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Fashion Star, Episode 1: Hot Under the Collarby Tyler Sandersfeld -- 03/14/2011
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Do you want to cover Fashion Star? Reality News Online is currently in need of a recapper to take over for Tyler! If you’re interested, check out our Write for Us page and send an e-mail to the Editors!
Welcome to a whole new breed of fashion fans! Ever since NBC-owned Bravo lost Project Runway to Lifetime, they’ve been trying hard to fill the hole the surprise hit left behind. They did okay with The Fashion Show, but still haven’t topped the original in the ratings, as far as I know. Can NBC itself take over the fashion-themed reality market with Fashion Star? Let’s find out.
Each week, an ever-dwindling number of designers (starting at 14) will create a set of looks with the help of three mentors: singer/actress/reality TV embarrassment Jessica Simpson; non-singer/non-actress/reality TV embarrassment Nicole Richie; and award-winning menswear designer John Varvatos. At least Jessica and Nicole have their own fashion brands, so that’s a point in their favor. The designers will show off their looks, and the mentors will critique them. In other words, all three mentors will play the roles of Tim Gunn, Michael Kors, and Nina Garcia at once. Well, I doubt they’ll be as deliciously snarky as either Michael or Nina, but we’ll see. Unfortunately, host Elle Macpherson will not perform double-duty as a judge, unlike Heidi Klum or Iman.
The real power on this show, however, belongs to the three buyers: Nicole “Nikki” Christie of Swedish fast-fashion mega-chain H&M; Terron Schaffer of the iconic high-end shop Saks Fifth Avenue; and Caprice Willard of the classic American department store and Thanksgiving Day Parade producer Macy’s. If the buyers like what they see, they will make an offer to obtain exclusive rights to that look, which the viewers can buy the day after the episode’s broadcast. Get your credit cards ready, viewers/shoppers! If all three buyers pass on a designer’s collection, that designer is in jeopardy of elimination. The buyers will choose some of the weaker no-sells, then the mentors get to save one before the buyers make the final cut. The final winner will get a contract with all three stores worth $6 million.
So far, the production definitely looks like an NBC show. I don’t necessarily mean that in a good way. After a complete waste-of-time opening montage with spoiler-rific moments strewn here and there, the show starts proper with a strange dance routine around motorcycles, followed by masked models showing off the Elle MacPherson intimates collection. Other than this red-striped bustier-thingy, they all look like bras and panties to me. Why am I recapping a fashion show, again? The position is open, folks. If you can write, especially about fashion, let RNO know.
This week, the challenge is to create a signature item, then create three looks based on that item. It’s simple enough for a first challenge, unlike the “grocery store” challenge that kicked off Project Runway. Then again, this show is all about commercial appeal, so that kind of challenge will never see the light of day.
First to show off their looks are Orly Shani, a 26-year-old bartender from New York, and Edmond Newton, a 32-year-old hairstylist from Atlanta. Orly (I am so tempted to say “YA RLY” every time I type that name) is broke, which means she has to work until 4 am. Her line is called tuc+wes, which is “sew+cut” spelled backward. Orly likes reversible and convertible fashions because, having little money herself, she prefers looks that she can get more than one use out of. I love her already. Her signature piece is inspired by walking in NYC in a mini-skirt that got hit by a wind tunnel, “flashing her hoo-hah to every cab in New York.” Thus, she has created a fitted high-waist skirt with zip-on skirt “shells” to go over the base.
Edmond considers his style to be “Studio 54 meets 2012.” His signature style is a bubble cocktail dress. Ugh, I have never understood bubble skirts. They just look like they’d be a pain to sit in. Then again, I’m a 6’7” dude weighing 290 pounds (hooray for being under 300 for the first time in a long time). I will never wear any skirt unless I try an ill-advised career as a drag queen. Not to say I haven’t been practicing, but trust me, you are not ready for this jelly.
Getting back on track, the runway show begins with Lady Gaga’s “Edge of Glory” setting the mood. Orly’s convertible mini-skirt line’s looks are all clean, if a little safe at first. The removable shells are, well, removed, which makes the line quite intriguing. I love that the “shells” can become scarves, as well. Edmond’s signature look is simply called “cocktail dress,” according to the special effect text. I like the two bubble dresses as much as I like any bubble dress, which is not at all. The third outfit, though, is lovely. Probably because it’s not a bubble. The rosette patterns do protrude, but not in a way that looks too terribly uncomfortable. Jessica states her preference for this black-and-white combo, which foreshadows success for Edmond.
Nicole says Orly got oohs and ahhs from the energetic audience. John thinks the line needs refinement, but gives respect for playful innovation. Jessica loves twofers like this, which Orly repeats her like for because she’s broke. As for Edmond, Jessica restates her love for the black-and-white dress. Nicole didn’t think the ‘50s dress matched with the more ‘80s dresses, but she also loved the black-and-white.
For Edmond, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue are out, but Macy’s offers $60,000. Caprice is wowed by how well the line will work for the curvy, well-endowed woman that shops at Macy’s. For Orly, H&M is out, but Macy’s offers $50,000. Saks, however, offers $80,000. Macy’s can change the bid, but Caprice decides not to top Terron’s offer. Terron loves the new, novel idea. If I was slim, rich, and female, I’d love to buy Orly’s convertibles. However, you can buy either Orly’s convertible mini-skirt or Edmond’s cocktail dress as soon as… oh, heck with it. NBC is churning out enough advertising as it is. I don’t need to add any more. Also, do the designers actually get that money? I’m not entirely sure, but I hope it’s true.
As is befitting of NBC, we now get a pointless flashback of the designers arriving, meeting the mentors, and working on their pieces. These designers will get help not just from the mentors, but from makeup artists, hairstylists, pattern-makers, and sewers.1 2 3 Next-->
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