Fashion Designer Anthony L. Williams Talks Stacey Dash's Style, 'Single Ladies' & Dead Fashion Trends
So you're watching VH1's latest drama, Single Ladies, and Stacey Dash fabulously struts across your screen in a breathtaking and amazingly appealing outfit that you're dying to have. Well, say hello to fashion designer and stylist Anthony L. Williams because he's the man behind Val's (Stacey Dash's character) impeccable style and sophisticated image on the new, and arguably popular show. Entering into our radar since the seventh season of Project Runway, the Atlanta resident has stolen hearts with his sense of humor, blunt honesty and infectious charisma. VIBE Vixen caught up with the funny fashion man to see what it's like working with Miss Dash every day. He weighed in on his least favorite trends (thank you, Kim K!), his hope for Val in future episodes and why he's not your average designer.
VIBE Vixen: How did you get the styling gig with Single Ladies?
AW: I was on season 7 of Project Runway and the producer somehow saw my clothes at Fashion Week. From that point, they liked our aesthetic, and I think they wanted to primarily use an Atlanta-based designer. So, I came on to the pilot just giving Stacy Dash a special dress or one of the ladies something special, but I primarily just focused on Stacy. So, in the pilot, the black dress that she wears to her party with the exaggerated shoulders and plunging v-neck, I actually made that dress and the blue dress when Quinn comes back and they get intimate on her little chaise. That’s what I came in doing for the pilot, just making clothes for those high fashion moments they wanted for her character. So when the show came on, they were like, 'Anthony we would like to bring you on full-time to dress the character of Stacy Dash.' We really worked harmoniously together, and I didn’t know what I was getting myself into because to style a woman every day is totally different than styling a woman for a show. There’s an education and a respectability that needs to be brought back to styling because it’s not easy. I thank God for Stacy and another director; they gave me movies to watch because it’s not enough to have the eye. I could have the eye all day long, but I need to respect and maintain the integrity of clothes that are seen on television.
What specifically would be hard about styling every day?
Styling her was every day was easy, it’s just styling for television that’s hard. In television there are certain rules and guidelines that you have to follow. There are certain things that don’t look good on television. There’s not a lot of white. You can’t wear a lot of prints, not a lot of stripes are shown on television and graphic tees. So, you have to read to the script and go through the script with what they write. I, myself as well as my assistant, would go through the script, and we would dissect certain things. For example, if the script says, 'As Quinn was unzipping the dress on her back,' not only does she have to wear a dress but the zipper has to be long enough just in case he has to say something. The zipper has to fit the length of the dialogue. Smalls things like that that you wouldn’t think about.
How does Stacy Dash’s style differ from her character, Val?
They’re very different, very different. I think Val takes more risks in her character than Stacy. Val takes more risks because she’s a fashion designer; she’s going to have that melting pot of wardrobe. She’s a founding board of her costumers to figure out what they should wear. Stacy Dash and Val are concerned about the fit of the garment, but I think Stacy Dash is a little more at ease, a little more relaxed. I think Val’s wardrobe has some ease to it, but it’s clear that she puts effort into what she wears.
What would you say is the most “liked” outfit that you put her in on TV?
It hasn’t been shown on television yet, but there’s a pink Jil Sanders top, [and] it is the brightest pink that you’ve seen in your life. It’s a pink stretch mesh, crew neck top. We have it paired with a green silk, form-fitted skirt with a bow in the front; she looked like a little Barbie doll. And we put her in these pretty, blue suede Louboutins because color blocking is really in now. You can tell when she looks good because she has this walk. I enjoyed seeing that look on her!
What celebrities, other than Stacy Dash, would you want to style for?
A celebrity that I always wanted to work with was Jennifer Hudson. I think people keep dressing her persona. But I don’t think, she is necessarily being dressed. I think people are dressing the new Jennifer Hudson that lost the weight and before that she was the girl that just got married and had the baby, before that she was the girl from Dreamgirls, and we’ve seen her look go through many different changes. If I were her stylist, I would go for what she likes. I would identify with her personality and character. I always tell people that you don’t know how good you look until you know how good you could look, and I think she could look a little better. Like that dress at the Oscars. I don’t want to seem like I’m bashing her, but that did not look like a Versace dress.
What are you looking forward to from Val’s character? You already know what’s going to happen this season, but how do you want Val’s character to further develop and evolve?
I want her to find true love, because I guess I am an advocate for love. And I want her to continue to evolve as a designer. I think that, in her character and the drama on the show, she’s saying that she is strong, but we’re still seeing her lean towards men. It would be nice to see her working a little more in her shop. You say that you’re a powerful woman, and you say that you’re a strong woman, let me see you assert your power and your strength. You know, she dresses the part, she looks the part, but I think that a great deal of her character is still focused on the breakup with Quinn, another part is focused on helping her girlfriends, but I think we can see her strength [in her work]. Like, you own this boutique, so what’s next? Let me see a line of your dresses come out. Let me see all of these different things that will show your strength. I think we attract whatever we are in our life. The reason why Val is attracting confusion is because she’s in a very confused state. Is she completely out of love with Quinn? No, it’s still very fresh, so right now you’re in that vulnerable state where you just take whatever. But once she becomes strong and the esteem of herself is raised to the level it needs to be, I think she’ll attract the man who can appreciate that accordingly.
I agree. And while you’re talking about what’s next for her, that brings me to you. What’s next for you and any projects that you may be working on?
I’m always asked that question ‘cause in Atlanta, this is the home of making clothes and show it at the local venue and have a fashion show, and I don’t do that. I thank God that I have a great team around me. I’m more concerned about the business of what I do. To be honest, I’m not working on a clothing line to come out, and I am not interested in doing a fashion show or anything like that. I like working, and I’m glad that I work. I think it comes down to me being a man of quantity or quality, and I am most definitely a man of quality. I don’t know what’s next for me. I did make some things for [Stacey Dash] on the show, but I don’t want to lose my hand at my craft because I truly am a designer and I enjoy what I do. But I would love to have my own show helping people with fashion or just a reality show about my life. I think that there are enough shows on television celebrating broken marriages, buffoonery and bullies that are just dressed up glamorously, but they need a real reality show. I hope Lifetime reads this, since I’m already on their team [laughs]! But that’s what I want to do. I want to raise the level of education and awareness about being a stylist, about being a fashion designer.
And now let's talk all about trends! What are you loving and loathing right now?
One thing I would have to say is that a lot of people are the exaggerated jackets. They’re very short in the back but are kinda cut in the front and they have all these layers to them. I really like that because it gives a person the opportunity to cover up their midsection, but if it’s shorter in the back then you can kind of show your body, you know, if you got a little booty or a little thigh [laughs]. I like the berry colors. I think any time we’re transitioning [between seasons], it's berry colors. I really like fuchsia and purple and blueberry [colors], because those colors typically look good on most women. We’re also coming out of a short phase. For the longest, everything has been really, really, really, really short lately, and I’m glad that we’re going into a phase where things may be getting a little more fitted but we’re getting some length.
Yeah, I’ve definitely noticed.
Yes, I like the longer skirt, and more importantly, I’m enjoying pants right now. I’m really enjoying the palazzo pants that are making a comeback. Not everyone can wear them, and you cannot wear a cheap palazzo pant. It’s just not going to read well, but if you partner that with a nice fitted top, it really can be appreciated. And one thing I’m really over: belting everything. Thank you, Kim Kardashian for once again adding the exposure of that trend [laughs], but you know what? Let’s just wrap that up! At some point, people just find a place on their body above their waste to put the belt. It can be up under their arms, under their nipples. You have to find a happy medium! The rule is to find the smallest part of your waist and put the belt there. [laughs].
[Laughs] So you think we should just be done?
This is how I feel [laughs]: If every time you feel incomplete unless you have the belt around your waist, you have become co-dependent upon the belt and it is no longer your friend, it is your enemy and you need to acknowledge it accordingly. I like tiny belts, but if you got this big, leather belt wrapped around your waist and you’re looking like you possibly just won a wrestling match, that’s a problem for Anthony [laughs]! All trends are not your friends!