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Project Runway - did they walk the walk?

But anyone worth their self-proclaimed title of fashionista will know that you can move the show to California but LA will never beat New York in the fashion stakes!

The pretty clothes horse and self made business woman Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn, the Chief Creative Officer at Liz Claiborne Inc., will be guiding the 14 hungry designers through the tasks, eliminating one contestant every week. If you make it to the final (3 finalists and one decoy) your line is presented at the New York Fashion Week.

But there can only be one winner - the top designer runs off with the lump sum of $100,000 to launch their own line and a 12 month mentorship. In the past Banana Republic, Macy’s & the Designers Management Agency have been willing sponsors.

Although none of the four winners ever heard Heidi Klum’s Auf Wiedersehen (clue -you are not going to make it on the show) did the battling weeks lay the foundation for inch thick creative skin as well as commercial savvy?

Season 1 - Jay McCarroll
The first winner of the show turned his nose up at his fortune and claimed that Project Runway would take10% of his future earnings. Jay believed the show would make him so desirable that his public transport days were truly over, but has struggled financially (at one stage it was claimed he was homeless).

Whilst preparing for his first (and only) catwalk show - a unisex range for Spring 07 - he starred in the movie 11 Minutes. The movie described the year long process from concept to the show plus the financial difficulties that independent designers have to deal with. Recently launched his own online shop where funky designed t-shirts and canvas bags are available at $30 - $60. Sold some of his original styles to Urban Outfitters to improve his cashflow.

Score: A talented prima donna who struggles with the concept of the balance sheet.

Season 2 - Chloe Dao
The sweet looking Chloe with the touching family history - escaped as a child from Vietnam with her parents and seven sisters - has become the queen of QVC. The Simply Chloe Dao line has sold out 3 times and her latest styles are available from end July.

Chloe accepted the guidance from DSA and claims that they have helped her move from being a Houston based designer to national heights. As a stylist and a designer for a Slim Fast Catwalk and a Dove Campaign she targeted women’s body issues and insecurities. Hopes to expand her Houston store Lot 8 (opened pre Project Runway) to New York and LA.

Score: The daytime TV designer with a heart who is happy with her lot.

Season 3 - Jeffrey Sebiela
The main contester for the Rock & Roll crown - broken family, drug addiction, suicide attempt and rehab - has become a favourite with edgy and fashion savvy musicians including Linkin Park, Steven Tyler and Gwen Stefani & No Doubt.

He opened the Spring Summer 08 LA fashion show with a collection inspired by the book Into the Wild (Sean Penn directed the movie). His brand Cosa Nostra is available in more than 40 locations across the world, predominantly in small boutiques although Harvey Nichols in London and Hong Kong stock the unisex avant garde punk inspired collection too.

Score: A young Vivienne Westwood wanna be with a penchant for scary tattoos

Season 4 - Christian Siriano
The youngest winner of the show was touted by Tim Gunn as America’s next great designer, snapping the crown from Marc Jacobs (or Zac Posen?). Achieved his fashion credentials in London at the American Intercontinental College and was an intern at Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen.

His final collection for Project Runway bore strong inspiration from both. Due to launch a collection for Bluefly - a fashion website for people in the know, as well as a 15 piece capsule for Puma with the British singer Estelle as his muse. Although he is yet to confirm that he will be showing at the NY fashion show, dedicated fans (Victoria Beckham is one) are saving their dollar to be the first to snap up his design.

Score: So talented but loves the celeb limelight a bit too much. Get back to the drawing board!


Project Runway is on Bravo on Wednesdays at 8pm (NY).

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