'Project Runway' makes a hot mess of a trade

Klum-maniacs and Gunn-lovers, take heart -- you'll soon be reunited with "Project Runway." The original fashion reality show is finally out of court and will soon be back on the small screen. The new season bows Aug. 20.

Entertainment Weekly's luscious preview of season six included some news on the show's longtime sponsors Bluefly and TRESemme: they both got the Auf Wiedersehen treatment.

The TRESemme development is hardly a bombshell -- the haircare line is now the lead sponsor of 'The Fashion Show,' the design competition cooked up by Bravo in an effort to hoodwink satisfy fans missing their 'Runway' fix. So TRESemme simply stayed with the network they'd been working with all along -- and hopefully negotiated themselves a new discount deal, since 'Fashion,' helmed by Isaac Mizrahi and Kelly Rowland of Destiny's Child, exhibits less chemistry and moxie than 'Runway' has in its manicured pinky finger.

The Bluefly-Macy's swap is a much more curious development. Bluefly -- an accessible, friendly, online luxury pioneer -- always seemed to me to be a perfect fit with the scrappy 'Runway.' And as the retailmongers over at Racked already pointed out, the Bluefly Accessories Wall became as much a familiar emblem of the show as Nina Garcia's flawless highlights.

I can't imagine that Bluefly would want to break up with 'Runway' -- so we have to speculate that this was Lifetime's move. But why trade a longtime sponsor with a young, hip audience for an old, boxy department store with perhaps the most generic accessories collections on the planet? (I mean, Target is right now selling Felix Rey and Erickson Beamon alongside Rubbermaid and Clorox. Why is Macy's hawking the same tired Dooney & Burke bags and Nine West wallets year after year?)

The only thing I can think of is that a few 'Runway' principals are longtime Macy's chums. That's certainly the case with Michael Kors -- his designs trickle on and off Bluefly, but his MICHAEL Michael Kors line is one of Macy's most prized and widely carried brands. Then there's Tim Gunn, whom Macy's trots out for everything from collection previews to accessorizing seminars. And finally, there's Lifetime itself, which already counts Macy's as a sponsor for its program 'How to Look Good Naked.'

Nepotism or not, I'll be holding my breath the first time the season six designers rush over to the Macy's Accessories Wall to find that perfect accoutrement -- and I pity the designer who has to send beady-eyed earrings like these down the catwalk.
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