Fashion Star Recap 4/3/12 Season 1 Episode 4 ‘High End Appeal; Mass Market Appeal’

By on April 4, 2012

Jessica Simpson, John Varvatos, and Nicole Richie aren’t half as much fun as Saks Fifth Avenue buy Terron this week on Fashion Star!

Even though the show was taped months and months ago, I believe my poignant advice on this here blog over the past weeks really stuck with the producers. Look at all my suggestions they implemented – they lost the excessive theatrics, the designers showed fewer looks, we got to see some drama, and more!

Don’t get me wrong, we still have miles to go in order for this show to click, but progress is progress. The first step to making a change is admitting that you have a problem. So, for the producers and my hoards of adoring fans out there, here’s what

This week the designers must create one look to appeal to a high-end market, and another look for mass market. Only two looks – thank you, Madonna! Okay, Madonna herself was not credited with this change, but MDNA did come out this week which undoubtedly created some positive force in the universe prompting the change in format. Bonus points are also awarded for this being the best ‘challenge’ to date.

Elle appears in silhouette. She stops out of her backlighting to show off the simple, sexy, tight black leather pants that only a super model of her caliber can pull off. She looks exceptionally fierce tonight and seethes that extra energy as she proudly announces that over a million dollars of clothes have been sold thus far on Fashion Star!

Sarah Parrot and Surly Orly are our first two designers, and, in my humble opinion, are a little too sweet with each other. As Sarah begins to weep after her negative consultation with Mentor John Varvatos, Surly Orly rushes to not only comfort her, but help her redesign her look!

Surly Orly, this is a competition for $6,000,000! Sarah sells every week – she doesn’t need help. Plus, you’re Surly Orly, you can’t be nice. Otherwise, I must re-nickname you, which will cause, well, my personal distress.

Orly shows trousers this week. Truly the only element shared by her “high-end” high waist black trousers (which, by the magic of folding, transform in to regular waist trousers) and her “low-end” white silky sweatpants with strings on the legs is that they both fall under the category “pants.” Neither look is terribly impressive. Jessica offers a few semi-positive words, but Jessica rarely offers negative words.
No Offers.

Will Sarah Parrot’s structured V-neck dresses be enough to keep her buying streak alive? No, in my opinion. Her “low-end” mid-length, stretch red dress is on trend for sure, but I’ve seen it before. Her white “high-end” dress features a little more volume over the shoulders, has the fabric cut out over the love handles, and…wait…is that a skort? The different levels of the dress seam give a distinct skort feel. I’ve never seen a “high-end” skort.

Nicole disagrees and believes that the white dress could definitely be work…provided you have the perfect body, like hers (she offered that last comment, not me). My man John Varvatos, however, recognizes that the piece is not high end and blandishes Sarah to raise her game.

Imagine my shock when H&M again buys Sarah’s looks for $60,000. Not bad for a mom from Georgia!

Ross, Luciana, and Ronnie are up next.

Ross the Heterosexual is excited about his dresses. Nicole is worried that 15 feet of tule in and roses do not equal fashion forward. However, even though the man risked elimination in recent weeks, he doesn’t feel like listening to the advice of someone with a successful fashion line. He’s downright giddy about his black and white polka dot tutu with a big ass red rose, which doesn’t endear him to his fellow designers.

The best moment of the night went down between the previously unremarkable (and un-sold) Luciana and William her pattern maker. Luciana is angry because the gown she designed is not the gown that was made. She charges that he’s editorializing, making his vision and not hers. He retorts that if it was not for his tweaks, she would be long gone. She storms out. I think Mr. William is still upset he didn’t get cast.

This highlights one of the big differences between Fashion Star and Project Runway – the designers don’t sew their own clothes. I’ll refrain from discussing the implications because I’m sleepy, but if you’re a fan of fashion related reality shows, read Tim Gunn’s Gold Rules. Tim Gunn is clearly amazing and also provides a very interesting look into the structure of these shows and why it’s important for the designers to sew garments.

On the runway, Ronnie shows a pair of teal dresses. His “high-end” dress of flowing jersey has a structured bodice and loose skirt, with a big front slit perfect for Angie Jolie style leg pops. If not for the odd, gold broach above the slit, I think it’s a good look. The black and teal blocked “low end” dress also reads youthful and fun, though the black belt at the waist is not so. Alas, no offers for Ronnie – he’s too restrained and need to let his creativity flow.

Luciana’s sleeveless kimono “low-end” dress is made of a sad mauve silk and beaded purple stolen off a nursing home’s dining room table. It’s shapeless and flat – and not in a good way. Her “high-end” look is much the same, though it’s minorly redeemed with silver silk. John and Nicole agree that the dresses are boring and that Luciana lacks identity.

Nonetheless, she receives a $50,000 offer from Macy’s – her first offer! Then, with a naughty smile, Terron of Saks offers $60,000. He offers Luciana a few words in Spanish, and I understand why he made the bid. You see, Terron speaks six or ten or twenty-three languages – he’s a very impressive fellow and wanted to assure you knew that. Fun fact, when not buying women’s wear or judging reality television shows, he shoots Dos Equis commercials.

Time for the Ross-strosity – it’s black with white polka dots, sleeveless, asymmetrical hem, and bouncing along on top of several yards of prominently displayed tule. Oh, don’t forget that Texas-sized red rose popping off the waist. His “low-end” look is black dots on white, and about 1/3 the tule, but rather the same feel. Jessica, a fellow Texan, excitedly offers that she’d wear it. Though, the noble Terron, announces that the look is dated, and no offers are made.

Nikki, Nzimiro, and Edmond’s clothes speed by at the blink of an eye. No offers for the boys, but Nikki – who never before created a high end garment – secures a $70,000 offer from H&M.

Barbara, Lisa, and Kara comprise our final three designers of the evening.

Barbara Bates considers herself a high-end designer, but she’s yet to sell. John thinks her “high end” piece – a combo of a dress and vest – a “dwest,” as it were, has a good shot. She shows her versatility tonight with two very different halter dresses. The “high-end” dress is made of a brown and cream silk and features a long, airy skirt – a great summer look for a woman past her mid-thirties. The youth can wear her “low-end” dress made of grey and black jersey. Barbara gets her first offer – $50,000 from Macy’s!


Kara is on a hot streak. She was moment away from biting the dust in the first episode, but has kicked booty ever since. This week is no different, as her women’s “high-end” black tuxedo tails and “low-end” army green modified tuxedo jacket blew away John Varvatos – and everyone else, for that matter. Terron and Caprice do a little back and forth, but Saks secures the jackets for $70,000. She’s sold $230,000 worth of clothes in three episodes. Wowza!

Lisa’s simple “high-end” spring coat is made from $50/yard fabric. It’s a hip red, black, and white animal print, but it doesn’t look that expensive. Her “low-end” coat differs only from the former in that it’s made from a cheaper, plain yellow fabric. John is bored by the yellow coat, arguing that it evokes Paddington Bear. Nicole and Jessica offer that they’d both wear yellow, but the Buyers are also bored: no offers.

This brings up an interesting issue – cost. With something like Project Runway, we know the designers are constrained by a specific budget (Thank you, Mood!), but Fashion Star is coy about the design details. So, let’s pretend the designers have no budget – they can use whatever fabric they want, etc. Does the cost to make the garment factor into the buyers’ decisions? Is it reflected in the buyer’s bid? Am I the only one who finds the business end interesting?

Anyway, he true star of the show seems to be the wily Terron of Saks 5th Avenue who, in my opinion, needs to cultivate James Earl Jones voice. I feel the rapid pace of the show thus far has deprived a wanting audience of uproarious sound bites. Take for example:

“Ross is in a time warp”

Caprice & Nikki, “Edmond has potential.”
Terron, without looking up from his papers, “no.”

Caprice & Nikki, “these decisions are getting tougher.”
Terron, “no.”

That’s the brutal, unforgiving cattiness that we crave! More Terron! More Terron! New Twitter hashtag: #MoreTerron

The three called up for humiliation this week: Lisa, Ronnie, Edmond

Nicole announces that Ronnie receives the Mentor’s immunity, but will be put though the Mentor’s personal torture chamber for their trouble.

Nikki of HM wants Lisa to show more innovation, he’s too boring.

Caprice of Macy’s wants Edmond to evolve, but he still has his tail.

In the end, Terron announces somewhat unconvincingly, “Lisa, I’m sorry, but you are not our Fashion Star.”

Next week promises drama and intrigue – finally!

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