'Project Runway': On the scene at the show's splashy Times Square fashion show

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Image Credit: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for A&E

Out-of towners got the chance to be part of the upcoming season of Project Runway when Heidi Klum hosted a fashion show smack dab in the middle of New York City’s Times Square last night.

After welcoming the crowd, Klum took her seat beside fellow Runway stars Michael Kors and Nina Garcia and guest judges Lauren Graham and costumer Patricia Field to view the designs created by the new crop of contestants, 16 hopefuls competing for the chance to win prizes including $100,000 seed money from L’Oreal Paris, a fashion spread in Marie Claire, a 2013 Lexus GS 350 and the chance to design and sell their collection at retail chain Lord & Taylor.

Though the audience didn’t get to see anyone auf’d, they were treated to a lesson on the realities of reality television. “I warned you, because this is TV we’re going to do it one more time,” Klum explained after the 32 models (each contestant presented two designs) completed their first finale walk. “And maybe this time we can get some different music, something a little more groovy.”

Sure enough, after a taking a few minutes to reset, the whole spectacle began again, this time to a more upbeat soundtrack. The crowd seemed just as amped — tourists atop red double-decker buses strained to catch a glimpse of the action — though more than a few of the models appeared to be having a hard time navigating the runway in their wobbly platforms.

Satisfied with the second go-around, Klum was whisked into a waiting car while guest judge Field (known for her work on Sex and the City) took the time to have a post-show cigarette and reflect on the designs she’d just seen. “I saw some interesting…concepts and ideas,” she said diplomatically of the contestants’ work, which sometimes veered between the derivative and the flat out disastrous. “And being part of a live fashion show in Times Square was definitely a New York moment. I’ve had many in my life, so I should know.”

Project Runway fans can share in the moment (and learn what the judges really thought of the designs) when the show’s 10th season premieres Thursday, July 19 on Lifetime.

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