With much trepidation I tuned in last night to Bravo's new series The Fashion Show featuring Isaac Mizrahi and Kelly Rowland. The marriage of famed designer turned Target diffusion line purveyor and R&B songstress was one I doubted would make for captivating TV much less actual substance but my doubts quickly turned to delight. The chemistry between Kelly and Isaac was clear and it had the feel of spending an hour with your best girlfriend and gay husband, which inevitably leads to a good time. Granted the aesthetics of the show were almost identical to that of Project Runway save the triangle runway but our hosts for the evening were the element that really differentiates this series from it's predecessor.
The first challenge was to transform a black t-shirt into a LBD. The judge, Laura Brown from Harper's Bazaar was just blunt enough to pique my attention telling contestants such as Reco that the stripper who wore his dress would certainly make lots of tips and telling Johnny his one shoulder pad ensemble was a built-in airbag; foreshadowing the tenor of the panel for the elimination challenge.
Johnny, Merlin and Keith were chosen as head designers and we charged into the fashion gauntlet, team challenge! The group was tasked with creating a cohesive collection that featured one "must-have" item. Frankly I think Merlin's group Team Bolero and Keith's group Team Bandage Dress mistook "must-have" for "staple" but I digress. Johnny's group Team Harem Pants was more on the mark but the designs smacked of Alexander Wang's influence. In the end, Merlin's Team Bolero won the challenge with James Paul taking the individual grand prize and Merlin playing a gracious runner-up. Jonny, the sacrificial men's wear designer went home for creating a halter and bandage skirt combo befitting Mariah Carey, enough said.
The draw of The Fashion Show is going to be the snarky catwalk judging sessions within which judge Fren Mallis delivers biting commentary. Feedback referring to designs as bargain basement and questioning whether designers should be in the biz before they've even experienced the turn down service at Le Parker Meridian is just brutal. As we all know the dreaded elimination is the "money shot" of any reality show and this is where The Fashion Show lost me a little with catchphrases such as "hanging by a thread", "sold", and "we're not buying it". I really wanted something that conveyed more pithy arrogance. This is high fashion isn't it?
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