is a fashion design Reality Show
hosted by Heidi Klum, originally on Bravo but now airing on Lifetime
"in search of the next great fashion designer." Twelve to sixteen or so designers compete in weekly design challenges, and in each episode, one designer is knocked off until reaching the final three (or four, in two seasons). These last three then get $8000 and twelve weeks to go home and make a twelve-piece collection, which they then show at Bryant Park during New York Fashion Week. After this, the winner is selected and receives prizes that vary from season to season, but always include $100,000 to help kickstart their own line.
The challenges are very diverse, testing different aspects of a designer's aesthetic and abilities. There is usually one challenge featuring unusual materials — such as plants, edibles, apartment furnishings, and recycled goods — per season. Occasionally, the designers must create an outfit for a celebrity (or quasi-celebrity), including Miss USA Tara O'Connor, actress Brooke Shields, entertainment reporter Nancy O'Dell, and figure skater Sasha Cohen. Most of the other challenges fall into one of three categories: provide new pieces for an already existing line (like Sarah Jessica Parker's "Bitten" or Diane von Furstenberg), work around a given theme (such as bridal, cocktail, or prom), or "Inspiration" basically either sending the designers out with cameras or assigning them a style icon, and having that be the inspiration for their designs.
Each challenge lasts 1-2 days; the first two-thirds of the show show the behind-the-scenes work the actual construction, the catfights
and visits by Tim Gunn
, who is unbelievably badass awesome for an old gay guy in a suit. The latter third of the show is devoted to the runway show. Host Heidi Klum, designer Michael Kors, and fashion magazine editor Nina Garcia make up the panel of regular judges, and there is typically a guest judge each week, generally a celebrity, designer, or fashion insider. The judges deem six (until there are six or fewer contestants left) designers "their favorites and least favorites" and question them more closely about their design. In the end, there is one winner and one designer gets sent home, with an "Auf Wiedersehen" and cheek-kiss from Heidi.
The show has had twelve seasons and two All Stars
seasons made of eliminated designers from other seasons
. Previous winners are Jay McCarroll, Chloe Dao, Jeffrey Sebelia, Christian Siriano, Leanne Marshall, Irina Shabayeva, Seth Aaron Henderson, Gretchen Jones, Anya Ayoung-Chee, Dmitry Sholokhov, Michelle Lesniak Franklin and Dom Streater. Mondo Guerra won the first All Stars
season, while Anthony Ryan Auld won the second, Seth Aaron Henderson won the third, and Dmitry Sholokhov won the fourth.
This show provides examples of: