Tim Gunn Dishes on 'Project Runway' Season 12: Find Out if the Beloved Mentor Rescues a Designer From Elimination

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"Project Runway" Season 12 premieres this week on Lifetime! Longtime fans of the reality competition are excited for the fresh changes to the format, including real-time social media interaction and increased runway duties for mentor Tim Gunn. In a phone interview, Gunn revealed some tantalizing facts about the new season. Here are four exciting Season 12 revelations from the lips of Gunn himself.

1. Gunn's new "rescue" ability will be used during Season 12 to save an eliminated designer.

This season, Gunn has the opportunity to give one eliminated designer a second chance. This power is new for Season 12, and Gunn explains that it came to be after Gunn confronted the judges during Seasons 10 and 11.

"In Season 10, there's an episode where I storm the judges' circle, and it was completely unplanned," he said. "I was so irate about what the judges weren't understanding about the challenge and a particular designer. And in Season 11, Challenge 11, I thought she's [Michelle Lesniak Franklin] entirely too talented; I felt culpable for her going home. So I went to the judges to save her, and she won the whole season."

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So the result of these incidents is a much-welcome change! "The producers decided to formalize this for this season," he explained. "I honestly thought that I would not have any reason to use the ability, or if I did, I wouldn't use it until the end of the season. But I will tell you now that I do use it, and it's not at the end of the season."

When asked if he was happy with his choice of who to save, Gunn said he was "delighted" with his timing.

"I never thought, 'Oh I shouldn't have, because then I could have saved that person.' I really agree with who the judges think should go home, with the exception of that one case."

2. Season 12 will be filled with workroom drama.

When asked whether the $500,000 prize package was causing the competitors to be more cutthroat than in past seasons, Gunn explained that "Runway" workroom drama has little to do with cash and prizes.

"It's a very interesting chemistry this season, and I think it has nothing to do with the prize package," he told reporters. "In many ways, this is a more collegial group than I'm used to; they actually reach out to each other and help each other and console each other. But there is a lot of drama."

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As it turns out, Gunn isn't a big fan of the dramatics so common in every season of "Project Runway."

"The producers love the drama, the network loves the drama, but I'm not a big fan," he admitted. "I'm confident that all the drama is 'ego-based,' and when you fall short of your expectations you have for yourself, some people react with more of a 'take the high road' approach than others. A lot of the acting out you see in the workroom comes from embarrassment in previous challenges."

3. The "Runway Redemption" contestant has changed quite a bit since last being on the show.

One of the most intriguing Season 12 developments is the "Runway Redemption" contest, where fans voted for their favorite past designer to get a second shot at "Runway" glory. Fans were asked to vote for either Valerie Mayen (Season 8), Ra'mon-Lawrence Coleman (Season 6), or Kate Pankoke (Season 11).

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The "Runway Redemption" winner will be revealed during the premiere, and Gunn notes that this particular contestant has changed since his/her last appearance on the show. When asked how much, Gunn emphatically said, "Oh, considerably. Considerably. For, me, it's a whole new [contestant's name]."

4. The premiere features a pretty bad wardrobe malfunction, and Gunn was not amused.

In the Season 12 premiere, one designer's look caused a model to experience a pretty embarrassing wardrobe malfunction. When asked about the accidental flesh-flash, Gunn simply said, "Ew."

"It was vulgar. It should not happen," he added. "It's offensive to everyone -- the judges, the audience, everyone."

"Project Runway" premieres Thursday, 7/18 at 9 PM on Lifetime.

Check out Heidi Klum's all-time hottest looks in designs by "Project Runway" contestants: 

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