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Bravo Ushers New ‘Project Runway’ Season in on New York Runway

New York – Bravo gave the 15 fashion designers competing in the upcoming season of Project Runway a chance to display their handiwork under a big tent at Lincoln Center Tuesday.

“You know, this is not like some small little camping tent,” Teutonic model and uber host Heidi Klum declared from atop the catwalk, as cameras rolled. “This is a real runway, a real fashion tent, and they’re all very excited.”

Each of the eight men and seven women competing in season four of the show – which premieres next Wednesday, Nov. 14, at 10 p.m. – had three designs that models showed off in runway walks.

While this correspondent is no fashion maven, cheers were high for designs that included a black off-the-shoulder cocktail dress by Rami Kashoui, age 31, who has made red-carpet wear for Paris Hilton; a black dress with a huge rhinestone-spangled V neck by Chris March, 44, who has designed for Madonna; and a daring three-piece lingerie number by Ricky Lizalde, 35, who helped Vera Wang launch a lingerie line.

Early reviews were positive. “If today’s first-ever Project Runway preview fashion show is any indication, Season 4 is going to be sew good,” USA Today’s Andrea Mandell wrote.

Bravo set up a video screen outside the tent so Lincoln Center onlookers could watch along.

Bravo president Lauren Zalaznick said with the large number of designers involved, the network wants to make every effort to give people the chance to see their work on the Web and on TV before “we start that rooting process.” The runway show, the first one Bravo has done to promote the returning series, is part of the effort.

Footage will be used in the biographical trailers Bravo is airing on each of the designers, who compete for $100,000 to launch a clothing line. The video can be integrated into the portraits “without giving anything away on the show,” she said.

Zalaznick posed for photos afterward with Klum, ‘Runway’ judging co-hosts Tim Gunn and Nina Garcia; and the stars of Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Orange County, who had front-row seats. She said of Runway that this edition has “truly the best cast ever. Meaning the most diverse. I think the most talented.”

Revealing little, she also said: “There are some major twists and turns. And when I say major, I know whereof I speak. But the quality play wins out first and foremost.”

Klum ended the show with her trademark: “Auf Wiedersehen!”