NBC’s new competition reality show, tentatively titled “Fashion Star,” has a unique goal: It aims to find America’s next household name in clothing design by challenging that person to design clothing Americans would actually wear in their households.
The show will be “completely different from anything on American television,” says Elle Macpherson, the model who will be the host and one of the mentors. “We’re not looking for someone to create a couture dress for the Oscars. We want someone who can design lingerie, swimwear, denim – accessible things that regular people wear.”
The process of finding that designer starts this week with casting calls in a half-dozen cities. The New York call will be held Tuesday, 4-7 p.m., at the Art Institute Gallery Room, 11 Beach St.
The show, which will run 10 episodes, doesn’t have an airdate yet. It also doesn’t have its judging panel, which Macpherson says will consist of representatives of three major U.S. retailers.
Those retailers will vote with their wallets, Macpherson says, purchasing designs on the spot. In a novel twist, viewers will also be able to purchase items they like.
“Fashion Star” has a couple of inside connections. It was developed through Electus, a multimedia company founded by Ben Silverman, former NBC entertainment co-president. Silverman left NBC after a short, unsuccessful run, and this marks his first return.
The show is also being executive-produced by Magical Elves, the company that produced the original “Project Runway.”
But Macpherson and the rest of the “Fashion Star” team insist any similarity to “Runway,” or other fashion shows, ends there.
They cite two differences, and the first is the emphasis on clothing real people would wear.
The other, says Macpherson, is that the contestants here won’t be just designing outfits. They must show skills in every aspect of building a commercial brand.
“That’s the part that really excites me,” she says. “The challenge for contestants will be discovering what it takes to be a brand – the look of your logo, your billboards, your marketing.
“It’s fascinating to me because that’s what I’ve tried to do for 30 years: build a brand. So this is partly my own journey. It’s a part of the business most people don’t see.”
Rick Ringbakk of 5×5 Media, another co-creator of the show, says the producers hope to throw a wide net in casting the show.
“We’re open,” he says. “It could be someone who has owned a boutique store of their own for years, or it could be a soccer mom who has been designing this amazing line of swimwear in her basement.
“We’re not looking for the $10,000 dress. We’re just looking for something new and different.”
Summary: Prepare to add another reality series to your list of must-watch shows!
Elle Macpherson has signed on to host Fashion Star, a brand new competition reality show on NBC that will focus on designers searching for their big break. Unlike Project Runway, Fashion Star will focus on more day to day creations “like bathing suits or or lingerie, or surf wear and jeans.”
The supermodel will host Fashion Star, which pits 12 unknown designers against each other for the chance to win a multi-million dollar contract and the chance to have their line on sale at a massive retail store. ”Who better to host than Elle Macpherson – her impeccable fashion sense and 30 years of experience building her eponymous brand are tremendous assets to the show and the designers,” said Paul Telegdy, executive vice president of alternative programming at NBC and Universal Media Studios.
This is hardly Elle’s first foray into television. As the host of Britain and Ireland’s iterations of Next Top Model, not to mention acting roles on Friends and The Beautiful Life, she’s well versed in the world of television and reality shows.
We just can’t wait to find out what her tag line will be.