Woodward Academy grad Anna McCraney won Bravo’s “Fashion Show” thanks to retail-friendly clothing and high caliber craftsmanship.
Her creations will be sold in the retail market and she pockets $125,000.
She was the favorite fairly early on, the only contestant who never finished in the bottom two. She also won the weekly challenge twice. The public liked Anna, too, and gave her a commanding 56% of the vote, far more than the two more niche designers, Daniella (25%) and James Paul (19%).
“I’m thrilled,” she said on the show. “I’m so happy because I worked so hard for so long… I’ll always do fashion whether I have a million dollars or 20.”
Her high school art teacher Chris Greenway at Woodward sent me an email bursting with happiness.
“I am really proud of her for winning. She deserved and earned it. Anna was the best at art and design, craftsmanship, and knowledge of her craft’s history,” he wrote. “Her use of color “WOW”! I am so proud of her. Hard work paid off and the public really enjoyed her designs. The art department at Woodward has been pulling for her and supports her in her fashion career.”
McCraney, 30, now lives in New York City but grew up making clothing in high school she sold at stores in Little Five Points. Greenway recalls how her paintings in his classes were packed with “bold colors that reminded me of fabric.”
Over the years, she said she did plenty of ready-to-wear clothing, which prepared her well for this show, which focused on designs that people would actually buy.
The judges critiqued her final collection only for a lack of cohesiveness, not because they disliked the dresses. McCraney, in an interview earlier this week, said she had a hard time editing her creations down to ten. “It would have been more cohesive if I could have shown 20,” she said. [She knew she had won by the time I spoke with her Tuesday but couldn't tell me at the time.]
During the show, she stayed out of the drama that Reco, Daniella and Merlin, among others, generated. “It’s a talent-based competition and that was proven when Reco was eliminated,” she said, adding later that she was hurt by his anti-Anna on-camera comments she never heard until she saw the show.
“I don’t have the TV personality,” she said during the finale. “I’m not that person with the witty remarks.”
She also never felt comfortable in front of the cameras. “People tell you that you forget about it after awhile,” she said in her interview with me. “I was always aware a camera was there.”
Reco, on the other hand, tried out for “Project Runway” every year, she said. “He talked about not only wanting to be a designer but also being famous. That’s not something I’m necessarily interested in.”
“I thought her final collection was gorgeous,” said Keith, one of the contestants during the finale. “I love how she paid homage to all what she did during her time on the show.”
“She knocked off herself,” Merlin said.
“She learned so much. She was celebrating it. I got that,” said Haven, one of her closest friends on the show.
McCraney plans to put the $125,000 back into her business. “It will propel everything forward,” she said.
“I don’t regret anything,” she said near the end of the interview. “It was a great experience. I would totally do it all over again. I’m just glad I don’t have to!”
“The Fashion Show” is a blatant copycat of “Runway,” an attempt by Bravo to steal some thunder from the show it lost.
And while its ratings are not bad, “Fashion Show” pulled in less than a third of what “Runway” normally did in its final season on Bravo. It averaged 1.2 million viewers a week entering Thursday night’s finale.
Nonetheless, I presume Bravo will keep “Fashion Show” alive to counteract “Project Runway,” which is moving to Lifetime next month.