Project Runway (2004– )

TV Series  -   -  Game-Show | Reality-TV
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Heidi Klum hosts a reality series where aspiring fashion designers compete for a chance to break into the industry. Each week, a designer is eliminated from the competition after exhibiting their work in front of a judges' panel.

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Cast

Series cast summary:
...
 Himself - Mentor / ... (171 episodes, 2004-2014)
...
 Herself - Host / ... (170 episodes, 2004-2014)
...
 Herself - Judge (153 episodes, 2004-2014)
...
 Himself - Judge / ... (121 episodes, 2004-2013)
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Storyline

Heidi Klum hosts a reality series where aspiring fashion designers compete for a chance to break into the industry. Each week, a designer is eliminated from the competition after exhibiting their work in front of a judges' panel.

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(Season 3): Everyone's on pin & needles See more »


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Release Date:

1 December 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Project Runway 2  »

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Did You Know?

Quotes

Tim Gunn: What happened to Andre?
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Connections

Referenced in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire: Episode #8.9 (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Before You Snap
performed by Yonderboi
published by Chrysalis Music Benelux
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User Reviews

One of the best, most addictive reality TV shows
10 March 2006 | by (oakland, CA, USA) – See all my reviews

Project Runway Season 2 bested the first season by bringing us a compelling cast of characters/contestants this time around. First of all, the "recurring characters" of Project Runway are attractive and articulate fashion experts whose own careers are well-established enough that they don't need to star in a reality TV show. Host and executive producer Heidi Klum, the supermodel nicknamed "The Body", comes across as intelligent and authoritative, even as she tosses each week's loser with a curt "You're out; auf wiedersehn" and a kiss on each cheek. Contestants' mentor Tim Gunn, head of Parsons Design School, has the amazing ability of providing feedback to works-in-progress with his wide vocabulary and catch phrases "Carry on" and "Make it work." Judges Michael Kors, fashion designer, and Nina Garcia, Elle fashion editor, return from last season to cross-examine the contestants. Kors in particular has a biting yet matter-of-fact way of condemning a design.

Sixteen designers dwindle down to a lucky final three who each get the chance to present a collection at Olympus Fashion Week in New York, the climax of the series. The designers compete in a weekly challenge, usually the task of designing a dress around a particular theme or using specific materials under an extremely tight deadline. Each designer has a model who wears the dress on the runway before the judges.

Klum presents each challenge and announces the modest amount of money they have to work with. Gunn checks in on the contestants as they frantically design, sew, and fit the dresses. Contestants also speak directly into the camera in interviews where they discuss their inner thoughts and external conflicts. The completed dresses are modeled on the runway before Klum, Kors, Garcia, and a guest judge (this season's celebrity judges include Badgeley & Mischka, Nicky Hilton, and Iman). The designers with the best and worst designs remain on the runway for questioning by the judges. One by one, designers are asked to leave the runway until the winning and losing designers of that challenge are announced. This selection and elimination process is always handled somewhat differently from one episode to the next, keeping the suspense high for the viewer.

What makes this reality show effectively better than most others is that the contestants MUST have talent and skill to get cast! In Season 2, the designers vary from fresh fashion school graduates Daniel Vosovic and Diana to the older Marla, who already owns her own business. The cast of this season is particularly memorable. My favorite designer to watch is Andrae, a 30-something designer from L.A. with an affected accent, who famously breaks down and cries on the runway.

This season the "villain" role played in the first season by Wendy Pepper is the ever-watchable Santino. From his intimidating height to his rude remarks and outlandish designs, Santino elicited gut reactions from the other contestants and had no qualms getting into verbal tussles with the judges.

Some of the challenges from the first season were also re-introduced this time around, such as making a dress from plants and flowers. Some of the challenges were complicated and yet made for great television. For instance, designers were taken off guard when told to design a dress using only the clothes off their back. Another time, designers were given a digital camera and instructed to take pictures, select a single photo, and use it as inspiration for a dress design.

For a reality show in its second season, an element of gimmickry seeped in. Designers were asked to design a dress for My Scene Barbie. They also had to design a dress suitable for the racks of Banana Republic AND design a window display using their live model. Nevertheless each challenge was always rooted in fashion and always fun to watch.

Another attribute of this wonderful series are the strategic decisions made in editing and sound. The original music for the show is catchy and viewers learn to anticipate the cues: this bit of clanging music when we hold our breath before Heidi Klum announces the winner, that bit of sad music when the losing designer walks off the runway with the camera relentlessly following their silhouette as it disappears from view.

Sophisticated reality show viewers now know that behind-the-scenes producer decisions and crafty editing can mislead those trying to guess the winner of an episode or of the series. Project Runway is no exception to these practices. But we don't feel manipulated. At each episode's conclusion, viewers see the winning dress, hear what the designers and judges have to say, and either agree or disagree with the outcome. That's the power of fashion. Someone else may decide what's in or out, but everyone is entitled to keep their own opinion.


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