“Fashion Star” Recap: Women Don’t Know Menswear? (Episode 1)


NBC’s new reality show Fashion Star takes its predecessors like Project Runway and The Fashion Show on step further by putting designers in front of buyers and asking them to sell their s–t. In this case, the buyers are from Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and H&M and they are not easy sells. Elle Macpherson plays host, as she has an accent and a lingerie line (which opened the show, setting things off to a weird and tacky start). Luckily, the bra-clad models are gone as quick as they came and replaced by bra-clad back-up dancers with motorcycles and other unnecessary props when each designer hopeful has three of their designs on the stage.

In addition to the buyers, the designers are also judged by Nicole Richie, John Varvatos and Jessica Simpson, who act as mentors while trying to tell America that they are more than the reality shows on which they once starred. (Obviously John Varvatos is exempt from this. Carry on.) Here’s how I feel about Jessica Simpson as a designer: I sometimes see things that she does and think they are cute, but I can’t bring myself to buy something that says “Jessica Simpson” on it. I did that once when she was a singer and regretted it ever since.

And as for Richie’s House of Harlow, it’s all accessories like sunglasses and shoes, so when she comments on homegirl Kara Laricks‘ collar/tie/stand hybrid, saying she should have shown more, I can only think “So should you!”

So here’s what out designer Kara showed. Note that the clothes the women are wearing aren’t her designs, but the androgynous accessory around their necks are, and the designers were asked to show something that is one of their signature looks.

Now I love it, and I totally get her aesthetic — as did Jessica Simpson, it seems — but why didn’t the mentors give her this suggestion in the work room? Maybe they did but it seemed like they were shocked she made this move. Oh, reality television.

It’s a travesty that her designs didn’t get to come out to La Roux‘s “Bulletproof” like someone else’s did. I mean, the hair alone invokes Elly Jackson

While Kara didn’t have her designs purchased, she was safe from elimination after Nicholas Bowes didn’t take constructive criticism well and resorted to sexism, saying Nicole and Jessica didn’t know what they were talking about because they are women and he does menswear. Unfortunately for him, two of the buyers are also women, and they didn’t appreciate his comments. Who knows what they actually thought of his leather jackets?



Some things bought that I would totally wear, myself, include Orli Shanny‘s combo shell and mini-skirt, which was scooped up by Saks’ Fifth Avenue, and Sarah Parrot‘s teal mini-dress, which is now available at H&M. Both were creative spins on classic mini looks that would be both flattering and fashionable on a lot of women.

On the menswear end, Nzimiro Oputa‘s blue blazer is pretty fierce. You can get that at H&M.

From what I can surmise of the others’ signature looks, Barbara Bates likes ruffles (I don’t), Edmond Newton likes rosettes (I don’t), Lisa Van Hunter likes boring basic cocktail attire (I don’t) and Nikki Poulous likes Miami-esque beach dresses (maybe on vacation).

Luciana Scarabello likes V-neck cuts (I do, too) and Oscar Fierro is passionate about color but his designs could border on too-borrowed from other existing designs. And Ronnie Escalante‘s one-shoulder tunic would not look too nice on a figure like mine at all, so no thank you. On the other hand, Lizzie Plum‘s take on asymmetrical tunics do appear to be more figure-flattering. Ross Bennett‘s Annie Hall look was cute to me, but Nicole Richie kept saying something about the fit in the vagina area. I wasn’t staring as hard at the models’ vaginas, so I can’t say, but I liked the idea behind Ross’ outfits.

So. Next week, we’ll see more from Kara and the other designers. Are you rushing to get any of this week’s buys?


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