The second season of Bravo’s Top Design premieres tonight, and the show itself has undergone something of a remodel, with the help of a new production team (the Magical Elves responsible for enchanting such shows as Project Runway) and a new host, India Hicks, intrepid island dweller and daughter of design legend David Hicks. But not to fear, chipper design cheerleader Todd Oldham hasn’t left the show; he’s just switched to the role of mentor to the 13 contestants. “The mentoring is my favorite part,” said Oldham in a recent call with reporters. “This was the no homework job. I wasn’t learning lines this season, just responding to contestants.” Avuncular potter Jonathan Adler will reprise his role as head judge along with returning judges Elle Decor editor-in-chief Margaret Russell and the enduringly fascinating Kelly Wearstler.
After acing a screen test that consisted of a guest appearance on Larry King Live, Hicks was thrilled to join the Top Design crew, which gave her the opportunity to meet Adler and Wearstler, whose designs happens to routinely references the work of her father. “Jonathan and Kelly are out there in the field so they know what it takes to succeed,” said Hicks in the same conference call. “These are real pros judging, and it makes a big difference.” They’ll be weighing in on challenges that require the contestants, who range in age from 24 to 40, to “design out of the box, quite literally,” said Hicks on the change from the white box of last season to “real places and real settings.” Among this season’s tasks: redesigning a fall out shelter and competing in a full-on “design triathlon.”
As for those competing for the $100,000 cash prize and a four-page editorial showcase in Elle Decor, we think we already spy an UnBeige favorite: Wisit. The Illinois-born, Parsons-educated designer counts among his design icons Stephane Boudin, Billy Baldwin, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and also, as luck would have it, David Hicks.