Posted Thursday, April, 5, 2018 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
Atlanta designer Anthony Williams took home the $100,000 prize in a super tight competition to win "Project Runway All Stars" Thursday night.
At a watch party he hosted in the main lobby of the W Hotel in Midtown, the crowd screamed in joy when host Alyssa Milano crowned him the winner.
The effervescent Anthony hugged and took pictures with his many fans - including his mom. And he convinced not just the two other local contestants - Edmond Newton (fifth place) and Ken Laurence (fourth place) - to show up, but the other two finalists Stanley Hudson and Fabio Costa showed up, too. Stanley came in from Los Angeles. Fabio flew in all the way from Brazil.
For the first time in "Project Runway" history, the final five were all men of color. And amazingly, three were from Atlanta.
The judges had a tough time picking the best collection during the finale that aired Thursday. All three designers brought their best to the runway and there was barely a negative comment from any of the judges - including actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. In the end, Anthony's brashness and dramatic final dress won them over.
Fabio, in an interview at the hotel after the show aired, said the judges deliberated behind closed doors for a torturous three-plus hours. What viewers saw was a mere sliver of what was actually said.
How close was it? Milano didn't bother naming a second and third place winner. Essentially, Fabio and Stanley tied for second.
"I didn't hear how they made decision but I think Anthony was deserving of the title," said Ken, who came in fourth. "He took evening wear to a new dimension... He did a lot of dresses the whole season. He did something different for his collection."
Fabio, who is prepping for Brazil Fashion Week later this month, said after seeing the collections on TV, he believed Anthony earned the victory. "It was the best out of all of us," he said. He felt that final dress Anthony showed made the difference, when the model turned and the skirt enveloped the whole runway. "That's the moments we live for," he said. "The fantasy. You wish you could be there and see that. They made the right choice."
Stanley, who works in the costuming department for ABC's "Black-ish," was just happy to redeem himself from his first trip on "Project Runway" when he felt he wasn't portrayed in the most positive light. "We all had our stories to tell. They were all distinct," he said in an interview. "I was extremely happy with what I did."
Sadly, after 16 regular seasons and six all-star seasons, the future of "Project Runway" is in doubt.
According to Variety, A&E Networks (which runs Lifetime) cited Harvey Weinstein's sexual harassment allegations as a reason to kill their deal that would have brought two more seasons of "Project Runway" to the network.
"Weinstein Co. had failed to operate a workplace within the bounds of the law, failed to notify A&E of potential legal claims, and failed to abide by A&E standards and practices," the company stated.
Oddly, Lifetime sat on this past season of "All Stars" for a year and a half. It was taped in the summer of 2016. And super awkwardly, Harvey Weinstein's wife Georgina Chapman is a judge on "All Stars."
I spoke with both Fabio and Stanley at the party and they hope that the Weinstein Co. sells the "Project Runway" assets to someone else, enabling the brand to stay alive. They would love to see the show move to VH1 (home to "RuPaul's Drag Race" and "America's Next Top Model") or back to Bravo but A&E is still interested in "Project Runway" - as long as it's not owned by the Weinstein Co.