Fashion Star, Episode 2: Buy, Sell, and Tiradeby Tyler Sandersfeld -- 03/21/2011
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Welcome back, fashion fans! Last week on We Are Not Project Runway, and We Have the Middling Ratings to Prove It, we saw 14 designers make a first impression to the mentors and buyers. Six of them made a good impression and saw their designs make it to the racks of H&M, Macy’s, or Saks Fifth Avenue. Those designs sold out quite quickly, too, so mission accomplished there. Three of the eight no-sells faced elimination, with Nicholas and his “women have no say” attitude getting the first boot.
The ratings for the premiere weren’t quite as hot as Orly’s convertible skirts, though. It couldn’t quite average five million viewers. Considering that Project Runway got major kudos for topping four million viewers for an episode on cable, that is not a fantastic number for NBC. Well, it shouldn’t be fantastic for NBC, anyway. Although its competitors on CBS and ABC did beat Fashion Star in total viewers, it did win the 18-49 demographic with a 1.6 rating. We’ll see if there is any movement after this episode.
There is no pointless dance routine kicking off this episode. Elle Macpherson gets things started quickly, saying that the public got to get a look at the construction process over the past week. In the first group, Lisa Vian Hunter says she has a vintage-inspired brand and is always thinking Audrey Hepburn when she designs. John Varvatos tells her to drop the neck line on her pieces, and Lisa is mortified. Nicole Richie thinks Lisa needs to connect to a younger audience. Lisa eventually agrees with John’s changes, with the hope that the show will not be a disaster.
Ronnie Escalante hopes for an unexpected reveal in the back as he designed his looks. He boasts his work with superstars like Zac Posen, knowing that the buyers expect more. Kara Laricks decides to create a full piece after her near-elimination over a stupid accessory. She shows off the menswear detail to Jessica Simpson, who seemed to like it. Kara says she was a fourth-grade teacher for ten years. It’s important for Kara to prove herself and confirm her “be who you can be” mantra to her students.
It’s show time. To “I Like It” by Enrique Iglesias, Lisa starts the show with her Trudy day dress. It’s a simple design, but it looks nice with the popping colors and prints. Kara’s draped tie dress is a little too baggy for my taste, but it does make the models look thinner than they already do, and I do like the ties. Ronnie is last with his blouse with zipper detail. The opening just looks wonky, but at least it can be zipped up. But really, can we really count that as a plus?
Jessica loves Lisa’s design, especially the hot pink piece. Every sorority girl would want this, in her opinion. Nicole likes Ronnie’s idea, but the models look bottom-heavy and the backs could eat someone. Elle was worried that Kara would just do buttons. John says Kara rocks this week.
Lisa gets a $50,000 offer from Caprice Willard of Macy’s. She loves the pleats and color choices. Ronnie, however, gets no offers whatsoever. H&M’s Nicole “Nikki” Christie sees his passion, but the opening does not work for her. Kara improves on last week by getting a $50,000 from H&M, but Saks goes $80,000! Nikki ties Terron Schaffer’s offer at $80,000. Terron says Kara is no longer a one-trick pony, so he ups the offer to $90,000. Nikki matches again, so Terron goes up to $100,000. Wow! The bidding goes up to $110k, at which point Nikki lets go. This means Saks Fifth Avenue gets exclusive rights to the tie dress. However, Kara promises to make Nikki a dress on Elle’s request. Kara is in tears about this huge offer.
In the next group, Ross Bennett believes he has a charming gift with making his client feel like the center of attention. John reminds Ross that the buyers are looking for spring fashions. Ross, however, won’t change his heavy fabrics. He also thinks little of Oscar Fierro, as does Orly Shani. Oscar and his orange top hat don’t like Orly either, especially since she’s “just a bartender.” Okay, so much for being the likably crazy Salvadoran. Orly got a great response for her convertibles last week, so she’s doing something similar this week. Ross is confident in his jacket.
To Ke$ha’s annoying hit “Blow,” small Oscar’s cape dress starts the show. The colors are flashy, the draping is trashy. It’s time for Fierro to go. Sorry, I’ve always wanted to stick a limerick into one of my recaps. Don’t kill me. Orly’s convertible maxi dress is cute, but two of the dresses seem a little long. Also, the conversion is a little too similar to last week’s skirt gimmick. Ross’s tailored bolero jacket is presented in three nice fall designs, including a tweed houndstooth that I quite adore. But this is an oddly warm spring, dude. Anyone who would buy these pieces this week would have to have some real body heat control issues.
Nicole feels that Ross’s tailoring is cute, but the fabric might not sell for spring. Jessica loves two-fers as usual, and she is excited to see what Orly can do with it next week. Jessica is not over the moon with Oscar’s designs, though. She does admit to dreaming about giving birth to the little guy. John is disappointed in these “hoochie,” “4 AM” dresses. Oscar is not designing for “hoochie,” but there are those kinds of women watching and buying, he hopes. I hope not.
Sadly, the buyers don’t buy that. Nikki recognizes the goal for partywear, but Oscar needs to focus on the quality of the fabrics he chooses. Ross is also shut out. Nikki chastises the heavy tweeds and feathers, while Terron says there is too much in the embellishments. Orly, surprisingly, also gets no bids. Caprice says she struggled, but the hanger appeal of these dresses just didn’t justify a bid. Oscar throws an unintelligible fit backstage.
Montage time. Luciana Scarabello, Nikki Poulos, and Edmond Newton all get no offers, and that’s all we see of them. This is the second week for Luciana to get stuck in the montage. She’ll probably get cut next week. Nzimiro Oputa and his engineering experience risked his career to go into fashion design without a backup plan. For the first time, all three buyers offer a bid on his cute men’s shirts. The $50,000 bid from Saks is outdone by the $70,000 from H&M and Macy’s, so Nzimiro chooses Macy’s. The first all-bid, and it’s given the montage treatment?
The final group is ready to go. Barbara Bates is hoping for the best after getting no bids last week. Sarah Parrott admits that she does not know her customer. She also hates her current look, which is a drab-looking skirt. Jessica suggests a wider waistband, but worries that Sarah consistently pushes herself to the time limit. Lizzie Parker concedes to gravitating to muted colors due to living in Seattle, but she hopes she doesn’t go home due to being true to her brand. John says Sarah is all over the place as she continues to fuss over her designs. Sarah decided to toss the original skirt and opt for wide-leg trousers. They started to look like fancy prison clothes to her, but she reasons that at least these are better than the original skirt idea. Lizzie hopes Sarah’s risky business and her own safe play both work.
The final show of the show is set to an unknown song. Seriously, I can’t even find the title of this song after Googling the lyrics. Anyway, Lizzie’s blouse with bat sleeves seems a little meh to me. The look is cute, but nothing new, and the colors are a little too Seattle. Heck, they’re barely Portland. Barbara’s leather tunic is well done, even if the brown piece looks like a potato sack. Sarah’s white-with-black-stripes tuxedo pants are simply awesome. The blue pairs I could live without, but that black-on-white alone is worth a bid.
Jessica says the bat sleeve is trending, but Lizzie’s color choice needs to pop. John says Barbara stepped up her game. Elle loves Sarah’s pants, as does Nicole. She would not have gone with two blues, but the white is a star design. Jessica praises Sarah for pulling this design out of nowhere.
Lizzie receives no offers for her sleeves. Nikki advises more colors, and Terron wants more than just another top. Sarah loses Macy’s and Saks, but H&M offers $50,000. Sarah is so surprised and feels much more confident. Nikki loves the tailoring and the fit of these “tuxedo for day time” pants. Barbara also loses Saks and Macy’s, and H&M is out, too. Terron asks who the customer is. Barbara says she is the customer. Terron advises to extend the zipper. Barbara says she will if he makes an offer. Nice try.
Week two gives us only four successful designs, so nine designers face elimination. Similar to last week, the idiotic montage treatment of Luciana, Nikki, and Edmond means that they are safe. Orly and Barbara got some love for their designs, so if one of them falls in the bottom three, the mentors should save them. The bottom three should be Ronnie for his silly zippers, Ross for his seasonal slipup, and Oscar for his… um, Oscar-ness.
The buyers choose their bottom three, and Oscar, Ross, and Lizzie are in trouble. Ronnie dodged a major bullet in my opinion. John speaks for the mentors and says that one designer has the spark to stick around for another week, so the mentors save Ross. I do like his tailoring, so I’m okay with that.
Terron says Oscar can do so much better than the choices he made. Caprice is so sad to see Lizzie here, but she needs to show more creativity. Nikki says the designer leaving is… Oscar. I’m glad Lizzie is getting another chance, but I’m surprised that they are getting rid of the drama master so early. Oscar hopes he can inspire one human being to be the best he or she can be.
Remember, hopeful writers, I’m only in this until someone overthrows me in a bloody coup… I mean, e-mails RNO about your desire to cover this show. If the ratings don’t improve, this could be the only season, and if you like it enough, take the opportunity now! Otherwise, see ya next week!
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