Since the folks behind "Project Runway" invented the perfect fashion reality show, others have tried to find a way to duplicate it. Rather than reinvent, they've mostly tried variations of the theme, but either the elements weren't quite right or the hosts weren't quite right.
"24 Hour Catwalk" (10 tonight, Lifetime) doesn't try to reinvent either, but the creators have figured out what works on "PR," and what do you know, they've come up a show that feels like the funkier, quirkier little sister of "PR." Kinda like Beyonce and Solange.
"Catwalk" moves faster and has less at stake ($10,000 -- not bad for a day's work); four designers compete but two are eliminated after a first cut challenge. (Think "Top Chef's" quick fire challenge.) Then the two remaining designers get a sewing team and have a day to come up with six looks based on a particular theme for a final fashion show.
Brit hipster Alexa Chung hosts; judges are designer Cynthia Rowley, author/fashion editor Derek Blasberg and publicist James LaForce. It's pretty clear Blasberg will be the show's Michael Kors, the quick wit with the memorable phrases.
The head-to-head competition makes the show fun; you get an immediate sense of each designer's sensibilities, strengths and weaknesses. And the sewing teams get to be a kind of Greek chorus of ridicule; naturally the creators managed to find folks with an attitude that sew.
Chung, if you're not familiar, is an "It" girl in the U.K., known for her alt boyfriends and her sense of fashion. As a host, she brings a cheeky dry charm that's appealing. But I found some of the pieces she wore on the episode I watched a bit distracting; kind of fussy for no good reason. And her bony legs in those big platform shoes? Minnie Mouse.
No matter. "24 Hour Runway" is looking good.