I went ahead and watched the premier of the second season of "The Fashion Show" on Bravo last night, and...it wasn't bad!
They did fix a lot of the problems that were inherent in the first season of the show:
The co-host: Kelly Rowland seemed an inappropriate choice for a show about fashion design. Iman is a great replacement. She's established and has a lot of experience in the fashion industry, working for and with many great designers. Just her presence alone brings a higher-caliber element to the show that was sorely missing before. She may even be more qualified to judge fashion that...GASP!...Heidi Klum. I do have a bit of an issue with her personality as portrayed on the show, it seems like she's trying to be like Heidi. I don't know if they just happen to have similar personalities or if that's the way the show has been scripted.
The consultations: They completely did away with doing a Runway-esque walk-through on the show and made Mizrahi the sole figure in the workroom. Rather than taking a look at the designs as the designers work on them, he looked at their idea boards prior to them beginning the work. This time around, he actually gave them guidance! However, I do wish it came later in the overall process.
The fashion show itself: While the designs were still shown in front of a full audience, Bravo did away with the guise that their opinions meant anything to the final results. Only the three main judges and judge had input into the final choices.
I am happy that they stuck the full audience. Along with allowing the contestants to control every aspect of their show (lighting, styling, choreography, etc.), it makes it like an actual fashion show and not just a competition.
Although I do still have some minor gripes with the show, my biggest issue is the format of the judging. It seems like an afterthought, like they made all of these changes, then realized they had not revised the judging. The winning team's designs were praised (no real critiquing) in front of all of the contestants, while the designs of the losing team were critiqued only in front of the losing team. It seemed to me to be disorganized.
The final show and the judging:
I will say though, many of the designs of the winning team were pretty damn good. The winner wasn't my favorite, though, I liked this little ruffly white number.
The strongest point of the show, besides Iman, is the guest judges. Much like replacing Rowland with Iman, they've replaced random judges with actual fashion players like Rachel Roy, Dita von Teese, Rachel Zoe and many others.
I am starting to become convinced that Bravo has a fairly strong replacement for "Project Runway," although I don't believe they'll ever reach the success of the original show, the changes they've made to this one show that they are serious to creating a unique product and I'll keep watching...for now.