Many committed fashionistas whose interest in fashion often brings them to this section of the newspaper have already set aside Thursday nights for the new season of Project Runway.
For those who may not have been introduced to this addictive show, Project Runway is a reality series created to give unknown designers a chance to reveal their passion and talent with hopes of making a statement in the fashion world. Project Runway is aired on Lifetime Television and hosted by model Heidi Klum and fashion expert Tim Gunn. World-renown designer Michael Kors and fashion director for Marie Claire Magazine Nina Garcia, along with the expertise of weekly guests and Klum, judge the designers’ work as it is modeled on the runway after each creating challenge.
Up-and-coming designers from all over the country endure a rigorous application and interview process, in which their designs and personality are scrutinized and compared. Usually, sixteen designers are chosen to compete for $100,000 to fund the start of their own fashion line along with other coveted prizes. Each week, the designers face different challenges that restrict time, materials, and budget in order to test the designers’ true skills. Bizarre challenges from previous seasons include creating clothes from junk yard scraps, newspapers and other recyclable materials, and edible candy. They have also designed for icons such as Brooke Shields and figure skater Sasha Cohen.
The main goal of the competing designers while on the show is to make it to the top three, after which they will each create an entire collection to be shown at the annual New York Fashion Week in Bryant Park.
Season 8 began with a twist. To all of the designers’ surprise, Tim Gunn announced that there were seventeen designers standing before him, but only sixteen would actually be competing. Their first challenge would determine which unfortunate person would have to go home before ever truly beginning the competition.
The designers were asked to take one garment out of their suitcase and hand it to the person beside them. The item they were holding would become the main piece of their outfit, which was to be transformed into a design of their choice in only five hours. What a challenge!
Gretchen Jones won over the judges with her stunning and classic black evening dress made from a woman’s blouse, earning herself the first challenge win of the competition. Unfortunately, McKell Maddox from Utah was sent home due to her ill-fitting dress made from her fellow competitor AJ’s shirt. Though I usually trust the judges’ opinions, critiques, and final decisions, I must disagree with their sending McKell home. Casanova’s vulgar “pole dancer in Dubai” outfit was repulsive and definitely not anything a true lady would ever wear.
Nonetheless, as Tim Gunn would say, the show will “carry on,” and I will be tuned in each week to follow the adventures of these hopeful young designers and learn more about the fascinating world of fashion.
Project Runway can be seen each Thursday evening at 8 p.m. on the Lifetime cable network.