Project Runway fans, rejoice! The show's 12th season starts off with a bang tomorrow night, promising to be a cycle like none other. Season 12 debuts with an expectation to highlight more audience participation than ever before, including a new interactive on-screen feature, PlayRunway, and Runway Redemption, in which fans chose a mystery, past contestant to return to the competition. The rotation of guest judges has more star power than ever before, and that includes the designers' spiritual guide, Tim Gunn. That's right, fans! This season, Tim will sit catwalk-side at all of the runway shows. We spoke to the always lovely Tim on what he's looking most forward to this season, below. Don't forget to tune in to the season premiere tomorrow, July 18, at 9 p.m. EST on Lifetime, and join us on Twitter at #ProjectRunway.
Marie Claire: I love that Project Runway is always finding ways to change things up, but maintain what people really love about the show. This season, you are definitely doing that with all the fan involvement. How do you think that's going to influence the show this season?
Tim Gunn: I think the more in touch we are with the fans, the more responsive we are, the better in all ways. And our Superfan Challenge was one of the most fun, exuberant experiences I've had in 12 seasons of making the show. Having the superfans with us and sharing with them all the behind-the-scenes aspects — which, by the way, the viewers are going to see as well when that episode airs. Everyone is going to have behind-the-scenes view of how we make the show.
Also, the Superfan Challenge is about two-thirds of the way into taping. And for the designers who, at that point, are just completely spent mentally, creatively, physically — they're just spent — it was such a huge pick-me-up to have this unconditional enthusiasm from these incredible women. And that's to say I would love to have brought some incredible men, too — superfan men. But, you know how badly the designers design menswear. That would not have been pretty.
But the more fan involvement we can have, the better. I'm hoping we have another season of the show at least. And I'd like to do more with the fans.
MC: We recently wrote a blog post about that rather sexual billboard advertising Season 12. Do you think it should be censored as it is in L.A. right now or shown as it is?
TG: I mean, to be honest with you, consider who this is — consider who these comments are coming from: a dusty, old, scale-covered fart, me. I find nothing about this to be offensive or tasteless. I don't get it. I really don't. I think of L.A. as being much more permissive than New York. And the images is up all over New York, and then, it's banned in L.A.? I find it crazy.