16 designers with big personalities in a room, 24 hours to design outfits entirely from scratch every week, $100,000 and a coveted title on the line. If there ever was a recipe for the perfect blend of design and drama, Project Runway has got you covered.
In honour of the show’s new season which is on TLC (SingTel TV Channel 254) every Monday at 9pm, we decided to take a walk down memory lane to recap our favorite moments from the past 16 years of runway drama. With Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn having said Auf Wiedersehen to the show for good, we can’t wait to see how supermodel Karlie Kloss and Season 4 winner Christian Siriano deal with the highs and lows of season 17.
The most intense walk-off (Season 2)
Each episode of Project Runway sees designers choosing a model who will walk in their creations for the week. In Season 2, contestant Zulema Griffin, who was unable to decide on which model to choose, had three models compete in a spontaneous walk-off. Until then, designers had chosen to be loyal to their models but the walk-off prompted Griffin to poach her fellow contestant Nick Verreos’ model, leading to some serious tension.
An eye-roll that sparked a thousand memes (Season 10)
It’s tough to forget the infamous meme sparked by Christopher Palu, in reaction to fellow contestant Melissa Fleis’ claim that her fabric was a “blood orange” colour. His remark “Blood orange, she’s so pretentious… shut up, it’s ******* red,” followed by an unmistakable eye-roll, was plastered all over social media for months on end.
A shocking reveal (Season 8)
Die-hard fans would know – any Project Runway season requires contestants to design and use their own fabrics. One of the most touching and memorable moments of the show came when Mondo Guerra revealed on Season 8 that the plus signs on his fabric were inspired by his HIV positive status. At the time of filming, even his family was unaware of this diagnosis and the brave act of disclosing his medical status on global television is one that fans will never forget.
Tim Gunn blows his lid (Season 14)
In season 14, audiences got the chance to see the usually mild-mannered Tim Gunn lose his cool. The mentor to competing designers was completing his usual work room critiques when he arrives at one contestant’s Swapnil’s station. After he learnt that the designer had not yet completed his fairly simple design, Tim yells “I’m really just fed up,” prompting shocked reactions from the other designers.
A disqualification rocks the runway (Season 16)
In season 16, designer Claire Buitendorp won a challenge by designing a phenomenal pair of pants. But did she actually design these pants from scratch? It was revealed that she actually measured existing clothes she had and used them as a basis for designing that very pair of pants, a huge no-no in Project Runway. Presenter Tim Gunn immediately sends her packing, shocking contestants, judges and audiences alike.
An upsetting win (Season 8)
Everybody knows the feeling of rooting for your favourite contestant, only to be extremely disappointed when they don’t make it through. This was how audiences felt watching Season 8 when Gretchen Jones won the competition over fan-favourite Mondo Guerra. Even presenters Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn were rooting for Mondo – you could just tell how much it pained Heidi to deliver the news. Tim later said in an interview that it was a “completely crazy outcome” and jokingly accused the judges of being off their rockers.
The morphing dress (Season 13)
This is one look you need to see, to believe it. In season 13, designers had to create a look that would withstand the test of the “rainway.” While the other designers created looks in waterproof fabrics that deflected the rain, Sean Kelly decided the rain would be a part of his garment. What looked like an ordinary white dress began to bleed bright orange and red in contact with the water. Heidi Klum’s jaw drop says it all.