The popular TV competition returns March 14 on Bravo

By Claudia Harmata
March 08, 2019 01:48 PM
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After a two-year hiatus, Project Runway’s new season is just one week away — with almost an entirely new cast.

With 16 seasons under her belt as the host, Heidi Klum felt it was time to pass the torch, and supermodel Karlie Kloss was ready to step into her stylish shoes.

“I’m really excited to be a part of this next chapter of the show, to be a part of this incredible cast and bring the show back to Bravo,” Kloss told PEOPLE on Thursday night at the New York City premiere.

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Kloss, who said she grew up watching the show, was determined to bring her all. Plus, Klum previously told PEOPLE that the show was in “good hands” with Kloss.

“Heidi has been really supportive,” Kloss said Thursday. “I really believe that this is such a powerful platform to showcase these designers and this next generation talent, and for me it was really important to bring everything that I had, the experience, and everything that I can to this show to help these designers grow and learn.”

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Tim Gunn left the role of the mentor in the hands of former Project Runway winner and talented fashion designer, Christian Siriano – who recently broke the internet with the Oscars gown he designed for Billy Porter. Working as a designer while also working on the show is what Siriano says made him a pefect mentor for the new contestants.

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“What’s great is really that I’m filming the show and when we have breaks, I would go to my office and be back to work,” Siriano explained to PEOPLE. “So I was giving them real advice from a designer who is working in the business right now.”

He added, “I think that is very important for them, because they’d be like ‘Oh this was inspired by Beyoncé,’ and I’m like well I dressed Beyoncélast week, she’s not going to wear this. I know what the stylists are pulling, and I know what the retailers are asking for. So, I hope that that inspired them.”

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According to Nina García, the only returning cast member, this season, the judges find themselves with a lot more access to the contestants, learning their backgrounds and understanding “where their creative process starts.” Working with an entirely new cast has been “so fun” for García, who has judged the show since 2004.

“The judges have been incredibly exciting to work with,” García said. “We have a very diverse group of people, from the models to the cast to the judges. It feels very inclusive, it feels very now, it feels very representative of what our culture is like.”

Season 17 of Project Runway premieres March 14 at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.