'Project Runway': Paralympian Tatyana McFadden thanks Nancy Volpe for inclusive design, fans want her in finale
Nancy won her first challenge this week by designing a very adaptive velcro outfit for Tatyana
Nancy Volpe-Beringer has proven her mettle as a designer in the last few weeks of 'Project Runway' and fans are celebrating her first win in today's episode. This week, the contestants were tasked with the challenge of designing for athletes and it was a tough one because they had to get everything up and running within a day.
Nancy's client, Tayana McFadden, a Russian-American Paralympic athlete, was born with Spina Bifida, a spinal cord defect that paralyzed her from the waist down. In her green-room interview, she says it's hard to find dresses for her because of her broad body type and also because of the wheelchair she has to use. When Nancy asked about her preferences with regard to the dress, she said she'd like a train, something that's a bit "extra."
Nancy immediately knew what she was making for her. She understood that for someone like Tatyana it's essential that the fashion is also functional and that she is able to get in and out of it with ease. As she made her sketch, Nancy told Tatyana what she had envisioned - a corset, skirt and a trail. The athlete was happy to hear it and you could see it on her face.
The 64-year-old is also someone who recognizes a client's tastes and makes enough and more effort to accommodate them in her design. This time, she was wary of the train that Tatyana had asked for because she didn't it to get caught up in the wheels of her chair while she twirled on the runway. But, it was all good and went smoothly. Nancy was able to make both Tatyana and judges happy with her finished product.
"I absolutely love it. Like, I can physically wear it, which is kind of awesome because I have never had that before. We made everything adaptable. So, this seam right here is actually velcro so I can put it on and off myself," Tatyana explained and added it has been designed in a way that people looking at her would see the dress more and less of the wheelchair.
The judges - Elaine Welteroth, Brandon Maxwell, Nina Garcia, Karlie Kloss - and guest judge Lindsey Vonn, former alpine ski racer, were all in awe of her design and walked on to the runway to take a close look at it. "When I see a design that has fashion and function and then you added the fantasy. That for me is the winning combination," Nina pointed out.
Meanwhile, Tatyana has shared on Twitter how dreamy the experience was and congratulated Nancy for the win. "Wow! I felt like this was all a dream! Thank you @ProjectRunway for the amazing experience. I’ve always love fashion and it allows me to express myself however I want to. Huge congratulations to #nancyvolpeberinger for creating such an inclusive design and changing fashion(sic)," she wrote.
Fans are thrilled about Nancy's win and have picked her for their lists of top competitors for the title.
"The final 3 I want: Nancy, Geoffrey, Brittany. The final 3 I think I'll get: Victoria, Sergio, Brittany. Apologies to Marquize; some great hits, but too many misses. #projectrunway," a fan shared, while another wrote: "I know one thing, Nancy deserves to be in the top 4! #ProjectRunway." "My top three on #Projectrunway Nancy, Sergio and Brittany. @ninagarcia @karliekloss @nancyvberinger @ProjectRunway Nancy's the winner," a viewer expressed.
"Final 4 will be Marquise, Brittany, Nancy and Geoffrey #ProjectRunway," another tweeted. "I think top 4 will be Geoffrey, Marques, Sergio, and Brittany. I don’t necessarily like all of them, but just my thoughts based on consistency and judges' feedback. #ProjectRunway," a user posted.
Catch all-new episodes of 'Project Runway' on Bravo every Thursday, 8/9 c.