Fashion Star - Worth the Hype?

For over a year now we have been hearing the hype about Fashion Star, NBC's latest reality series with a Project Runway-esque vibe.  While I was skeptical (Jessica Simpson as a fashion mentor...not exactly my idea of Tim Gunn...) I still had to watch - thank goodness for DVR because this lady can't make it past that 10pm hour.

First of all, I have to give the creators a hand for at least trying to diversify themselves from other fashion shows out there.  Let's face it, when Bravo sold Project Runway to Lifetime and decided to revamp the show they may as well have called it Project Runway 2.0.  However, Fashion Star looks more at how an item will actually sale in the retail world by having buyers from 3 pertinent stores (Saks, H&M, and Macy's)  bid on items that the store would be willing to sale.  This year's competition took place last summer and I was so confused as to why that was.  Then I realized - it was so they had time to manufacture the clothes!  That's right, the items that the buyers bid on are available online and in stores the next day - my favorite aspect of the show.  Don't you hate on Project Runway with Rami has draped the most exquisite cocktail dress and you never see it again?  Boo!

All positives aside, I must say that Fashion Star should be more like "Amateur Hour" in my opinion.  Perhaps it's because the show is only on its first season, but most of the talent seems new to the fashion world and very few have been consistently successful.  Those that have though, have earned their spot in the final 3.  My favorite?  Kara Laricks.  Not only is her story unique (she was at one time a closeted lesbian elementary teacher) but her design esthetic of menswear inspired pieces manages to have just the right touch of modern details.

And who could forget Ronnie Escalante?  Named by John Varvatos as the "dark horse" Ronnie has come up in the past few weeks as the buyers and mentors favorite designer.  Me?  I'm not so sure.  While I usually like the cut of his pieces, he seems to have trouble picking fabrics?  He did a women's suit this past week in a floral print that looked like it belonged more on the windows then on your bottom.

Nzimiro Oputa is the last finalist, and while his designs were strong initially, I believe he is in the finals because he brings a menswear perspective.  His style is very Brooks Brothers with a European twist, and most men I know wouldn't be wearing what he's selling...but then again, I do live in Indiana...

The finale airs next Tuesday, May 15th on NBC.  Before then, check them out their designs at H&M, Macy's, and Saks.  The winning designer is supposed to be able to appeal to all retailers, which as you can see could be pretty challenging for three places known for completely different options.  Either way, I'm interested to see how the show turns out and if it will come back.  Personally?  I say they clean house.  The only mentor I'm impressed with is Nicole Richie...she has really made her stamp in the fashion world and those 15 minutes last for days!

Here are some of my current favorites selling, both from the finalists and past designers.  Snatch up these one of a kinds (err...most of them) while you can.  Some of these designers are worth a second glance.

Colorblock Dress by Orli Shani, $295,

Suit by Ronnie Escalante, $208,

H&M Top by Kara,

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