Friday, May 8, 2009

The Fashion Show, Episode One

A virtual clone of Project Runway, The Fashion Show also gives us both quirky and boring designers, fashion, and a whole lotta drama.

Episode 1 starts with an introduction of the designers, starting with young Kristin, who is rocking the headband.

We then meet James-Paul, who's decked himself out in fauxriental style, complete with wooden platform geta.

Like Christian, James-Paul also worked for Vivienne Westwood. That makes him edgy. Or fierce.

I was surprised to find that the next contestant is male. Not that he looks like a woman so much as the Lady in Red.

He also resembles the late, great....

That looks a lot like the hat that I got from the Enchanted Forest when I was 10. But mine only had one feather. And I probably looked more manly in it.

So. Merlin. Like the magician.

Next up is Reco Not-So-Suave, greatly resembling one of Fat Albert's gang. He started out designing for strippers. Not that they wear much.

I'm noticing several look-a-likes on the show. Is it me?

Johnny R. has an ego problem. It's so big, he's had to build an annex of hair to hold it all.


This dude didn't get an introductory confidential, which means he's boring.

There appear to be several other boring contestants, including a bunch of conservatively-dressed brunette girls who look alike. Hmm...didn't one of those win Project Runway last time?

Jonny, a menswear designer, was too busy admiring his crotch to talk much to the camera.

Speaking of crotches, Andrew is an underwear designer who claims he's known as the "Panty Christ." Wonder if he's responsible for this "redneck tanktop?"

Kristin sums it up nicely.

Once all of the designers are gathered in the workroom, Isaac Mizrahi and his co-host enter.

A member of Destiny's Child? What, there were no aging supermodels available? Cindy Crawford is doing infomercials for skin care products - she seems desperate enough for a hosting gig. Anyway, nothing against Kelly Rowland - she clearly has better fashion sense than her pal Beyoncé - I just think it's an odd choice.

Isaac and Kelly (not to be confused with Regis and Kelly in any way) reveal the ultimate prize: 4 designers will be showing full collections in the finale, competing for a $125,000 cash prize from the lovely folks at TRESemmé. "Versions of" winning pieces will be available for sale at

They also announce that there will be a Mini Challenge every week. This week's Harper's Bazaar Mini Challenge is to design a little black dress - in one hour. Isaac then whips off the item he was wearing around his neck to reveal - a basic black t-shirt, which will be the basis for the LBDs.

The designers get to work.

Oddly, Merlin takes his white boots, puts them on a table, then rushes away.

After an hour, Laura Brown from Harper's Bazaar is brought out to rip apart the designs. She's fabulously snarky.

Finally she picks three that she likes: Merlin's, Keith's, and Johnny R's (even though she earlier said his shoulder pad detail was like a built-in airbag for accident protection). Now these three will become team leaders for the Elimination Challenge. And because they don't know everyone yet, they choose teams by dress, not dressmaker.

The challenge is rather complicated. Each team determines a "must-have" wardrobe item which each of the five team members need to duplicate, in addition to creating other separates to work with the "must-have." AND - all five team members' additional pieces must form a cohesive collection. Whew! Got that? I'm still not sure I do.

Everyone is full of ideas. Bad ones. Johnny talks his team into doing ugly gray satin "harem pants." But Reco recognizes them for what they really are:

Team Keith decides to make a reversable stretch wool pencil skirt that can be worn as a skirt or a short dress. Almost seems like a good idea, doesn't it?

Team Merlin decides on a bolero jacket, which he wants to make "yunk and fresh." So Daniella insists that it be navy. 
At the fabric store, Merlin decides to gather his team together to choose another color. But Daniella is such a pushy bitch, navy wins out.

Back in the workroom, Merlin is not happy with the cut of the jacket. It's too uniformy and old-ladyish for him, so he starts acting as bitchy as Daniella.

Finally, Merlin decides to take things in his own hands and crops his jacket, so all of his teammates have to follow suit. This makes Daniella upset.

Meanwhile, over on Team Ugly Gray Satin Harem Pants, Haven is having issues.

And on Team Pencil Skirt:

So...basically you're reinventing Spanx. Which inhibit curves. But you're probably not much into women in general, right, so you don't know from curves.

With a few hours left to finish, Isaac and Kelly come in to offer advice...

...and to laugh at the designers' hard work.

They are creating looks for day, for evening wear, for formal wear, etc. When asked about his look, Merlin gave the cryptic answer...

Isaac then realized he meant "after 5." They then went on to Team Too-Tight Skirt and told them...that the skirt was too tight.

Finally, the sewing is done. The next morning the gang gets ready to head to the runway. Once there, models suddenly appear (this is not a contest for them, apparently) and are hurriedly sent through hair and makeup and are dressed.

[add product placement here]

[end product placement]

Surprise! Jonny's Spanx-like skirt proves to be too tight. But he manages to pull the thing up, completely hobbling the poor model.

Unlike Project Runway, where the runway show takes place in a cavernous and mostly empty room with only a handful of viewers, The Fashion Show is a real fashion show.

The audience is full of miscellaneous buyers and designers and other luminaries of the fashion world.

As the show begins, the designers must watch from backstage...

...and the judges chat amongst themselves during the show.

Afterward, the cameras turn to a couple of audience members for their opinions.

Then comes judging. Kelly and Isaac join forces with Fern Mallis and Elie Tahari and offer their opinions on the designers' presentation. It was cutting, but honest.




Team Ugly Gray Satin Harem Pants didn't offend anyone too much, so they were declared safe. Merlin's Team No! Not Navy! won the challenge. The two favorite outfits from this team were Merlin's "5 and up" and James-Paul's dress made up of a series of squares and rectangles. Ultimately, James-Paul won. A "version" of his dress is for sale at

Team Too-Tight Skirt is the losing team, which means that one teammate will be eliminated from the competition. It's down to Kristin and her flowy white nightgown-like thingy and Jonny's Spanx.

Kelly lets loose with a barrage of unkind comments, supposedly from the audience.

And then the verdict was delivered. Although Kristin was "hanging by a thread" she survived to sew another day. Alas, Jonny did not. And Isaac gets to deliver his signature dismissal for the first time:

Next week: Daniella is bitchy! Everybody cries!


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