LOS ANGELES — Heidi Klum often said on the reality competition series “Project Runway” that “one day you are in, the next day you’re out.” That’s what has happened to the supermodel as the series returns on Bravo.
Taking over the hosting duties is another supermodel, Karlie Kloss, who is a 40-time Vogue cover girl, entrepreneur and philanthropist. The St. Louis native was discovered at a local charity fashion show in 2006. Since then, she has walked the runway for Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen and Versace. She also launched Kode With Klossy in 2015 to empower girls to learn to code and become leaders in tech.
The 26-year-old has taken every advantage to learn from and share ideas with the creative people with whom she’s worked. At the same time, Kloss is very much a consumer, and that gives her a direct knowledge of what is going on in the world of fashion. Kloss describes herself as lucky to be a veteran in the fashion industry while at the same time a young woman with the same buying needs as those who don’t know a cheongsam from couture.
All that knowledge will be used in her role as host and executive producer of the latest season of “Project Runway.”
“The key to it, as a model from my perspective, is that I love the part of my job that allows me to be a muse and be a collaborator,” Kloss says. “I’m not just a canvas but I help them develop their ideas and add to what they are doing in the ways that I can. I am someone who is curious and I love to learn. I’ve always asked questions and soaked up everything I could.
— Karlie Kloss (@karliekloss) March 11, 2019
“In the first part of my career, I was more seen and not heard. I think over the course of my career … I have been able to build up the confidence and expertise of my own to be able to contribute to the conversation.”
Kloss remains in such high demand she could have opted just to continue working as a model, but she’s certain she’s reached a point in her life that taking on a challenge like “Project Runway” is something she’s well equipped to do. She’s excited about the idea that the competition series will give her the opportunity to be herself.
As for taking on the hosting duties while continuing to be a wife, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Kloss rejects the idea she’s any different than other women.
“You can ask any woman in this room and they will tell you they are juggling 10 things,” Kloss says. “For me, I am like every woman who is trying to figure out how to grow my career and balance my professional and private life.
“I feel really grateful that I have a partner, my husband, who is an incredible support to me and wants to help me accomplish my dreams no matter what they are.”
Kloss will have some help with her new hosting duties as former “Project Runway” contestant Christian Siriano will be handling the duties that were Tim Gunn’s as the mentor to the 16 designers who will be looking to sew up the title. This season’s winner will earn $250,000, a feature in Elle and his or her own featured role in a Bluprint digital series, as well as $50,000 to put toward their own design studio. Elle Editor-in-Chief Nina Garcia returns as a judge, along with designer Brandon Maxwell and journalist and former Teen Vogue Editor-in-Chief Elaine Welteroth.
Here’s a sneak peek at the new class of designers and the work that landed them on #ProjectRunway’s seventeenth season! @ELLEmagazine
@BravoTV @karliekloss @ElaineWelteroth @Brandonmaxwell @CSiriano https://t.co/y0qPkqk8Cn
— Nina Garcia (@ninagarcia) March 5, 2019
Along with the changes in host and mentor, this season will include several other firsts. There’s a new runway, a new work room, fast fashion and 24-hour flash sales where designs can be voted on by viewers and made available for purchase on BravoTV.com.
Kloss was only 11 years old — and three years from starting her modeling career — when “Project Runway” launched. She was a loyal viewer and finds it a bit surreal that she is stepping into Klum’s Louboutins. The transition has been smooth as Klum has offered a lot support to Kloss.
“Heidi and I have been friends for years and (is) someone I really look up to,” Kloss says. “This is Heidi’s baby and something she cares so much about. I am proud to be part of this next chapter of ‘Project Runway.’”