Bravo’s Project Runway weak clone The Fashion Show is still airing, which is almost unbelievable because it feels like it’s been on TV forever, and I haven’t even been watching it. After the first couple episodes, I couldn’t keep going, as it was just wholly uninteresting to me, never mind badly produced and conceived–and I loved Project Runway during its prime (and the final Bravo season was not its prime). So what’s wrong with it? Two people who have stuck with the series but also don’t like it have some thoughts.
Project Rungay creators Tom and Lorenzo–who admit they have “been rooting since Day One for Bravo to get this one right”–offer 2,400+ words on how Bravo can fix The Fashion Show, which they say Bravo “rushed … into production too quickly before they could really figure out what they wanted to do.” Here’s a summary of their advice, which is definitely worth a read:
“The runway portion is too derivative of PR; the judges are not suited to their roles; Fern is lost, Kelly is useless, and Isaac is hogging the spotlight; there’s no mentor; and the staging is terrible, not least because the principals are all very bad at getting their points across effectively. [...]
Go all in on the retail aspect of the show. Every week, the designers have to produce some garment, bearing in mind that it’s for mass production. [...]
Don’t fire Isaac. We realize that some of the readers might not agree with us on this, but when he’s on, he’s really on. So put him in a position where he can really be on. He shouldn’t be a judge. He should be the mentor. [...] What we propose is that instead of casting the show with a bunch of designers, cast it with a bunch of newly graduated design students and put them in the role of Junior Designer to Isaac’s Senior Designer. [...]
Fern should be the lead judge. She’s a goddamn expert and she’s playing second fiddle to Isaac, which is a travesty. Get rid of the judging audience and get rid of the runway show. [...]
Instead of having the models walk a runway, do it salon style and have them walk around right in front of the judges/buyers. Let every judge walk up to the garment and look at the seams and the pattern and the buttons and the zippers and everything that makes up the physical part of the garment. Not just to critique the execution, but to look at it to determine whether it’s worth manufacturing. [...]
Unfortunately (for her), there’s no role for Kelly in all this. You’ll pardon us if we fail to shed any tears about that.
[...] And please, do something about the lighting, for god’s sake. If you heed nothing else in this post, please just take care of that.”
Based on what I’ve seen, all of that sounds great because it turns the show into something in the same universe as but still entirely different than Project Runway. A clothes-construction competition is going to always draw comparisons, but by changing it, Bravo might actually end up with the better show, particularly if Lifetime wrecks Runway. And based on the way Lifetime is advertising the new season, that’s a strong possibility.