This season of Project Runway is coming to a close, starting with Thursday’s finale Part 1. Four (yes, four) contestants brought three of their designs to the judges, including Ashley Tipton, whose plus-size models set a new standard on the runway.
Ashley Tipton’s designs have brought her to the top of the heap this season, and now, she’s part of the final four, along with Kelly Dempsey, Candice Cuoco, and Edmond Newton, brought back by Tim Gunn’s save this week. Tipton’s designs have been favorites with the judges, and her eye for designing for women who aren’t the conventional model size has endeared her to fans. In her runway show on Thursday, Tipton’s models were plus-size, which thrilled Twitter.
OMG I'm so ecstatic that Ashley gets to make a plus size collection YAY #ProjectRunway
— TheNiteOwl 🦉 (@jaxthevampire) October 30, 2015
— Molly McCaffrey (@MollyMcCaffrey) October 30, 2015
@ProjectRunway thanks to Project Runway send Ashley NYFW! She has Plus Size clothes. There are lots discrimination against plus size women
— Maria Claudia (@CGranovsky) October 30, 2015
Ashley's new look is stunning! And it's SO validating to see a model w/ proportions like mine dressed so sexy & sophisticated #ProjectRunway
— G.C. Kinsey (@gckinsey) October 30, 2015
The judges weren’t without their critiques of Ashley’s pieces. Zac Posen thought her fit needed work, and Nina Garcia and Tim Gunn felt she should be more strategic in using her flower crowns. Some of Ashley’s fans, while excited about her models and the idea of designing for plus-size women, were underwhelmed by her pieces.
— Angela (@JerseyGirl_76_) October 30, 2015
I wish Ashley's collection was more vibrant- pastels are so blah #ProjectRunway
— 🐝🏳️🌈 11 Gremlins in A Human Suit (@feralkiwi) October 30, 2015
— Louisiana Artist (@AlysiaStarnes) October 30, 2015
There was no elimination this week, just suggestions from the judges as to how the designers might improve things. Next week, however, only three designers will show at Fashion Week. If Ashley is the winner of Project Runway, she’ll be the first plus designer to go all the way. If she doesn’t, though, her runway show in this episode, imperfect as it might have been, was an important moment for fashion, women, and the modeling industry.