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The Daily Dish Project Runway

Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir's 2022 Winter Olympics Outfits Will Look Familiar to Project Runway Fans (UPDATED)

See the Olympians-turned-commentators wear the winning looks from Project Runway Season 19's celebrity client challenge.

By Laura Rosenfeld
The Designers Are Tasked with Creating Unforgettable Looks for Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir

UPDATE (FEB. 22, 4:06 P.M.): Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir finally got the chance to wear the winning looks from their Project Runway Season 19 appearance while commentating on the pairs short program at the 2022 Winter Olympics on Friday, February 18. "We got dressed up today. Finally got to wear our [Project Runway] looks!" Tara said on Instagram while sharing Johnny's TikTok of the duo rocking their outfits.

How to Watch

Watch Project Runway on the Bravo App and on Peacock

Tara also thanked Project Runway Season 19 contestant Anna Yinan Zhou for her "beautiful design," tagging her ORAZ label in the post, while Johnny showed some love toward designer Bones Jones for creating his look in the collaboration.

As he previously teased, Johnny also wore another one of Anna's designs for the Closing Ceremony broadcast, which he showed off in a fun TikTok shared on Instagram featuring himself, Tara, and fellow play-by-play announcer Terry Gannon busting a move to close out the Winter Games.

The original story, first published on February 3, 2022, continues below.

Earlier this season of Bravo's Project Runway, the designers were tasked with creating a pair of looks for a truly iconic duo.

At the start of Season 19, Episode 5, which originally aired on November 11, Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski and two-time Olympian Johnny Weir appeared on the runway to introduce the designers' next challenge. In teams of two, the designers would need to create one look for Tara and one look for Johnny to wear for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The winning looks would have the honor of actually being worn by Tara and Johnny while commentating at this year's Winter Games, which kicks off on February 3 on NBC and Peacock.

As excited as the designers were to see Tara and Johnny, the skaters were perhaps even more thrilled to be a part of Project Runway this season. "It was such a dream come true. I have loved that show for years and was a big fan. So when I got the call, it was a no-brainer," Tara recalled during an interview with The Daily Dish over the phone last month. "And just to be part of the challenge and then actually, we're wearing the outfits for the pairs event, it was so much fun."

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Appearing on Project Runway this season was similarly a pinch-me moment for Johnny, who spoke to The Daily Dish over the phone in a separate interview in January. "Well, Project Runway is a show that has inspired me for a very long time. When they first started out, I just was glued to the TV every week with my friends, one of which was a skating costume designer, and we were all skaters. And just being able to celebrate young talent and people that maybe didn't have the correct circumstance to really make their fashion dreams come true, putting it all on the line, I always admired that about Project Runway. It gives young designers a chance," he shared. "And my feelings towards the show have never changed. And I was so excited and honored that they called and wanted Tara and I to not only be a part of the show, but to have the designers create looks for us for what we do and what we love to do at the Olympics."

After years of watching Project Runway on TV, Tara said that she could really feel the passion of all of the designers when she witnessed the competition firsthand. "I told Johnny afterwards, I was like, 'Experiencing it in person was just as emotional.' And you just realize, these designers, what they're giving up to be on the show and how hard they're working," she said. "And yeah, a gamut of emotions as we were part of the show that week."

During this "very magical couple of days of filming," as Johnny put it, he was eager to see what looks the designers would come up with for him and Tara to rock for the Olympics. "I always love seeing what people's perspectives [are] when it comes to Tara and I or figure skating or the Olympics," he said. "And it's always very eye-opening to me."

But as the looks came down the runway, Johnny said that he felt like some of the designers misunderstood the challenge, particularly when it came to designing for him. "Overall, I think there were more low points than high, to be fair, you know, completely critically speaking. My look and the way I present myself is hard for me to explain. I think it's a little bit avant-garde. It's a little bit playful. But ultimately, what I end up wearing every day and when I go on television in particular, it's my armor. It is the piece of my day that makes me happiest is putting my clothes on. And I think the designers had a lot of fun but also a lot of difficulty with me because I don't fit into a box," he explained. "I mean, I'll wear anything that's beautiful. It doesn't matter if it's womenswear, menswear, elephantwear, I'll wear it if it's beautiful. And I think that sometimes having a client like me or a person like me is a nice challenge for a young designer, just because you really can go anywhere with me and I'll go there with you. But I think some of the designers got bogged down a little bit in their idea of a figure skater, not necessarily a figure skating analyst that entertains millions of people on television."

Johnny said that preconceived notions about figure skating costumes may have also factored in to how the designers approached this challenge. "Costumes were always a big, integral part of my career as an athlete. But I can say that I probably wouldn't wear any of my costumes in real life. They were very specifically for the story I was trying to tell on the ice," he said. "And that's something that a lot of fashion people will kind of talk down about figure skating costumes about, is that, you know, with all the rhinestones and the stretch fabrics and things like that, that they can get a little bit tacky. But we aren't wearing these things down the street. These are things that help us tell our story. It's the same as a stage performer not necessarily wanting to wear their Cats costume down the street."

Tara also felt like this "was a very hard challenge" for the designers. "I think that what we wear on television is not cookie cutter, and it's not easy to nail," she said. "And I feel that all of the teams did such a great job that it was really difficult for us to decide. I just remember being on that stage and going through that week with these designers, I was like, I'm just gonna want to wear all of yours. Like, this is too hard to pick. Even though, obviously, coming from a judged sport, as commentators we have to really give our honest opinions — which we did, but it was difficult. My heart got attached to all the designers."

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Teamwork was also essential to this challenge, which is something that, after years of working together, Tara and Johnny know all about. And though some of the Project Runway teams were more successful than others, for Tara and Johnny, becoming partners was a seamless transition. "You know, I think there was something that just naturally clicked for the two of us, which I'm grateful for. So it's not like a lot of work went into molding this friendship or the chemistry that we have. There was something of an immediate connection," Tara recalled. "We knew of each other in the skating world, but we were never, you know, close friends or chatted on the phone before we started working together. And it just seemed from the moment we met, that there was this ease and natural friendship that it felt like he was like a soul mate, that we were just meant to go on this journey together."

With each of them having trained in an individual sport for most of their lives, forming a partnership wasn't necessarily going to be easy, Johnny noted. "Well, Tara and I both come from a very cutthroat world of figure skating, and it's not necessarily normal for people from our world to trust easily and to form partnerships easily because it is you alone on that ice trying to beat everyone else. So it's very competitive, it's very high stakes, and you're always training and always busy. So forming friendships and partnerships isn't something that necessarily comes naturally to us," he said. "But for Tara and I, we're kind of an anomaly. It just happened so, so organically, and we fell in love with each other almost instantly when we started working together. And we are very, very lucky."

But even when you don't see eye to eye with your teammate, as we witnessed on Project Runway, that can still be beneficial to the partnership, according to Johnny, who added that, in addition to commentating, he and Tara also have business ventures together. "Two very good friends can still have very different opinions about things and ways of approaching things. Where, you know, Tara is a very aggressive Olympic champion, I'm a little bit more passive and a little bit more let the water flow kind of person. So you have to be open, even if you are friends with somebody, you have to be open to their process and open to their opinions, their ideas, and the way that they see something unfolding. Because if you're completely closed off and you don't want to hear criticisms, you don't want to hear a different opinion, then you stop yourself from growing," Johnny shared. "And Tara has helped me, and I hope I've helped her in many ways in dealing with our jobs and entertaining millions of people and doing it effectively. And I'm so happy that I have the trust for Tara and that she has it for me, that we're able to rely on each other 100 percent when we're on live television. And even though it's not necessarily a natural thing for us, we've learned to really rely on each other in so many ways in a partnership realm that goes far beyond friendship. People can have chemistry and not be able to work together, but we've managed to figure out how both relationships can work for us. And that's by being open and understanding who you're working with."

And when you have to make an important decision about who's in and who's out on Project Runway, it can be comforting to do it with your bestie by your side, as Tara found. "We go on all these adventures together outside of just our day jobs of being broadcasters and analysts. And when we get to experience opportunities like this, we enjoy it so much, and the show is just so much fun to film," Tara said of her time as a guest judge on Project Runway. "We were one of the many moving parts in picking the final looks. But obviously, we were sitting next to three esteemed judges, which, you know, it's so fun to hear their take and their look at fashion. And it was just a really cool, eye-opening experience. And you just realize what goes into these looks that we all wear."

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Tara said that she was also impressed by the way judges Brandon Maxwell, Nina Garcia, and Elaine Welteroth delivered feedback to the contestants. "They have a great way of giving constructive criticism while still being the designers' supporters, and giving them confidence and giving them that freedom to risk and try new things, or stick to who they are as designers. I was fascinated just sitting there listening to their thoughts on the looks, things that I would never think of," Tara said. "And then watching the show over the season, you realize the three of them, the support that they're giving and the constructive criticism that they're giving is making all the difference in the end. And these designers are coming into a competition and leaving the best versions of themselves."

Though Johnny is absolutely a fashion fan, he noted that it was difficult to actually judge the designs. "It was definitely challenging because coming in as a figure skater, as an athlete, as an Olympian, there are certain things that I'm really qualified to critique and talk to. But as a fashion person, I don't know how to sew. I don't truly understand the toil [of] the process of creating these beautiful garments that I love to wear. I don't necessarily understand all of the technical ins and outs of that," he said. "But as somebody who is quite well-known for the things I put on my body, I have quite a good eye, and I know what works for me."

Knowing that someone would be eliminated was also challenging to grapple with, according to Johnny. "To judge somebody and to know that you are toying with people's dreams is a hard thing to do. But also coming from a world of competition, I know that not everybody can win. And not everybody at this level, whether it's the Olympics or the highest heights of fashion, gets a medal of participation," he said. "You have to give it your all and do your best in that moment, or you can get voted off the island. And I definitely felt a lot of pressure being on the judging panel. But also, we were given a task and we had to do it."

Bones Jones and Anna Yinan Zhou ultimately wowed the judges with their pair of glittering, icy looks, which Tara said she and Johnny "immediately" knew would be the winner "because it was just absolutely stunning." "I think they hit our personalities. And, you know, it's hard. They weren't just designing for one person or one look; they had to nail Johnny's personality, they had to nail mine, they had to figure out what would look good on our body types," Tara said. "And I think that Anna and Bones, that's what they did so well, not only the fit but also the look. I thought my dress was so elegant and glamorous and very in tune with what we try to bring to the skating broadcasts since skating is all about the sparkle and the shine. And I loved [Anna's] take on it. And Johnny's had the Johnny flair, which is a must. So it was definitely an easy decision when that walked down the runway."

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Johnny also said that Bones and Anna's looks were the most successful because they really hit everything the challenge asked for. "Bones and Anna won because they were able to put together a cohesive look that actually represents Tara and I as commentators," he explained.

Now Tara and Johnny are getting ready to wear the winning looks for the 2022 Winter Olympics. "We're so pumped. We filmed this a while ago, and we just got our looks and we're altering them a little bit to fit us since they were on the models," Tara said. "We're excited to debut it on the Olympic Games."

Aside from making some tweaks to ensure the dress fits properly, Tara said that she'll stay true to Anna's original design when she wears the garment for the Olympics. "I really wanted to keep the design as close to what Anna made as possible, just because, you know, I love her vision and I want to make sure that she's also happy with the look," she said.

Johnny shared that some alterations also had to be made to Bones' design, which he said he is "very honored" to be wearing for the Winter Olympics. "So, I will say, though, I do not fit into the pants that Bones [laughs] created for the model. I have a skater's thighs and a skater's butt, and those don't fit into those skinny little things," Johnny said. "So I've had to change out the pant. But I'm very excited to represent Bones."

We also may see Johnny and Tara wear another one of Anna's looks for the Winter Olympics. "So I was on [the Instagram account] Not Just A Label, and I saw Anna's label, ORAZ, and I didn't put two and two together and realize that it was her label. But I fell in love with a jacket, and I went to the Instagram page of the company and realized it was Anna," Johnny said. "So I wrote her and said, 'Oh my god, I love this jacket. I need it for Beijing.' And she made me custom size and everything, kind of in a week. So not only am I representing Bones at the Olympics, but I'll also be representing Anna as well."

With Beijing serving as the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics, showcasing the designs of Anna, who is originally from Shanghai, will be especially meaningful, according to Johnny, who said, "Having the Olympics coming to us from China and Anna being a Chinese designer, I wanted to give her a moment to shine."

This won't be the first time Johnny has worn a Project Runway designer at the Olympics. He previously donned a white Brandon Maxwell jacket during the Closing Ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics. "Brandon Maxwell's name really became familiar to me through Lady Gaga and his work with her. And I was a fan of everything that he did," Johnny said. "I was going through the racks at Bergdorf Goodman, and there was just the most beautiful blazer. And I didn't realize it was one of Brandon's until I was trying it on, and [laughs] when luckily it fit, I just knew I had to have it. Because I love supporting young designers, and Brandon has such a keen and beautiful eye that just really fits with my aesthetic."

Not only will Tara and Johnny's Winter Olympics looks surely be stunning, but we can also expect the figure skating to be next level, according to the commentators. "It is going to be unlike an Olympics we've ever seen. Obviously, due to the state of the world at the moment, we're dealing with an unprecedented situation. We will, of course, be doing our very best to bring these stories to America and to help people understand what they're watching and enjoy what they're watching and tell the stories of the skaters who so rarely have the opportunity to speak for themselves," Johnny said. "I am so looking forward to the skating itself, just because the level is unlike anything I've ever seen before."

In particular, Johnny said that he is looking forward to seeing Russia's Kamila Valieva skate in the women's event. She already has high praise from Johnny, who called her "the best skater I've ever seen in my life." "I'm so excited to see what she does in the competition," he said.

Tara is also eager to see women's figure skating, although she admitted that she may be "a little biased" since she won a gold medal in that event at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. "What we saw four years ago at the Winter Olympics in the women's event I thought was, you know, incredible. We were seeing very difficult elements, difficult triple triples. But since then, in a matter of four years, the entire women's figure skating event has been revolutionized, especially by the Russian women," Tara explained. "And now, they're doing quads, as many as the men are doing. It's absolutely exhilarating, and I'm in awe of it. It's really exciting to see where women's figure skating has gone. And there might be a Russian sweep. But the competition is at a level that I've never seen. So I'm sure any sports fan that will be tuning in will hopefully be in awe of what these young women are capable of."

Of course, the men's event will be just as thrilling, according to Tara, especially with American skater Nathan Chen, who won a bronze in the team event at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics. "Obviously a heavy gold medal favorite, and if you remember four years ago, he came ever so close to winning. He won the free skate but had a disastrous short program. So it took him out of the overall results of even having a chance at winning. So he, in the last four years, has dominated the sport, has won every single event, except one, and is coming in as the one to win. He's had that past experience at an Olympic Games, and I'm sure that, you know, when you step on Olympic ice — I mean, I know this — the pressure is unlike any other."

But as Nathan attempts to finally win that gold, Tara said that he's got some "tough competition." "Yuzuru Hanyu, he's a Japanese two-time Olympic gold medalist and legend. And he's coming back trying to be the first man to land a quad axel, which is just an insane technical feat," she said. "So there's gonna be lots of excitement this Olympics in the figure skating world."

That excitement is definitely going to be in the booth as well. "Of course, having fun with Tara and [fellow NBC Sports commentator] Terry Gannon is something that I always look forward to. And getting dressed up and making a full show of the thing," Johnny said. "Because the Olympics are what I lived my life for, and the fact that I get to bring a little bit of that excitement and exuberance to America is what I'm so excited for."

And Tara is ready to add new memories to her already-iconic Olympics career. "We've been doing this almost 10 years now together, and it's a family and I couldn't imagine not having both of them by my side," she said of Johnny and Terry. "I love that I am a commentator and analyst for figure skating and it's still a part of my world. The bonus is that I get to do it with my best friend. So that doesn't come around every day [laughs]. And I definitely appreciate that. And I'm grateful that these experiences, not only do I love because of figure skating, but to do it with Johnny by my side is just the cherry on top."

The Winter Olympics kick off on February 3 on NBC and Peacock.

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