‘Project Runway’ 17 might be history, now that Colombian designer Sebastian Grey handily won the season with his sophisticated and cohesive collection of wearable upscale outfits inspired by his homeland. But we wanted to know how fans felt about the changes to the reality show staple now that it has returned to Bravo.
Yes, more than a few long-time viewers — 12% of those who voted in our poll — found the changes to be somewhat jarring, especially the fact that mentor Tim Gunn and host Heidi Klum are gone. Here’s hoping that news of their collaboration with Amazon on a fashion series will arrive soon. But those who left comments had more positive than negative to say about the additions to the show.
A typical comment was shared by Victoria Ekholm, who wrote: “I did miss Tim Gunn, a fabulous mentor and teacher, but I thought Christian did great for a first-time mentor. Loved the judges because they were more personable. Very happy that Sebastian won. Very deserving. Loved the leatherwork in his final collection!”
While Heidi’s replacement, model Karlie Kloss, only received a 2% backing, Season 4 winner Christian Siriano, taking over from the avuncular Gunn, practically got a virtual standing O for his efforts from fans with 54% saying that he quickly settled into his role and proved to be an invaluable adviser to the designers.
But 15% viewers most appreciated the wider diversity of the 16 contestants who competed– whose ethnic makeup included Samoan, Syrian, Haitian-American and Indian — and their varied backgrounds as well as the different shapes and sizes of the models. Plus, in a “Project Runway” first, there was a striking Asian transgender model named MiMi Tao, who knew how to work it when striding down a catwalk.
And 13% thought the final runway show was one of the best ever given the skill and aesthetic choices of Sebastian, runner-up Hester Sunshine and third-place finisher Garo Sparo.
All in all, after a rocky start when many thought the wrong designer was sent packing on the very first challenge, new judges Elaine Welteroth, former editor of “Teen Vogue,” and designer Brandon Maxwell, who never met a runway reveal he didn’t comment upon, were pretty much into the groove alongside she whose opinion counts most, “Elle” magazine editor Nina Garcia. However, we Swatch watchers want to see more of Mood’s Boston terrier mascot the next time around.
Other comments from readers:
Kitty Scalzo: “I also loved the whole season. Especially the diversity of contestants and models. Lots of cutting edge creativity. Definitely missed Swatch. Loved the judges and also the celebrity stylist (Marni Senofonte). I’d like to see more of her. Christian did a fabulous job. Can’t wait for the next group.”
Jodi: “I had stopped watching the old “Project Runway.” It was drying up. But, I thought I would give the new makeover of the show a try. I loved it. I think the top 4 deserves to be in the top 3 and Sebastian definitely deserves to win. Two Words: Diane Von Furstenberg! (who was a guest judge on the finale.)
Francis: “I also loved this new season. I like that Brandon Maxwell was not a snippy b**ch like Michael Kors. I think Elaine was the weakest link. I also warmed up to Karlie Kloss. I thought that H Klum was having too much muscle on the previous version and I completely tuned out when H Klum and her posse let somebody who does not know how to create sleeves take the entire crown. I love Christian and I like that he gives direct suggestions to have a different point of view than what the contestant think was a fabulous idea when it really sucked in reality. I loved Tim Gunn but I think CS is better. Without Michael Kors and H Klum, I think Nina became more likeable this season. I think she was putting up a meaner persona to fit the previous crew. I’m rooting for this new team and will continue watching.”
Sara Fraser: “I really enjoyed this season; I liked everyone from the judges, to Siriano, to the contestants. It was refreshing to see the contestants getting along with each other for the most part, and diva behaviour was kept to a minimum. My interest is in the process and the fashion, not the drama – although a little bit of bad behaviour is not unacceptable. I think the best man won, and hope the others find meaningful work in their fields. I did miss Tim Gunn though – maybe a Gunn/Siriano partnership in the coming season?”
Sue Gordon: I really enjoyed this season of “Project Runway.” I loved Christian because he been in their shoes. The new episode had a variety of models, not just toothpicks. So I would love to see more. Always been a favorite show. So Much TALENT.”
Leah Ray: “Overall: I appreciated how talented all the designers were. On the Lifetime version, it often felt as if they included some designers in the mix just for their personality/gift for drama. You knew those characters would be weeded out by mid-season. I like the more supportive critiques from the new judges and I love Christian’s skillful mentoring and his knack for throwing in a touch of the diva for fun.”
September McConnell: “I thought it was wonderful. Did not miss Heidi at all. Christian was a great mentor and was funny in his suggestions without having to be over the top. Loved his style when he was a contestant and appreciate his vibe even more as he has matured. While Hester has a unique niche, I enjoyed her fun, quirky designs as art. The best designer came out on top. Nina is perfection. Excellent choice having DVF as guest judge for final runway show.Thank you, Bravo for bringing back an old friend with new, creative challenges.”