Fashion Design Competition May Be Paired With 'Queer Eye'

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NEW YORK ( -- Cotton Inc., Banana Republic and L'Oreal have all signed up to sponsor a new Miramax TV reality series that will search for the next big
Photo: AP
The new reality show will be hosted by German supermodel Heidi Klum.
fashion designer, according to executives familiar with negotiations.

Called Project Runway, the one-hour series will be hosted by model Heidi Klum and is expected to debut in November after a talent search this summer. The prize for the show will be a role designing for Banana Republic. This executive said Banana Republic's involvement in the show is aimed at shoring up the retailer's reputation for "Americana-style" clothing.

'Queer Eye' pairing'
Bravo, the NBC Universal-owned network, is looking at pairing the new show with hit reality makeover show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. A spokesman for the network was not immediately available for comment.

As part of the sponsorship deal, Banana Republic, which is a unit of Gap Inc., has agreed to promote the show in 400 of its stores. The move underscores a growing movement by marketers to use the retail environment as a media channel. L'Oreal, meanwhile, will provide many of the beauty-care products that are expected to be featured in the series.

Next big designer
The premise of the reality show is the search for the next big designer. Hachette Filipacchi's fashion magazine Elle is involved in promoting a talent search throughout the nation's fashion schools. The show's participants are expected to share a loft in downtown New York. They will then be assigned a number of tasks including designing a casual-Friday outfit.

One executive close to the talks said, "One element will involve a design for a dress for the Golden Globes. The expectation is that NBC would then promote that on, say, Today or Access Hollywood."

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