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Move over Tim Gunn, there’s a new era of Project Runway coming. Following the departures of mainstays like Heidi Klum and Gunn, former contestant (and famous designer in his own right) Christian Siriano is taking over. He’s not afraid to talk about how he will be different than the old guard either, speaking out at TCA to explain exactly how he’ll be different than Tim Gunn.
What’s really great is and obviously, like, I’m very close with Tim and very close with Heidi and they’re amazing and so talented. But I think what’s really great about this new season is that for the first time the mentor for the designers gets to be a real designer. Tim was never a designer. He never worked in the business. He was a teacher.
Look, Tim Gunn has been known for his flawless taste and the graceful way he gave hints to the contestants over the years, but he has never been a person known for designing himself, which is why judges like Michael Kors and Zac Posen were invaluable on the series. It looks like Christian Siriano hopes to bring that sort of flavor to the new Project Runway. He also noted:
When the designers have a red carpet challenge, I can actually give them real feedback, because I just dressed people at the Golden Globes the week before. So I’m giving them almost, like, real fashion industry feedback. And I think that it can, hopefully, only help them.
In fact, Christian Siriano also promised audiences that he won’t say anything to contestants on the new season of Project Runway that he wouldn’t say to his own creative team in real life. Siriano does put his mouth where his money is. He’s dressed dozens and dozens of celebrities in the past few years specifically for red carpets.
Last year at the Oscars he notably dressed 17 different women in totally different ensembles, from Janelle Monae’s pantsuit to gowns for Kelly Ripa and Amy Adams.
He should theoretically bring an additional component into his judging: He’s already been in the contestants’ shoes.
As for the new project he is embarking on, in some ways Project Runway won’t be wholly different from the old. Veteran Nina Garcia will be back, and the show will actually be returning to its original home Bravo for the new season. Christian Siriano also told CinemaBlend and other outlets at the TCA Winter Press tour that he did learn from Tim Gunn during his own run on the popular series. Still, he wants change for the contestants, at least in the understanding that they can build their own brand, even if it’s hard work.
Tim was an amazing you know, obviously I think he did all right with me, I guess, you know, and now I’m here and that’s great. But I think what’s really special for the designers to be successful going forward is to have a real designer giving them advice, just because the industry’s tough. The fashion business is hard. So I think if anyone can give them advice, I would think it would be me, someone who won the show and then built something afterwards, because it’s really what you do after the show as well to build a brand and you have to do that for yourself. So I try to do that, I think, now.
We hope the new crop of Project Runway contestants hears that. It takes talent to make it onto Project Runway, but after that, building a business can be a long, hard slog. We'll have to wait and see how the new cast, which also includes Karlie Kloss, Brandon Maxwell and Elaine Welteroth, pan out. The new show will hit the schedule on March 14 at 8 p.m. ET, only on Bravo. See what else is coming up with our midseason schedule.