Project Runway 2016: Season 15 Start Date Announced, Host Heidi Klum, Mentor Tim Gunn, Zac Posen, And Nina Garcia Are Returning

After weeks of teasing on social media, we finally have a date. Project Runway Season 15 is starting in just a month! Heidi, Tim, Nina, and Zac are all returning with quick trips to memory lane and an eye on the future of fashion design. The celebrity guest judges have been revealed, and we have glimpses of what the talented designers can do. So, what can we expect to see in the 2016 Project Runway?

How perfect is it that Project Runway‘s 15th season is starting on September 15? Fifteen seasons is a long time to be doing the same thing. Are the judges tired of Project Runway? EW talked to Heidi Klum, and it does not sound like they are. Both revolving guest judges and different challenges create a unique mix that keeps the show from ever getting boring or repetitive for the Project Runway team.

“We’re not tired of it yet. The concept is the same but the people are different, the challenges are different, and our guest judges are different — and they always bring something great to the table, too.”

Watching the judge’s sing-a-long teaser from the upcoming season should make all fans smile at the prospect of fresh faces and insane creative challenges. Most of all, it looks like the judges have turned over a new leaf after the very disappointing Season 14. The integrity of the show was challenged with the lackadaisical performance of all of the designers. There did not seem to be a lot of creative drive or motivation to make great fashion.

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Tim told EW that Season 14 was the worst season and his frustration with the designers, especially Swapnil Shinde, resulted in Tim Gunn swearing at the designer for not trying. On the show, Swapnil admitted to other designers that he frequently went out on cigarette breaks. Tim became tired of the lack of motivation and wanted Swapnil gone to send a message to all of the other designers to shape up or ship out.

“I kept saying to the judges that there was one designer in particular that needed to go because I felt that once that designer left, it would A) send a resounding message to all of the remaining designers about how serious this is and B) the laziest of the lot would be gone and it would help eradicate all of the other laziness. I was so surprised. These designers had seen the show. It’s season 14. You come with your game.”

Later in the season, Tim Gunn discovered at reunion show that holding back was actually Swapnil’s strategy. The designer wanted to play it safe and was saving up his energy for later challenges. Then he would give it his all and win the whole competition. Fans of the show were very disappointed that Swapnil, easily the most talented designer of the Season 14 group, was knocked out early. While this made for good reality television, fashion fans feel slighted that the final group was not the most talented group of designers.

Hopefully, the most drama we will see in Season 15 will be the designers running through iconic fabric store Mood, along with a quick glimpse of Swatch, the adorable doggie mascot. Fans of the show, of course, know that the success of a designer all depends on what fabric they purchase at Mood.

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While teasing the new season on social media, Project Runway has shown a lot of old challenge clips. Does this mean that the show may turn back the clock to previous seasons and reuse old challenges?

There have been runways with stilts, and Chippendale’s dancers. There have been babies and dogs. There have been wedding dresses re-imagined. But perhaps the most memorable runway ever was the rain runway where Kini walked his infamous umbrella-inspired dress. Wow!

So who are the contestants of Season 15? They include designers from the age of 22 to the oldest at 55. The short videos introducing each talent is already on the Project Runway site.

Brik Allen (26), Baton Rouge, LA
Laurence Basse (41), Los Angeles, CA
Sarah Donofrio (34), Portland, OR
Ian Hargrove (30), Chicago, IL
Tasha Henderson (33), Shreveport, LA
Nathalia JMag (23), Framingham, MA
Linda Marcus (55), Milwaukee, WI
Cornelius Ortiz (24), Boston, MA
Roberi Parra (32), Miami, FL
Jenni Riccetti (22), San Francisco, CA
Kimber Richardson (42), New York, NY
Erin Robertson (29), Cambridge, MA
Dexter Simmons (32), Oakland, CA
Alex Snyder (30), San Francisco, CA
Rik Villa (31), Los Angeles, CA
Mah-Jing Wong (28), Philadelphia, PA

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Season 15 judges include actresses Priyanka Chopra, Emily Ratajkowski, Nina Dobrev, Camilla Belle, Jaime King, Shiri Appleby, Sabrina Carpenter, and Carly Chaiken. In addition, anchor Savannah Guthrie, fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, Project Runway Junior judge Kelly Osbourne, model Lucky Blue Smith, and Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire Anne Fulenwider round out the list of guest judges.

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The winner of Project Runway will receive a fabulous prize package including cash, sewing equipment, make-up for shows, and a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine to help launch the career of the designer.

So, are you ready for the new season? On social media, designer Zac Posen promises that Season 15 will be a wild ride! Are you ready to jump onboard?

“Season 15 is going to be a historic season. Get ready — get ready for great talent, get ready for a wild ride on that sewing machine.”

Are you excited about Season 15 of Project Runway? Do you have any favorite old challenges that you want to see repeated?

[Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Project Runway]