HOUSTON – In the ever-changing world of network primetime television, the only constant one can rely on is change. I do love a good cliché. So now I present to you, Fashion Star, NBC's most recent show about the business-end of the fashion industry.
Now when I first caught wind of this new show and heard the premise, I was immediately inclined to think this was a Project Runway knock off and had all but written it off. But as your faithful NBC primetime blogger, I couldn't just let it go without checking it out for myself. And I must say I was pleasantly surprised. I appreciate how much emphasis is placed on the business side of this industry, when so often it just looks like a bunch of fabric and thread being thrown around by overly dramatic individuals wearing absurd outfits and too much makeup.
So the premise of Fashion Star is that every week, 14 designers will present a showcase (which is incredibly vague and I don't really know if that means one design three different ways or three different designs but, oh well…) to the buyers from Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue and H&M who decide on the spot if they want to buy the clothes or not. If more than one buyer wants the design, the clothes go to the highest bidder. The designs bought during the show will be available in the winning store the very next day! INTERACTIVE TELEVISION!
The mentors, who don't seem like they serve any real purpose besides lending their pseudo-famous names to what would otherwise be a fairly forgettable show title, are Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos. Jessica Simpson supposedly knows things about fashion, but based on what she wears, I'd take everything she says with a grain of salt. Or maybe a whole shaker-full. Nicole Richie wore something on her head I think I saw Princess Jasmine wearing in Aladdin, but I respect her eccentricity and think she will probably have some insights to contribute if tonight was any indication. John Varvatos, the least immediately recognizable name but obviously the most credible mentor, worked for Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein as head of menswear before starting his own fashion house. Basically he's super successful in the world of clothes and I'd take what he said to heart if I were one of these contestants.
If the buyers do not make an offer on a designer's showcase, that designer is up for elimination at the end of the episode. Of all those without an offer, three are selected for the bottom and from those, one is saved by the mentors, one is saved by the buyers, and one goes home.
Whew. That was an in-depth description of a seemingly vapid program.
But like I said, I think this show has some merit in that it really highlights what the fashion industry is like once the sequins and fairy dust settle. Your mom and besties can love your designs a whole lot but if no one buys it, guess what. You're still poor.
Of the 14 designers, six were bid upon and therefore safe and eight were up for elimination. I'll focus on the bottom three for now. Oscar Fierro is a small, rambunctious, flamboyant, dramatic and ostensibly tasteless designer with a WHOLE LOT of personality. He comes from El Salvador where he often went days without food, traversed countless, dangerous borders and eventually found his way to the Promised Land where he won't be persecuted for his height or over-application of bronzer and glitter. Nicole Richie was his mentor in the workroom and "saw something in [his] eyes" that showed what potential he has. I think that's a load, but the mentors chose to save him in the hopes that he produces something less lame and more original next time, since the three butterfly dresses he presented this week. Not only have I seen that dress MANY times before, but each time I thought the girl wearing it looked SUPA trashy. Kara Laricks looks like Tilda Swinton and is into "deconstructionist fashion," which, by the look of it, means going through a bin at a thrift store and taking apart the pieces of an item and then selling them individually. The real problem here is that when everyone else produced full outfits, she thought it would be a good idea to send a collar and tie down the runway as her contribution. Needless to say, this was pretty unimpressive, but the buyers decided to save her. Why, you ask? Either because she seems like she has good ideas or she was just less offensive than the other guy. The other guy is Nicholas Bowes and he was a straight up idiot. Of the six people who decide the fate of these contestants, four of them are women. And he goes and tells women they don't know anything about men's fashion. I mean. Ya just don't do it.
And thus ends the first episode of Fashion Star! Hopefully by next week, the actual layout of the series will become clearer and we'll see how things progress. It may not be the most intellectually stimulating show on television, but it is by no means the worst thing I've ever seen. HOORAY FOR FASHION!
Thanks for reading, and as always, thanks for watching KPRC Local 2!