Friday, February 26, 2016

Flashback Friday - The Fashion Show Postmortem

This post was originally published on the blog Blogging Bravo on July 30, 2009.

The Fashion Show Postmortem

I used to write for Blogging Bravo, and one of the shows I covered there was one of Bravo's attempts at replacing Project Runway. Called "The Fashion Show," it wasn't bad, yet it wasn't particularly good, either.

The first season of The Fashion Show ended a week ago today; it's about time to take a look back and tear it apart make a critical assessment. A postmortem, if you will.

The show had both good and bad points. While I think we all were expecting it to be a real replacement for Project Runway, sadly, The Fashion Show did not deliver. Not that it was a bad show - I think if we didn't make comparisons to that other show, it could have seemed pretty fabulous. It gave us a bunch of talented up-and-coming designers, showing off their design skills while vying for both a cash prize and national recognition. But somehow it didn't seem to rouse the same passion in the viewer, didn't make us fall in love (or hate) with any one designer in particular. From what I can tell, it evoked a lot of general ennui. And some downright dislike.

What I Liked:

...Isaac Mizrahi being involved with the show, and the influential and knowledgeable Fern Mallis as judge.

...having a "quickfire"-type mini challenge and an elimination challenge.

...the home audience choosing the winner - as Issac says in the intro, TFS is about "real fashion for real people" and who is more real than those of us watching?

...the winning outfit available for purchase.

That's a pretty short list.

What I Disliked:

...Isaac Mizrahi as judge. While we like him in general and enjoyed watching him on his own show, he came off as a bit catty - ok, bitchy - on TFS. This is a man with a wealth of knowledge about the fashion industry and he could have been an enormous help to the designers as a mentor.

While we're on the subject of catty, I wasn't that crazy about the little conversations Isaac and Kelly would pretend to have after paying a visit to the designers in mid-process. "OMG! did you see that?" seems more appropriate coming from the NYC Prep kids than from professionals in the fashion industry. Well, Kelly isn't a professional, which brings us to...

...why Kelly Rowland? Because she sat in the front row at fashion shows? Wow, that makes me just as qualified! I think it would be fine if she were merely the hostess, but she is also a judge. I consider her neither a fashion professional nor a "real person" (she's a celebrity). I don't dislike Kelly, but I don't find her to be of much use to the show in general.

...while I did like the two-challenge-per-episode format, the time spent on the first challenge took away from time that could have been spent watching the designers interacting. Other than the bitchery between Daniella and Reco, we didn't get to see much of the designers' personalities, or how they bonded, something we're all used to on shows like PR and Top Chef. Face it - human interaction is part of the "reality" in a reality show.

...the overall look of the show was a bit drab and depressing. The workroom seemed gray, and was it really always night outside the windows? The lighting on the runway was also somehow off. The judging room was positively funereal.

...the cute catchphrases the Isaac and Kelly used when they cut a competitor. On Project Runway, Heidi's "auf wiedersehen" is natural - it means farewell, or until we meet again, in German. Heidi is German. Makes perfect sense. Every show now has to have its own version, and most are cheeseball. TFS is no exception, "we're not buying it" - ugh. And if that's not bad enough, Kelly has to say to the penultimate loser, "you're hanging by a thread." Or does she say...

That's what it sounds like to me.

Those are some of my thoughts. I also, for the most part, agree with Tom & Lorenzo's "Mid-Term Report." They have really contemplated the show and give some fabulous suggestions on improving things.

So what do you like and dislike about The Fashion Show? Do you want to see it come back for a second season? Would you make changes? Please leave your thoughts in the comments.

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