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Project Runway season nine premieres July 28!

Lifetime’s Project Runway shakes things up for season nine with 20 new designers and one hot poster! Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Michael Kors and Nina Garcia are back for another round of high fashion challenges, eliminations and surprises, along with guest judges like Kim Kardashian, Christina Ricci, Zoe Saldana and Malin Akerman.

Heidi Klum strips down for Lifetime's Project Runway Season 9 poster

The new season of Project Runway starts with a bang Thursday, July 28, 2011. The show has upped the ante for season nine by bringing in 20 fresh designers who must duke it out to become one of the final 16 contenders.

Once they make the cut, however, there’s no resting on any laurels. The new crew of design divas, devils and darlings are up at the crack of dawn to compete in “one of the toughest first challenges in the series’ history,” according to Lifetime.

With the premiere a month off, folks are tittering about Heidi Klum’s sexy new Project Runway poster. “[Photographer] Robert Erdmann shot my Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover way back when, and he also shot this image,” Klum told “He’s great at making women feel confident and sexy. I love how this poster turned out and I love how Lifetime is pushing the envelope.”

The Project Runway crew returns to New York City to find a designer who does his/her own envelope pushing. Over the course of the 90-minute episodes, contestants will again flub, amaze and cat fight their way to the catwalk in hopes of earning a chance to show their lines at New York Fashion Week at Lincoln Center.

The show’s big winner will receive $100,000 from L’Oreal Paris to start his/her own line, a fashion spread in Marie Claire magazine, a $50,000 technology suite by HP and Intel, and the opportunity to design and sell an exclusive collection on The model paired with the winner of Project Runway will get to appear in the Marie Claire feature and receive $25,000 from L’Oreal Studio Secrets Professional.

Project Runway will kick off its ninth season Thursday, July 28, at 9 p.m. on Lifetime, but fans can get in on the fun now by following @projectrunway on Twitter and using the tag #projectrunway.

SPinOff UpdateS!

While Project Runway is set to heat up the summer, Lifetime also has two spinoffs in the works. The second Project Runway All-Stars still has no premiere date set but promises eight one-hour episodes that pit past fave contestants against each other. The brand new series Project Accessory doesn’t have a run date either, but is just wrapping up casting in New York, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles. Accessory artists will compete for a cash grand prize to help them launch their own fashion accessories business.

Stay tuned for more on the Project Runway spinoffs.

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