After making its return to Bravo, the fashion-centric design competition Project Runway is back for its 17th season.
Original mentor Tim Gunn has been swapped with Season 4 Project Runway winner Christian Siriano, while supermodel Karlie Kloss will replace Heidi Klum as the host of the show. Editor-in-Chief of Elle magazine, Nina Garcia, will make her return to the show as a judge, alongside the fresh faces of designer Brandon Maxwell and editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue, Elaine Welteroth.
New workspace, new host, and new mentor!
Ahead of the March 14 premiere, TV Insider spoke with Siriano, Kloss, Garcia, and Maxwell on what we can expect from Season 17.
“Everything is different,” says Siriano, “the social media challenges [and] the cultural things we talk about are really important.”
The panel of judges is another big change for the competition, and some fun guest judges, like Cardi B, will also make appearances on the show.
“We have a brand-new cast of judges,” says Garcia, “they bring a great, fresh perspective. Christian has been wonderful as a mentor… and he knows just what it takes to succeed outside of Project Runway.”
Along with a new judges panel, this season is also full of a diverse cast of designers and models. “We have our first trans model on the show, who does very well and is amazing,” says Siriano. “… It reflects everything that’s happening in our world right now, because in fashion, you can’t overlook those things.”
On top of being a part of this production, the new cast is still incredibly busy with their own projects and work. Kloss, who is focused on her coding program, Kode With Klossy, also continues to juggle modeling and hosting.
"I am always up for a challenge," she says, "I really loved this new role, and being a part of this show is really full-circle for me."
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"I watched it growing up, long before I ever thought modeling would be my career and my path," Kloss continues, "so I really am excited to be a part of this, and I definitely learned as I went. I was really lucky to be part of such a great cast – and I’m still modeling!”
Kloss isn't the only one who's extremely busy. Maxwell recently took the internet by storm with his recent design for Lady Gaga's stunning Oscar gown, and with his expertise, he had some advice for aspiring designers.
“One piece of advice I have, is from the very beginning, not to concern yourself with what’s going to make other people happy, ask yourself,” Maxwell says.
Siriano adds, “Stay really focused, be yourself, be you. If you’re all about evening wear, then that’s what your focus should be. It’s about being your true self.”
This new season will be full of changes, but the heart of the show remains the same.
Project Runway, Season 17 Premiere, Thursday, March 14, 8/7c, Bravo