• How to Break into Fashion: VH1’s Single Ladies Stylist and Designer Anthony L. Williams

    Happy Friday, Bombshells!
    Today I have the sincere pleasure of offering you a glimpse behind the Single Ladies scenes with resident stylist and designer Anthony L. Williams:

    The Birmingham, Alabama native first sprang onto the public radar thanks to his bubbly personality and skillful designs on season 7 of Project Runway:

    Though he didn’t win the ultimate prize, the producers of Single Ladies were so impressed with his final collection they tapped him to dress and create chic silhouettes for the show’s star , Val, played by Stacey Dash.

    He sat down with us recently to talk about how he got his start in the game and how you, too, can achieve your stylish dreams.

    While Anthony’s day job is full of glitz of glamour, he didn’t grow up amongst lots of wealth or gorgeous things. He said, “If there was any ghetto, I lived there. Where I grew up, it seemed there wasn’t a lot of beauty so I had to create it and that’s how I got my start.”

    After eventually attending the University of Alabama, his love for beauty and fashion landed him at Neiman Marcus, where he worked the sales floor. He said, “I started at the bottom in accessories, then I moved to handbags, and then to the dress collections.” A well meaning friend felt Anthony had a gift, so submitted his information to the producers of Project Runway. He explains, “She gave me the application. I filled it out, sent it in, and went through the process.”

    In addition to his hilarious one liners, Williams charmed America–and the producers of Single Ladies–with his final collection, which overflowed with sequined pants, delectable cocktails with origami folds, and paillette peppered mini dresses.

    He ultimately brought his singular flair to Val, one of the main protagonists on Single Ladies. Williams explains, “To create Stacey Dash’s look, I had to really zero in on what the directors and the producers were trying to do. I read the script to find out what exactly was needed. We didn’t have a huge budget, so we went for a lot of vintage and revamping.”

    So how does one recreate Val’s signature style? He says, “The fit is what makes most of her looks. I don’t care what stylist you’re dealing with. You have to have the baddest seamstress in the land to make it make sense.” For Val’s super popular colorblocked look, he paired a $259 Jil Sander top from Jeffrey’s with a skirt he fashioned out of Carolina Herrera fabric. Stacey added her own pop with blue Christian Louboutin peep toe pumps:

    Though her look is pricey, he says, “It’s really just a t-shirt in a stretch knit in a bright color, a pencil skirt, and a molded belt at the waist. Because of the color, the quality of the fabric, and the fit, it looks amazing. But fit is the most important. High waisted works a lot better than low rise. Especially if you want to have the illusion of a small waist.

    So what else does one need to achieve a ‘Val’ essence? He says, “The fit makes the fashion. We make sure Val is fitted with the proper undergarments–Tumi underwear and the proper bras–so that there are no visible lines. The worst thing is to have a beautiful garment destroyed by a bra strap or visible panty line! Next, I fit her in lots of pencil skirts because they work for her. It’s also important to know what works for your skin tone. Bright, beautiful colors are really in.”

    ” Lastly, you don’t need a pair of Christian Louboutins to look fierce! Stay in your lane and merge when necessary. If you can’t afford Christian Louboutins: don’t buy them. There’s nothing worse than having Christian Louboutins and a cheap outfit. Don’t buy a knockoff. Just walk away. There have been legends in fashion who looked spectacular long before Louboutins were created.” Preach, now!

    And for those who want to be a stylist like him one day, he offers this pointed advice: “Don’t always run to celebrities. It’s the cheapest form of prostitution I’ve ever seen! The reality of it is, celebrities do not pay. Don’t run after titles; search instead for people who celebrate your craft and who you are. If they respect you, they will pay you.”

    In closing, he adds, “Being a lady and a gentleman never goes out of style. Be polite. If you want to go anywhere in life, get you some manners and you can be anything you want to be.” Well said!
    Read more about Anthony on his website www.anthonylwilliams.com and follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/sewAnthony.
    See him talk more about his beginnings in this Vh1 clip:

    And check out his fashion breakdowns every week on Vh1.com.
    What do you think of our latest Breaking into Fashion subject?
    Pictures courtesy of Vh1 & Getty


    Claire Sulmers is the publisher and founder of Fashion Bomb Daily, the #43 most influential style magazine in the world.

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