sent down the runway in “All Stars” has been very wearable and very different from what he’s shown in the past. “I don’t know what happened,” he confessed, laughing. “I’m just thankful it did. My design aesthetic has changed a lot. All of a sudden it just clicked.”

Auld’s designs have caught the eyes of some very fashion-forward women who have enlisted him to create looks for them, only we can’t say who they are just yet.

And how about the rest of us mere mortals? Any chance we can soon purchase an Anthony Ryan design?

“It’s coming,” he promised. “This (‘Project Runway: All Stars II’) threw a big ole wrench in those plans.”