STUDIO: Miramax
MSRP: $39.99
RUNNING TIME: 509 Minutes
Deleted Scenes
Designer Gallery
Where Are They Now? Featurette

The Pitch

“Let’s combine Project Greenlight with Queer Eye For The Straight Guy!”

The Humans

Heidi Klum, Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and a bunch of fashion design hopefuls who will never be heard from again.

The Nutshell

Project Runway is a competition designed to find the next great American fashion designer. Each week a group of fashion designers will be assigned a challenge to design an outfit with limited resources in a very short amount of time. Challenges range from creating outfits out of food to redesigning the US Postal Service uniform. The outfits will be critiqued by a panel of judges.

The person with the highest score will receive a free pass for the next competition and the loser goes home. This process repeats itself until only three designers remain. These three will have several months to design an entire collection to show off at fashion week in New York. The winner of that competition will receive $100,000, an internship with Banana Republic and a spread in Elle Magazine. After that they’ll probably fall off the face of the Earth and start appearing on Battle of the Network Reality Stars.

Get ready for the Passion of the Christ inspired line of fall fashions.

The Package

The first season of Project Runway comes on three discs in a standard DVD case. The artwork features the show’s host, Heidi Klum, who really doesn’t do much more than stand around looking pretty. That’s basically her job on the runway, so the show’s producers didn’t mess with perfection.

The show was broadcast just last year and as such the video quality is great. The audio is presented in standard Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. It’s a reality show about sewing dresses so a better audio track is completely unnecessary. After a few episodes of hearing the same awful techno tracks over and over, you may start wishing there wasn’t an audio track at all.

The Lowdown

No matter how much hatred and vitriol is directed towards it, reality television keeps on coming. People resent seeing untalented jerks all over the television screen getting rewarded for being as annoying as possible. Project Runway sets itself apart from the other reality garbage by emulating the Project Greenlight series. This show isn’t about watching people mug for the camera in a desperate attempt for fame, it’s about watching artists at work creating something. There are no immunity necklaces won by eating dead slugs in this show. You either use your talent to make a great outfit or you go home.

Project Runway was a hit for Bravo because it’s just plain interesting. I went into the show without the slightest knowledge of fashion designing and become entranced by the program. The show doesn’t get into the cutthroat world of fashion modeling; it leaves that to America’s Next Top Model. The show focuses on the actual process of designing clothes and the creative process. I’ve often been confused after seeing some of the wild outfits on runways and wondered who in the world would buy those things. After watching the show, I learned that fashion designing is a real art to the people involved and the models are often treated as a walking canvas for their designs to come alive on.

Set sail for swashbuckling action at New York fashion week!

Unfortunately, Project Runway can’t seem to help itself from falling down to the level of traditional reality shows at some points. The end credits of the show make it known that the producers have input on which contestants stay and they’re none too subtle about it. The angriest and most psychotic contestant is kept on the show despite a lack of talent, just so the contestant can continue to cause arguments and make for compelling television. It may be entertaining to watch a complete sociopath breaking down on camera, but it diminishes whatever legitimacy the competition had in the first place.

Project Runway has been described as a guilty pleasure by some, but there’s no reason to feel guilty about watching a reality show that actually teaches you about how an industry works and allows you to see designers practice their craft. If all reality shows could be as interesting and informative as Project Runway, perhaps the public wouldn’t want to crucify the producers of them anymore.

7.0 out of 10