In Project Runway 16 designers compete against one another in weekly design challenges held at the Parsons New School For Design in New York City.
Eager to give aspiring designers a chance to break into the notoriously difficult-to-crack fashion world, supermodel Heidi Klum heads a panel of industry luminaries, including top women's and men's wear designer Michael Kors and Elle Magazine fashion director Nina Garcia, who serve as judges and industry mentors charged with selecting and molding the budding designers.
The judges eliminate one contestant each week until only three top performers remain. The final three face off during New York's Olympus Fashion Week in February.
There are also guest judges each week based on the specific challenge. Tim Gunn, Chair of the Parsons The New School For Design, guides the contestants through each of their challenges.
The winning designer will walk away with $100,000 in seed money to help them launch their own line and a 2007 Saturn SkyRoadster, both provided by Saturn.
The winner's designs will be featured in a spread in ELLE, photographed by the magazine's world-renowned Publication Director, Gilles Bensimon. They will also receive a mentorship from the Banana Republic Design Team.
Of special interest to South African viewers will be contestant Kara Janx, who was born and lived in Johannesburg until she'd completed her studies, before moving to the US to further her career.
The second season of Project Runway starts off with a look at the casting process that lands 14 contestants a chance to become the next great American fashion designer.
A week before arriving in Manhattan, 16 semifinalists are given six yards of plain white fabric and $20 to create an outfit that best represents who they are as a fashion designer. On arrival in New York, the designers quickly size each other up before they're told to have their models ready for the first runway competition - in just two hours!
The stress and anxiety of the tight timeline eats at each of them but especially Season 1's Daniel Franco, who has returned for vindication. After the show, the judges ask the contestants to defend their designs.
In the end, two are sent packing, and the final 14 cast members are in place.
Episode 201: The Clothes Off Your Back
Judges: Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, Diane von Furstenberg
Heidi invites the designers to a party to congratulate them for making it and tells them that Tim Gunn will be there to deliver their first challenge. Before the party, the contestants move into their apartments and discover their new roommates before preparing for the evening's festivities.
At the party, they learn the details of their challenge - they must design an outfit using only the clothes off their backs. Some are not as excited to redesign their cherished pieces as others, and one designer refuses to incorporate an article she wore to the party into her design.
Later on the runway, the designers are questioned on their use of innovation and one hopeful is ousted from the competition.
Episode 202: All Dolled Up
Judges: Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, Lily Martinez
The contestants are left puzzled when they're told their next challenge will be designing for one of fashion's most important and stylish icons. They're taken on a field trip to meet the fashion luminary and discover it's Barbie. Their job is to create a life-sized outfit for the Barbie "My Scene" collection.
A day into the challenge, the designers are shocked to discover they must also create a miniature version for the doll. But the extra work has a reward - the winning designer will have their outfit manufactured and sold as part of the "My Scene" line.
During the runway show, the judges critique the designers on their vision, and in the end one must go home.
Episode 203: Team Lingerie
Judges: Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Alessandra Ambrosio, Cynthia Rowley
The designers must create a lingerie line consisting of three looks. Each designer is given the opportunity to pitch Heidi on their vision and she picks four of them to move forward with their line.
These four designers pick teams from the remaining contestants and begin creating their lingerie lines. Sparks fly in the workroom as tensions between designers reach an all time high.
In the most dramatic elimination yet, one designer is sent home from the competition in an emotional farewell.
Episode 204: Social Scene
Judges: Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, Nicky Hilton
Fashion maven and socialite Nicky Hilton employs the services of the Project Runway designers to make her a party dress. Nicky gives them a day and a half to complete their work and invites them to a trunk-show soiree so that she can check out their dresses.
Everyone scrambles to finish and ready themselves for the party where Nicky sizes up their work as well as their social skills. The next day on the runway she bestows her seal of approval on the winner and another designer is sent home.
Episode 205: Window Shopping
Judges: Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, Deborah Lloyd
The designers must make a "day to evening" ensemble for Banana Republic. To do this they are split into teams of two.
Working together proves difficult for some of the teams as the designers vie over creative control of the garment. The day of the runway show is filled with surprise when the teams are asked to design window displays for their outfits.
Banana Republic customers vote to determine the winning design and later on the runway, one team is sent home in a dramatic double elimination.
Episode 206: On Thin Ice
Judges: Heidi Klum, Anne Slowey, Michael Kors, Sasha Cohen
The designers are asked to create an ice skating outfit for Olympic figure skater, Sasha Cohen. Before beginning the design process Sasha treats them to figure skating lessons and the designers strut their stuff on the ice.
Later in the workroom, tension builds as the designers are openly critical about each other's work.
On the runway, one of the designers is put on the line for going way "over the top" and Sasha picks the winner, agreeing to wear their outfit in a future competition.
Episode 207: Inspiration
Judges: Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, Jay McCarroll
The designers are invited to the showroom of Fashion Designer Michael Kors. He talks about the importance of inspiration, hands them digital cameras and tells them to hit the streets of Manhattan to take pictures of the things that inspire them.
Later, they must choose one of their pictures as the inspiration for a garment. In the workroom, some designers seem more inspired than others who struggle to realize their vision.
On the runway, the contestants are surprised to discover Season 1's Jay McCarroll as the Guest Judge. Jay helps crown the winner and one designer is sent home.
Episode 208: Flower Power (aka: Garden Party)
Judges: Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, James Mischka, Mark Badgley
The contestants are asked to design a "Garden Party" dress. The morning of the challenge Tim Gunn takes them on a field trip to Manhattan's Flower District where they discover they must construct their garments using plants and flowers.
They are given an hour to shop and then return to the workroom to begin the painstaking work of making their dresses. Racing against the clock, the designers create an array of stunning work, making it a difficult decision for the judges on the runway.
Still, one designer comes out on top and one is sent home, but just barely.
Episode 209: Makeover
Judges: Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, Freddie Leiba
The designers are asked to give each other head-to-toe makeovers. Each designer is randomly assigned to another designer and they begin the process of reinventing each other's looks.
Make-up and styling figure prominently into the makeover and to help with this, the contestants are given the services of world-renowned make-up artist Collier Strong.
In the end, some designers are thrilled with their new look while others are left scratching their heads. One emerges as the winner and one must return to the workroom to pack.
Episode 210: What's Your Line?
Judges: Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, Michael Kors, Iman
The designers must create a red carpet dress that represents the collection they plan to show at Olympus Fashion Week. With four designers left and only three spots open for Fashion Week, the competition is fierce.
It becomes even fiercer when the designers discover that fashion icon Iman will be the Guest Judge and has agreed to wear the winning dress to a red carpet event.
On the runway, each designer makes their final case about why they should move on to Olympus Fashion Week. But in the end, there's only room for three and one of them must go home.
Episode 211: Olympic Fashion Week (1 x 2-hour series finale)