Heidi Klum Dishes On ‘Project Runway’ Season 16 Filming: Says Designers ‘Not Happy’ With Plus-Sized Twist

The16th season of Project Runway has been filming for over four weeks now, and in between judging the runway challenges, Heidi Klum has been promoting her new book of revealing photos, Heidi Klum by Rankin. The naked photos of her, taken by celebrity photographs Rankin over the past decade, include fantasy pics of Heidi clad only a smile, Heidi in the tub, and pregnant Heidi, with melted chocolate poured over her bare torso, has garnered her a lot of international press.

While dishing to the Daily Mail why she was considered “too curvy” for high fashion, she revealed that this season’s Project Runway plus-sized twist is driving this season’s designers crazy, and the former Victoria’s Secret model reveals why she wished the Emmy-winning show had been the leader in the recent plus-sized fashion trend.

Although many call Heidi Klum “the body,” the German-born supermodel explained that when she first started out as a model, she was “turned down” by Paris, Milan, London, and New York runway shows because she was “too big” for fashion.

According to a 2009 Bild article, German designer Wolfgang Joop claimed that Heidi was “too heavy” for high fashion.

“She is no runway model. Heidi Klum is simply too heavy and has too big a bust. And she always grins so stupidly. That is not avant-garde – that is commercial.”

Although Klum has always been considered sexy and curvy, she has never been considered plus-sized. Yet, her curves could easily be considered the forerunner for the current trend of plus-sized models on the catwalk and on covers. Some of the plus-sized models most frequently seen on runways now include Ashley Graham, Georgia Pratt, Marquita Pring, and Precious Lee. In fact, Project Runway Season 4 winner Christian Siriano has been using plus-sized models in his shows since last fall. Although during his winning season, Siriano had some issues with the “real woman” challenge.


Klum easily segued from her own experience of being too curvy into the new season of Project Runway. Klum revealed that for the very first time, this season, there will be models of all shapes and sizes.

“Project Runway will feature models of all sizes this season, we will have that for the first time.”

Throughout this entire season, there will be a rotation of models of various sizes, including plus-sized, and the early report is that the designers are none too pleased. Each challenge, the designers are getting a different sized model.

“My designers were not happy about it, I have to say, but I told them, if you want to be a good designer, you have to design for people of all sizes, of any shape.”

To be fair to the designers, dressing a “normal” model is the most ideal way to showcase your fashion design. This is why for years models have been bone-thin, as they have been considered living, breathing, clothes hangers for the artistic vision of the fashion designer.

When a curvy or plus-sized model is brought into the mix, the design most likely will need to be altered and could possibly be compromised in order for the model to look good in the garment.

In the plus-sized category alone, there are four different body shapes: triangle, inverted triangle, circle, and the figure eight. The designers who have dressed more “normal” women could have the advantage this season, yet, all designers will most likely have to spend more time adjusting proportions to make sure that the fit is right and that the design puts them at the top. Considering that they are only given a day for most challenges, this is going to be a tall order for the designers this season.


Fans of the show may also be curious to see if the designers who do a better job with a plus-sized model will be graded higher than one that is what we considered a normal model. Klum has revealed that after four weeks, the designers are adapting and making the adjustments. No matter what, Heidi has told the new crop of reality show designers that they have to make it work, as this is going to be the new normal.

“One size does not fit all and you can’t get away with just designing for what you think a ‘model’ body is.”

The America’s Got Talent judge also revealed that she regretted that they were not the forerunners of this movement. Although every season the show has had a “real woman challenge,” it has taken Project Runway 16 seasons to dare to become more diverse with model size.

“This is what we see in fashion now and this should have done this way earlier. I wish we would have been the pioneers of that [movement] instead of following it.”

Yet, Heidi may not want to be so hard on the show. In the controversial 14th season of Project Runway, plus-sized designer Ashley Nell Tipton had a groundbreaking finale show. All of her models were plus-sized, wearing her frothy pastels garments that were quite reminiscent of Madonna during her Desperately Seeking Susan era. Kelly Osborne was an instant fan, totally blown away by Tipton’s brave move.

After her show, the fashion world seemed far more receptive to plus-sized models on the runway. Tipton has found a great deal of success in the plus-sized design world, including creating a collection for JCPenney and designing fashionable plus-sized patterns for Simplicity.


Despite the hoopla, Tim Gunn was not a fan of her designs, calling Tipton’s collection “hideous.” The Project Runway mentor felt that Kelly Dempsey and her glittery ’70s, disco-inspired looks should have won.


Project Runway Season 16 premieres on Lifetime on August 16.

This year, New York Fashion Week begins on September 7 through September 15. The top Project Runway designers will be showcasing their collection during that time. It will be assumed that the designers will be required to have at least one plus-sized model on the runway.

Another Project Runway Season 16 spoiler could possibly be related to a new Heidi Klum clothing line. The supermodel recently announced that she has designed a collection for the German supermarket chain, Lidl, and it is assumed that this season’s Heidi Klum challenge will be to design a piece for that collection. If there is going to be plus-sized models on the new season of Project Runway, does this also mean the collection will also have plus-sized garments?

Are you looking forward to the new season of Project Runway? What do you think of the season twist of plus-sized models being rotated in with normal models?

[Featured Image by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week]