You may remember Anthony L. Williams from Season 7 of Project Runway, the Southern charmer, who hailed from Birmingham, Alabama, and cut his teeth in the fashion business as a sales clerk at Neiman Marcus. He was notorious for his one-liners, tailored blazers and sociable manner, which is why it’s no surprise that he landed square in his sockless oxfords on the set of the new VH1 hit series Single Ladies. As Stacey Dash’s wardrobe stylist, Williams leaves fashionistas drooling each week. That backless Chloé jumpsuit, the pink top and green skirt and belt, which Williams designed, and the pink sequin sparkler has got @sewAnthony blowing up after every episode with fans asking the who, what and wear of Dash’s looks. We caught up with Williams to find out his fashion philosophy and what we can expect from tonight’s season finale.
How did Single Ladies come about?
This is a true example of “whatever is for you, is for you.” When the producers initially called me, they only wanted me to make high fashion pieces for those special moments in the show but things change, people leave, people shift, people get fired and I was brought on full time to do all of Stacey Dash’s wardrobe. And that changed my life.
How is it working with Stacey?
What worked for me and Stacey is that we weren’t friends. I never felt like I had to stay within her comfort zone, I always challenged her to let me be the designer and the stylist and she be the actress. One thing I would always tell her is, “You look beautiful, so act pretty.” And when I would tell her that, it’s a certain little walk she does, a little prissiness that comes out. You can tell when she loves her look, like in the pink dress, and when she was in the green skirt with the pink top, you can tell she’s really feeling herself.
You seem to have a great rapport because the looks you’ve created for her have been perfect for her character and just simply to die for.
Thank you. Oscar de la Renta said, "Men either dress the woman they want to be or the woman they want to be with." And I most definitely try to do things for her, and I think about how if I were a woman, how would I dress? Like everyday I wear the same exact charm bracelet. And if you notice, her character wears a charm bracelet. I also think if you’re a woman after a certain age, someone special or significant has given you some jewelry and you usually want to wear that everyday.
Where do you draw inspiration for the character?
I have been turning nothing into something for so long, that I am prepared to do it for my entire life. You can’t go to Neiman Marcus and write the biggest check for everything, that’s when the creativity needs to happen. That’s why I was very influenced by vintage, but more important, I was influenced by the character Val. People think that Stacey dresses like that but believe it or not she doesn’t. Stacey is a little more edgy in her dress and Val is more lady-like, very feminine. If I get to come back for Season 2, I think we can take a little of that sweetness away. There’s some hardness that can still come out on screen.
Blogs are highlighting your looks and your webisodes on VH1.com The Fashion Breakdown also show some of your favorites. Is there a look you’re most proud of?
There’s a scene on tonight’s episode where Stacey walks into a casino, she's wearing this ostrich feather dress that I worked on and judging from the previews I think it’s going to knock it all out the box.
So, you’re making all these beautiful clothes, when can we expect a line?
Financially, it’s not so easy. And it’s funny when the emails start coming in, people say, "you do a great job styling, but I want to know about this, this and this, this and this are usually pieces I made for her on the show. I would love to come out with a line of something but financially getting investors is pretty difficult. And the reality of it is, when you go on a show like Project Runway, the first thing that people ask is "When is your line coming out?" But the reality of it is, it’s not so easy after the show. And although I love some of the things I’ve put on Stacey, and I know a lot of women of all shapes and sizes could wear, it’s a whole lot different than my prayers to God’s ears to some rack in Neiman’s.
(Photo: Anthony L. Williams)