Utah’s very own “Queer Eye” guy, Tan France, has a new show. It’s a competition series featuring fashion designers.
And, apparently, Netflix wishes France would stop mentioning that other fashion design competition show when he talks about “Next In Fashion,” which is currently streaming on Netflix.
“I’m not allowed to say this but I’m going to say it because it’s the only way I can say it, even though Netflix has said, ‘You’ve got to stop saying this,’” France said. “Here it is. Because I truly can’t figure out another way to say it.
“Do you enjoy ‘Project Runway’? I love ‘Project Runway.’ [‘Next In Fashion’] is basically ‘Project Runway’ — which is the thing I’m not allowed to say — but, like, the most extreme version of it.”
France is right. It’s impossible to talk about a new fashion design competition without the context of “Project Runway,” which debuted 15 years ago and is currently in the midst of its 18th season. (It airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on Bravo.)
I don’t know that the new series is “the most extreme version” of the old one, but there are definitely huge similarities between the two. Both feature fashion designers competing to impress judges, who then decide which contestants created the best designs. And they eliminate the contestants they deem to have come up with the worst designs.
But there are also differences. The contestants on “Next” are more experienced and established; they’re not 22-year-olds just out of fashion school. “Next” also features a more international cast — from not just the U.S., but China, South Korea, India, Italy, the U.K., Mexico and more. (“Runway” also has international competitors, but they’re fewer in number.)
And France isn’t wrong when he argues that “Next In Fashion” is less gimmicky.
“You know on ‘Project Runway’ they’ll do, like, a trash bag challenge or a lightbulb challenge where you just take random stuff and make something out of it,” France said.
(It’s actually called the unconventional materials challenge.) “There’s none of that here,” France said. “I want to see fa-shun.”
Well, good. I know some people love the unconventional materials challenges, but I’ve never understood how a lack of talent in that area merits elimination. (See? It’s hard to talk about fashion competition without mentioning “Project Runway.”)
If you’re a fan of that other show, odds are you’ll like “Next In Fashion.” The designs are fascinating; the casting is good; and hearing the judges as they’re seeing the designs come down the runway is smart innovation.
And France and his co-host, Alexa Chung, are great. I’m struck by just how good France — who only reluctantly joined “Queer Eye” and didn’t even like to have his picture taken — has become as a TV host. His enthusiasm for the show, and for fashion, jumps off the screen.
Reality/competition remains sort of a weird genre for binge-o-rama Netflix. Watching all 10 episodes of “Next” in a weekend — in a day? — would be a bit much. And feel more than a bit repetitive.
But here’s the thing. You don’t have to watch them all at once. You can watch one or two at a time. One a week, for that matter, if you can avoid spoilers about who won.
I’m certainly not going to tell you. I hate spoilers. And I’m at least a bit surprised by how much I liked “Next In Fashion.”