Fashion Star S1,E1-A Clothing Catalog viewed from your Couch

Miss Things, you’ll have to forgive the Queen for being groggy this morning. I was up all night shopping online at Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and H&M.

Practice a little more with the teleprompter, dear.

So we start with a multi-media fashion show complete with a Muzak version of “American Woman.” Next week I’m sure they’ll have Cirque du Soleil flying through the auditorium. The Queen knows immediately that the focus of this competition is not really design, which I still haven’t figured out is a bad thing, a good thing–or simply a different thing. One thing becomes clear to me: this is not a Project Runway knock off. It becomes clear rather early that there is no real narrative. We’re not going to follow a consistent story–the show is not about that. The show really isn’t about designer personalities. It’s about selling clothes. And although initially the Queen was turned off by that, it was kind of refreshing to be reminded up front that personality alone was not going to get your clothing purchased in the “real world.” This show is kind of like following the graduates of PR from the creative process to the business of getting their stuff bought by actual consumers.

For those of you that didn’t watch, let me see if I can break down the premise in 100 words or less:

Each week the designers will present a garment based on a specific set of parameters that are given to them. Mentors will critique them, and have buyers bid on their work. If a buyer buys their garment, then they are safe, and move on to next week. If they do not sell their work, then they are up for elimination. At the end of the show three designers who did not sell their work must face the mentors–who will “save” one of the contestants. The other two must face the buyers, who will send one of them home. (99 words, bitches!)

The inclusions of the Mentors and the Buyers was pretty dang cool. Seeing Jessica Simpson and Nicole Richie express themselves as successful businesswomen who own lucrative clothing lines is a welcome feature. Hearing snippets of their conversations during the fashion shows was a cute inclusion. And the buyers add a wonderful reality check. And you KNOW the Queen appreciates that women of color are put in such positions of power.

For the most part, let’s run down the designers in another post. The Queen is very excited by the boys of color that are included in the cast–jail bait though they may be for His Highness–it seems like they show potential. The proverbial irritating pebbles in the shoe from last night’s bunch were, of course, Oscar and Nicholas.

Oscar FierroOh come on, girl! Does anyone STILL think this type of personality will sell in 2012? I’ve no doubt that he is genuinely flamboyant, but if you can’t back up this annoying shit with fashion flawlessness then TONE IT DOWN. All I kept thinking watching his clothes walk the runway was: high end beauty salon smocks. Maybe a buyer for a Cosmetic Supply Store will pick up his stuff.

Nicholas BowesHe’s a fool. There was nothing about his designs that made me even raise an eyebrow. Nothing about his leather jacket that stood out in any way. Maybe he could name his line: Misogynist, because after that unbelievable display of chauvinism, those are the only people who would buy his clothing. His offing alone was a reason for me to watch this show again.

It is oxymoronic to bemoan the commercialism of Commercial Television. The medium was virtually created to sell stuff. However there is nothing that says doing so can’t be elevated to an artistic level. There is something rather brilliant about the concept. Form and function for selling fashion. QVC with go-go dancers. The Queen is intrigued…if not completely sold.

Are you?

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15 thoughts on “Fashion Star S1,E1-A Clothing Catalog viewed from your Couch

  1. Im back. My house is being rewired for fiber optics so I can add nifty gadgets that no one needed 20 years ago to my house’s infrastructure. The original architect/builder died of a rare form of brain cancer 6 months after my home was completed in 1993 and I am constantly remainded when confronted with the electrical, plumbing or security schematic s. (sigh)

    I can’t tell you honestly what I thought of the shoe last night. The storyline and narrative seemed to be reduced to Buy Our Stuff. A lot of money was spent on a slick set, loud music, and flashing lights and there was certainly game show elements grafted onto a reality show framework. The host, mentors, and buyers all have to be drawing in high salaries or revenue points. Major prize announced but no explaintion of how it would be awarded. I stand my my original comment. It’s a gigantic commercial. Removes the conceit that TV content is provided free by the broadcasting company in return for allowing commercials that fund the programming. We already have had product placements and other blurring but this was just Blatant in Your Face Travelling Roadshow complete with Sister Bling and Sister Sing.

  2. *In his best Homer Simpson* Fiber Optics mmmmmm! Good luck with the install.

    julaine said…
    “Removes the conceit that TV content is provided free by the broadcasting company in return for allowing commercials that fund the programming.”

    Within the first three minutes I was asking myself: “Can I blog about this?” It seemed to unabashedly embody so many things about television in general, and reality tv in particular that I I detest. However, I think that’s also the reason that my curiosity is piqued. I don’t get the feeling that the producers are trying to pretend to be anything other than an extended commercial. And when I started watching it as such, it wasn’t half bad. To me the objective is very clear: make something pretty that people will buy. I will be very interested to see what the sales figures for these three stores are after this thing premiers. I’m still not sure it will keep my attention enough to blog about it–but the idea of making entertainment out of selling is nothing new. This is just a curious iteration.

  3. I thought it was interesting for a short period of time – just as a really different idea from standard reality show fare. That being said, I think I’ll get bored with it quickly – especially the ‘one item in 3 colors’ idea. Not sure how that tells you anything about the designer – maybe the woman with the collar/tie accessory thing has some really interesting pieces yet to show – but how could you tell from that? Remains to be seen I guess.
    And I truly agree with you on your take on Oscar and Nicholas – Oscar will start to irritate me really quickly – I don’t have a lot of patience with his sort of personality. And Nicholas – wow, just wow. What an unpleasant sort he was. I wonder if his pretty face (hidden behind the beard, but the pictures of him modeling looked like it was pretty :)) – has allowed him to get away with whatever he wanted in the past. This time someone called him on it. Doubt he’ll take anything away from the experience, but I’m with you – he needed to go, and the fact that the buyers did bounce him out the door makes me interested enough to see what happens next week.

    • AnnieBelle said…

      “That being said, I think I’ll get bored with it quickly – especially the ‘one item in 3 colors’ idea. Not sure how that tells you anything about the designer…

      Honestly AnnieBelle , I don’t think it’s supposed to tell us anything about the designer. I kept trying to use PR as a framework and it was driving me crazy–until I realized that there really is no comparison. Fashion Star is just about the clothes–not about the designer or the creative process. And just like in a catalog, you usually see the same design in a couple of different colors and/or variations. That’s when I realized that this is a glorified Shopping Network show with smoke, lights and dancers. i think I would lose interest completely if there wasn’t the promise of clothing for men–as I wouldn’t be the demographic they were reaching for. And I abhor shopping. A queen who hates shopping…I may get my Gay Card revoked for admitting that.

      • What you said. Yes, I think that was my problem. I kept trying to make this be Project Runway as choreographed by Bruno and Carrie Anne, as opposed to the Macy’s/Saks/H&M online catalogs dancing down the runway. Project Runway it isn’t (although Project Runway isn’t really PR anymore either….). So, as someone who joins you in abhoring shopping, I think if nothing else maybe I’ll learn something about what’s ‘on trend’ in the world today (even though I still can’t figure out the Saks guy buying that zipper skirt thing).

    • Re: Nicholas: “Doubt he’ll take anything away from the experience,”

      I agree with you. When, after being called out very directly by the mentors he turned around and made similar remarks to the judges he sounded exactly like a (not terribly close) friend – a great guy in many respects, but there are certain (well defined) areas in which “denial” doesn’t even come close to his behavior. Over the years I’ve come to believe that he’s not just ignoring what he doesn’t want to hear – it really does leave his brain almost as soon as it goes into his ears. He’s had a lot of therapy & gotten better – but I don’t think his “black hole of denial” areas will ever disappear completely.

  4. Well I hate malls, and factory outlets and Walmart. If you have to give your gay card back I may have to turn in my lady license. If I can find it. Damn, I knew I had it somewhere. Oh, well. We’ll Just have to hit a nice restaurant on the Chesapeake Bay and grab an early dinner and talk about books instead.

    I have no idea how many garments the show has to sell + increased customer traffic to make this show profitable but I suspect if is a lot and those profits aren’t going to end up in the designers’ pockets, with the possible exception of the ultimate winner.
    Yes, yes. TV exposure and all that jazz but I just can’t make the math for this show work. Project Runway on cable, yes. Fashion Star on NBC, not sure. $6 million prize that’s trying to destroy Project Runway’s contestants pool.

  5. “QVC with go-go dancers.”

    EXACTLY.

    I honestly don’t know, after watching the entire show, if I loved, hated or was completely apathetic about it?

  6. Well, I tuned in 30 minutes late and until I saw the comments on line today thought THAT was why I didn’t quite understand the contest rules and heard references to, but saw nearly nothing about, the process the designers went through to create the garments.

    Unless the shrill tune that was repeated so often that I assume it’s the theme song and which made me want to stab someone after less than an hours exposure prevents me, I’ll be with this for at least two more episodes.

    Yeah, it’s an over-produced commercial-cum-QVC with LIGHTS! and MUSIC! and inexplicable DANCERS!, but I like seeing what the folks do and what the mentors & buyers have to say. And it generally takes me till about the third episode of these large-cast reality competitions to start thinking I’ve got the contestants sorted.

    I can see getting bored with it, or irrationally annoyed by that one song. But not yet.

    What really bugged me were the commercials in which Nicole Richie claims to use Suave shampoo. There ARE celebs whom I’d believe sometimes use cheap-o supermarket shampoo, but Ms. Richie’s never had great hair (possibly because she wants it to do things it is not meant to do) and I’m sure she or someone hired by her has spent a lot of time and effort on her hair care & products. In those circumstances, the answer is NEVER to tell a girl who’s been rich since she was a baby “oh, have your housekeeper pick up that stuff that’s the cheapest brand at the supermarket.”

  7. Can some one please explain to me why they kept playing American Woman when Elle Mcpherson came out in the very beginning? She’s rather famously from Australia. Why were we treated to a runway full of lingerie models in masks strutting like strippers showing the HOST’S collection of underwear. She’s not competing, and I failed to see why they were presented. Half naked women strutting like it was a ZZTop video seemed a little outside of the target demographic of a fashion show.

    I laughed and laughed so hard last night. I’m just not sure that was the desired effect. What I didn’t do was log on and buy anything. I have a beautiful 23 year old daughter who is 5’10” and loves pretty things but has zero time to shop. I was positive before the show aired I was going to be one of the thousands of lemmings who would succumb to impulse buying but the clothes I saw last night didn’t even raise to catalogue standards.

    Hope we see more fashion and the design process and less Cirque du Soleil.

    P.S Why was Nicole Richie wearing a rhinestoned thong on her head? Does it have some modern cultural reference that I’m to old and irrelevant to have picked up on? Was she going belly dancing with Russell Brand after the show?

    • Julaine: Ha! I was wondering about the same things, i.e., why was I looking at Ms. McPherson’s lingerie line, and why were they playing “American Woman” when she’s not American. I got about halfway through the lingerie display, hit the stop button and deleted the episode. So I guess I lasted about 5 minutes.

      I might give it one more chance, but I watch too much bad television as it is. I don’t want to take time away from my NCIS reruns.

  8. Here’s why I think the show will fail if it doesn’t significantly change from the premiere (and yes, I realize I’ve already spent way to much time thinking about this silly show.)
    I’m probably this shows ideal demographic. I love fashion. I have a reasonable amount of disposal income. I have someone in my life that can wear clothes designed for model proportions and young enough for trendy styles. Yet, all I did was laugh and shake my head in disbelief. I wasn’t even remotely interested in going to their web site to check pricing let alone drive to their stores which is their ultimate objective. You can be sure that each store will showcase at least one designer’s styles each week and that they will be located near prominent displays of the mentors’ and sponsors’ products. That’s whose really going to benefit from this show. (Unless it really, really tanks.)

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