En garde, avant-garde! The futuristic, fashion-forward designs of 'Project Runway'

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Without question, the most thrilling and exciting challenges on "Project Runway" revolve around avant-garde designs. The term avant-garde is French and refers to designs that are experimental, innovative, and ahead of their time. The first few seasons of "Project Runway" didn't offer an avant-garde challenge, but now the challenge is done almost every season. While these creations may be impractical for everyday wear, "Project Runway" designers have used avant-garde challenges to create some truly memorable garments.

Season 10

Most recently, the designers were tasked with creating an avant-garde look, to be judged by guest Zoe Saldana. There were tons of great looks, including Christopher's bird-inspired creation and Melissa's multi-colored gown and vest combo. Dmitry won the challenge with his interpretation of a business suit, paired with a bare back and bold collar.


In the first All-Star season of "Project Runway," the designers were asked to incorporate LED lights into their designs, with each design being walked down a runway lit by blacklights. Somewhat surprisingly, it was Austin who stepped out of his comfort zone and took home the win with a full-bottomed dress inspired by the stars at night.

Season 9

In the episode "The Art of the Matter," the designers had to take inspiration for their avant-garde looks from the paintings created by children who were also art students. The paintings included freaky trees and sad portraits, and produced some interesting responses from the fashionistas. Anthony Ryan won with a daring gown covered with fabric "brushstrokes."

Season 8

In the episode "Hats Off to You," the designers had to create outfits that would complement an avant-garde hat designed by Philip Treacy. Surprisingly, many of the designs were quite tame, so as to not distract from the glorious hats. Michael C. won with a bold bronze dress with, of course, tons of draping.

Season 6

The challenge to create a surfer-inspired look for the episode "Rumble on the Runway" got a surprise twist: The designers also needed to create a second, avant-garde look inspired by their surfer look. Ra'mon won, and then a second surprise rocked the runway: Ra'mon's team leader Mitchell was the one who got sent home.

Season 5

The cleverly titled episode "What's Your Sign?" saw the designers creating avant-garde looks inspired by signs of the zodiac. Jerrell's Sagittarius-inspired design won, with a double elimination sending Blayne and Terri home.

Season 4

In the show's first-ever avant-garde challenge, the designers worked in teams of two to create a look inspired by the hairstyles their models were sporting. With only $300 to spend and a photo shoot for TRESemme on the line, Christian won the challenge for creating a ruffled mocha dress alongside Chris March.
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