Fashion will always be fascinating, as Project Runway has proven with its reality competition about designers struggling to make it to fashion week with hopes of prominence within the industry.
First premiering on Bravo in December 2004, Project Runway eventually switched over to Lifetime, which recently aired its 14th season and is nearing the end of its fifth All Stars season. The show, which has seen its ups and downs (season 11’s team edition is still unforgivable), has become a reliable hit, if not, uninspired in recent years. Co-host and mentor Tim Gunn even slammed the main competition’s most recent season, telling Entertainment Weekly he “hated it.”
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Then there’s The Fashion Fund, a breath of fresh air in the waning world of reality competitions, with its third season drawing to a close on Thursday, April 28 on Amazon. Arguably, it’s more of a docu-series as it follows the process of selecting a winner of the CDFA/Vogue Fashion Fund among its ten nominees. Yet, the show still follows Project Runway’s similar format, with each episode focusing on a specific challenge or element of the process.
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Most of the joy of watching the show comes from the committee, which includes top industry experts from Neiman Marcus, Rag & Bone, and Nordstrom. Of course, there’s also the trifecta of exemplary judges: Anna Wintour, Diane von Furstenberg, and Jenna Lyons. Wintour and Furstenberg, in particular, have a funny dynamic of chiding each other in one panel discussion and joking about getting brunch with a handsome chef in another. The committee itself is a welcome reprieve from the mainstay of judges on Lifetime, who sometimes offer more confusion than reliable critique. "One says it's black, the other says it's white, and they don't really listen and they don't really look," Gunn said of them last year.
With that said, there are plenty of lessons Project Runway could learn fromThe Fashion Fund, and possibly become just as fun and exciting to watch again.
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