Project Runwalk

28 Jan

We don’t watch much tv anymore at chez Concur; but what we do watch is delivered almost exclusively by the internet, letting us neatly sidestep the vast wasteland of Australian free-to-air television. (Imagine my horror when I arrived in Australia 1992 and discovered that there were only 5 television stations here, and that the most popular show at the time was an evening variety program co-hosted by a man and a hand puppet named ‘Ozzie Ostrich’.)

At the moment we’re preoccupied with Project Runway and it’s nascent British version Project Catwalk. If you’re unfamiliar with either of them, the premise is that a group of unknown fashion designers is given a design challenge each week that culminates in a runway walkoff, scoring, and an elimination. In some respects the shows are identical, but it’s the differences between them which are kind of fascinating.

Project Runway

Project Runway

Project Catwalk

Project Catwalk

Runway is hosted by Heidi Klum and Catwalk is hosted by Elizabeth Hurley. I spent much of the first episode of Project Catwalk freaking out because Elizabeth Hurley’s mannerisms reminded me of every Hugh Grant movie I’ve ever seen.

The American version is actually easier to watch because Project Catwalk uses a lot of very rapid cutting and is generally too frentic during the workroom scenes; it is almost impossible to see the clothes properly until they appear on the catwalk at the end of the show.

Culturally the British version is much more relaxed about smoking, drinking and modest nudity, while in the American version these things are (for the most part, unless they are strongly relevant to the challenge) judiciously edited out or pixelated into oblivion.

Of the two, Project Runway seems to more skillfully extract and distill the weeks’ events into drama. Project Catwalk has only had 2 episodes so far, so perhaps it gets more engaging as we get to know the designers a little better. Project Runway also has much more tech cred, with a fully loaded website and a weekly podcast from Tim Gunn; Project Catwalk fans have to make due with a 4 page brochure website, cooked up as an afterthought.

A comment on Ben’s site alerted me to the fact that a couple of the Project Runway contestants have weblogs: Santino Rice and Diana Eng.

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2 Responses to “Project Runwalk”

  1. jodi 31 May, 2006 at 8:09 pm #

    i love it it is so good…. and i especially love julien macdonald

  2. taloolah 21 December, 2006 at 10:41 pm #

    i saw a bit of this show on sky three, and was a little interested, but i went out so i didnt get to finnish watching it and i htought that was that. but then i saw a bit yesterday and i logged onto you tube and watched the whole series (stayed up until 2.am this morning watching) I AM HOOKED i love love love this show, and wondering when there will be another series.

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