Yesterday it was announced that Michael Kors was stepping down from the next season of Project Runway, which premieres January 24. In his stead will be Zac Posen, who had better have some colorful, bitchy quips up his sleeve, considering Kors' zingers are some of the show's only meagerly redeeming entertainments. I only mention it because there is some plausible speculation that Portland might have another contestant in the mix this go-'round, despite my repeated warnings. Don't worry, I'm not suggesting you have to watch it. (I'll do that for you, and report back succinctly, sans Lifetime TV movie previews.) But if you're ever heard a politician, economist—or anyone who has the ears of those in a position to lend support and lay the groundwork for infrastructure—talk about the city's growing design and manufacturing culture and its potential impact, this reach of acknowledgement on a national stage (however highly questionable and potentially career poisoning) comes up every single time. We don't have to like the stupid reality show with the Sports Illustrated/Victoria's Secret/never-been-a-fashion-model host, but deliberately ignoring it or denying that anybody's paying attention doesn't seem like the best option, at least not until the next Pendleton Portland Collection comes along.
Also in PR news, the show is desperately trying to keep it interesting/even further from the truth, with a new format:
Project Runway’s Season 11 returns with a twist that throws 16 eager designers into a panic when they discover they will be participating in the series’ first-ever TEAMS EDITION, premiering Thursday, January 24, at 9pm ET/PT. This season, the controversial “team challenges” are taken to a whole new level when the designers must work together for every challenge while ensuring their own garments stand out on the runway to host and judge Heidi Klum, Marie Claire’s Fashion Director Nina Garcia and featured judge, award-winning fashion designer Zac Posen.
The game-changing new element will push designers to work collaboratively but who will be a team player and who will throw their teammates under the bus? Tim Gunn, will, once again, serve as the mentor to the designers, as they sew their way to New York Fashion Week at Lincoln Centerwhere Michael Kors will serve as the finale guest judge.
And! If you hate surprises, the list of guest judges is after the cut.
Guest judges include Bette Midler, Susan Sarandon, Miranda Lambert, John Legend, Joan and Melissa Rivers, Emmy Rossum, Kristin Davis, Jordana Brewster and designers Rachel Roy, Tracy Reese, Chris Benz and Christian Siriano.