Are you ready for drama, scheming, and Heidi Klum's legs? We hope so because Project Runway, the design show that everyone loves to hate is in its tenth season--and it premieres tonight. Hard to believe that it's been 10 seasons, right? It seems like only yesterday that we were asking ourselves about Tim, "Who IS that dapper man with the amazing vocabulary?!" And now, no Thursday night is complete without him.
While we love the personalities on the show (Hi, Michael!), part of the show's ridiculousness involves the tasks that the designers are given. As if it wasn't crazy enough to set unrealistic time deadlines and let sleep deprived people run around frenetically with scissors, the producers complicate things even further with their "challenges." From the now infamous grocery store challenge to designing haute couture from pet store wares, Project Runway takes the edict "Don't bore Nina!" very seriously. And viewers could not possibly be expected to sit and watch a show about, you know, clothes made out of regular fabrics, for an entire hour.
So to welcome PR back into our living rooms tonight, we took a look back at the silliest challenges that the show has dished up. Click through and take a walk down the trash bag aisle with us as we relive them all.
Season 1 episode 1, "Innovation"
This was the ridiculous challenge that started everything. For anyone (including the contestants) who somehow thought Project Runway was actually going to be a show about designers creating wearable fashion, this was the challenge that set them straight. Designers were asked to create clothes from food found at a Manhattan grocery store--kicking off the show's proclivity for asking designers to create stuff out of unconventional materials. Who knew corn husks could work so well for cocktail hour?
Season 2 episode 9, "Flower Power"
No, this wasn't one of those "Be inspired by nature--now, off to Mood!" challenges that the contestants of PR definitely spend their non-workroom time daydreaming about. The materials involved in this challenge were strictly botanical, and purchased exclusively from the New York Flower District. If you thought arranging a bouquet was tricky, try doing it on a naked, moving person. Needless to say, this was fashion with a serious expiration date.
Season 3 episode 3, "Designer's Best Friend"
This challenge was pretty whack in terms of taste and potential allergic reactions. Is matching your outfit to your pet's outfit ever a good idea (CatAtelier obviously excluded)? Using one of "fashion's hottest accessories"--a dog--as a muse, each designer had to come up with a complimenting outfit for the pup and its corresponding model walker--plus a story about the doggy duo. Luckily, there were no accidents on the runway--that we know of.
Season 4 episode 10 "Raw Talent"
Fashion and female wrestling rarely mixes--unless, of course you're Stacy Keibler, or this challenge on Project Runway. The designers had to make costumes for profesh WWE wrestlers, and needless to say, tons of tickity-tackiness ensued. There were capes, criss-crosses, leopard print, and lots of... shine.
Season 5 episode 6 "Good Queen Fun"
Oh honey, fashion can be such a drag! Season 4's super awesome and generally jovial Chris March returned for this challenge (wearing a disco ball-laden viking outfit, no less), which saw the designers making costumes for some very creatively named drag queens ("Hedda Lettuce," "Sharon Needles," and "Annida Greenkard" were personal favs). RuPaul was the guest judge. Need way say mo-ah?
Season 6 episode 5 "Fashion Headliners"
This was Project Runway's first season on the Lifetime Network, and the only season ever filmed not in New York (for some reason, production moved to LA). Away from the Garment District, there was apparently a dearth of actual fabric--so the designers were left to run rampant in the LA Times building, gathering newspaper with which to make a garment. I mean, it was the recession, I guess.
Season 7 episode 7 "Hard Wear"
Oh, puns, how we love thee! As the episode name sort of implies, the designers had to get all the materials for this challenge at a New York neighborhood hardware store. Never before this glorious challenge had we ever considered trash bags as a leather alternative. There was also a "bathing suit" made of fluorescent string and metal washers, which would make for a very, erm, rusty situation if it was ever put to use.
Season 8 episode 8 "A Rough Day on the Runway"
This challenge just literally made no sense. Like, no sense whatsoever. The designers were told to create classic American sportswear. Wait--actually, make that something Jackie Kennedy would wear. But... in modern day. What? It got worse. Just when the designers thought they'd completed their already vague challenge, Tim Gunn shocked them with the extra task of creating a coordinating piece of outerwear. Why? We don't know. Scratch that--we kind of do know. Apparently, the tie-in here was originally supposed to be The Kennedys mini-series. The winner of the challenge would dress Katie Holmes, in the role of Jackie, during a scene. But once the show went haywire, so did the challenge.
In a totally uncharacteristic turn, Tim Gunn took to his vlog and criticized PR's producers in a 12-minute rant that covered everything from the the unfairness and irrelevance of the challenge to the misuse of the term "classic American sportswear." It was ridiculous--ridiculously amazing.
Season 9 episode 3 "Go Big or Go Home"
Designers are used to making clothes for girls with long legs--but this was just insane. Tim Gunn challenged the contestants to create clothes for stilt-walkers that wouldn't make them look like total carnies. Um, right. The whole thing made me a little nervous: Seriously how do those people do that without getting vertigo!? The madness continued with the appearance of random guest judge Kim Kardashian. Really, why was she there?
All Stars episode 5 "Clothes Off Your Back"
This challenge on Project Runway All Stars was not just ridiculous, but publicly awkward too. The designers had to wander the streets of New York looking for civilian 'muses' who were willing to hand over their current clothing (no changing rooms involved here) for the designers to eff around with. Oh and, the completed re-designs were never returned to the original wearers. Since this is PR, everyone eventually found a willing muse--but it was definitely uncomfortable to watch the process! Bonus ridiculousness: The 'muses' with 8-packs who were potentially planted in the park by PR producers. We'll probably never know...