Brazil is in a financial boom right now while other countries and regions are trying to dig out of near-recessions. And what better way to celebrate a booming economy than with a Project Runway franchise? Truly the way to know you've arrived!
Brazil's Project Runway, called Projeto Fashion, follows the same formula as the other franchises (which in addition to the US have run in Korea, Australia, Latin America and Canada). There are 12 designers in this inaugural season, most of whom are in their early 20s, with a lone 39-year-old man representing the "old" crowd (his bio says he loves Madonna). The usual quirky backgrounds exist--after all, this is still reality TV. While most have gone to or are still attending fashion school, there's a miner, a former beauty contestant, and a "super Christian" (that's a Google translation from the original Portuguese) who is letting God guide her designs. Also--and I'm not sure if this represents the population at-large in Brazil--three of the six male designers have pretty decently sized ear gauges.
The Brazilian Heidi is a presenter named Adriane Galisteau, who Made in Brazil helpfully points out is mostly known for being half-naked a lot. The show's mentor (aka Tim Gunn) is Alexandre Herchcovitch, which is a pretty good snag for the show. He wrote on the site that Brazil has the creativity and the manufacturing capability, but not yet the quality that's needed to make Brazil a competitive fashion capital.
The Nina Garcia judging equivalency is Susana Barbosa, fashion editor of Elle Brazil. And the Michael Kors father figure? Reinaldo Lourenço, who is none other than the real-life father to wunderkind designer Pedro Lourenço. The winners receive R$100,000 (about the equivalent of $58,000) and a scholarship to Milan’s Instituto Europeo Di Design. It's unclear whether or not they'll get to show at Fashion Rio or at São Paulo Fashion Week.
So far four episodes have aired, and guest judges have included Miss Brazil. Will there be a swimwear design challenge made from things you can find at a pet store? We can only hope.