Fabulous from head to toe, Project Runway
differs from many of its reality-show peers in that 1) its contestants are actually skilled at a difficult trade (in this case, fashion design) and 2) it boasts the most engaging hosts (supermodel Heidi Klum and Parsons Fashion chair Tim Gunn, who's become a breakout star himself). Season Two benefits from a more streamlined process--gone is the model-picking cattle call every episode--and a cast twice as memorable as Season One. Compare the ideas of kind fashion teacher Nick vs. wearable-technology geek Diana; the profound commentary of South African boho-chick Kara ("there's a life to the garment") vs. dim-bulb early cast-off Heidi ("I thought it was just, pretty
I mean, she looked pretty
"). Revel in the arrogant musings, over-the-top designs, and dead-on Tim Gunn impressions of Santino Rice, who was wrongly mislabeled the villain of Project Runway
. That honor truly goes to bossy witch Zulema, who never met an excuse she didn't like, and broke a gentleman's agreement by swiping Nick's "muse," model Tarah, halfway through the season (In a bittersweet end, Zulema's subsequent ousting forced an early exit for Tarah as well). There's even a surprise return of Season One's Daniel Franco, whose quivering voice and shuffle added even more spice to the pot.
This season's challenges included designing for Barbie, heiress Nicky Hilton, figure skater Sasha Cohen, and supermodel Iman; creating outfits from the clothes off their back; and designing a garden-party dress out of flowers and plants. Watching their creations (which are, in many cases, impressive) criticized by grumpy judges Michael Kors and Elle fashion director Nina Garcia makes for some of the best drama on television.
The DVD includes the full, uncut versions of Santino's runway argument with Nina and flamboyant contestant Andre's weepy breakdown in front of the judges (9 minutes, 53 seconds); more musical numbers invented by Santino and Nick ("No one's gonna sew no mooooore"); footage of the cast's audition tapes, and a Where Are They Now? featurette with Season One's contestants. A must-have accessory for fans of the show. --Ellen A. Kim
In this Emmy-nominated series, 16 designers battle it out on the Road to the Runway, taking on weekly design challenges in New York City, until only 3 remain to face off at New York Fashion Week in February. The reality series stars Supermodel Heidi Klum, and judging is by fashion industry icons. "In the fashion world, as in this competition, you're either in or you're out."