Parsons TV boost
- Last Updated: 6:30 AM, August 20, 2012
- Posted: 2:19 AM, August 20, 2012
If only she had the same impact on every school.
“Project Runway” host Heidi Klum is crowing about how the reality show has transformed Parsons the New School for Design into a household name and boosted enrollment in its fashion program almost four-fold since it first aired in 2004.
“I’m really proud that ‘Project Runway’ has made such a big mark on New York City, especially the Fashion District,” she told The Post. “We have been shooting here for so many years, and I feel very much part of the fabric of the neighborhood, so to speak.
“I can’t tell you how many times the classic double-decker bus tour has gone by Parsons where I see people looking at the building, trying to see what’s going on.
“Sometimes, I’ll wave if I happen to be by a window! It’s really great — we are a true New York show.”
In its 10th season, the Lifetime series, formerly on Bravo, films at Parsons in the Garment District and at other city locations, including the Metropolitan Museum, Radio City Music Hall and Times Square.
Mayor Bloomberg hailed Klum and her co-host, ex-Parsons chair Tim Gunn, at Gracie Mansion last week.
“ ‘Project Runway’ is truly a New York institution, showcasing our local fashion industry and iconic landmarks, as well as inspiring designers from around the world to come to the city,” said the mayor, who also praised the show for raising Parsons’ enrollment.
Gunn, who left Parsons in 2007, but only after guiding its fledgling fashion school to international acclaim, believes most of the fashion-design department’s success can be attributed to “Runway.”
“Not only are applications up, but enrollments are up,” he said. “When I took over the Department of Fashion Design in 2000, there were 220 students. When I left in 2007, there were 600. Today, there are over 1,000, and the department is now a School of Fashion with a dean.
“In fact, fashion-design enrollments are up all over the nation!”
Executive producer Desiree Gruber says “Runway” is more than just a show now.
“We actually remade the Rockettes costumes this year for a challenge,” she said.
“The show is an NYC landmark,” she said.
“It shoots at Parsons The New School for Design and Mood Fabrics each week, not to mention the many NY-based setups for challenges at locations ranging from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Battery Park to Radio City Music Hall and Times Square.”
Until “Runway” became a hit, the school’s most famed alumni were Donna Karan and Anna Sui — although neither actually graduated.
Parsons officials couldn’t be reached for comment.
Additional reporting by Antonio Antenucci