Posted by Dan July 2nd, 2009 at 11:43am In The Fashion Show
The Fashion Show has finally met its halfway point — fulfilling its destiny as a watchable, but lesser version of Project Runway. On the surface, there’s not much to differentiate it from the real thing — the set-up is the same, the contestants are of a similar flamboyantly competitive ilk, — but the magic, surely, isn’t there.
For the record, here’s how they stack up.
What The Fashion Show does right:
- Fern Mallis – As a judge, Fern is a worthy successor to Michael Kors and Nina Garcia. What I like about her is that she gives really intelligent criticism, but mostly eschews the catty Kors-isms. She’s not interested in being cute, she’s just interested in good design. Also, her name is Fern.
- Not paying any mind to the models or what they think.
- Usually interesting, usually brief Quickfire-esque competitions to start off the episode.
On the fence:
- Isaac Mizrahi – I have a tolerate/hate relationship with Isaac Mizrahi. While I respect his feedback and fashion expertise, his self-involvement is pretty clear from the get-go. Also, he really does seem to relish dishing out criticism. And, a la Tom effing Colicchio from Top Chef, he does that thing where he acts morally offended when
- Uselessly carting out Laura from Harper’s Bazaar so that they can say “Harper’s Bazaar” a few hundred times every episode.
What it does wrong:
- While I don’t expect them to necessarily have Tim Gunn himself, I think having a good-natured mentor does a lot for the show. The fact that Isaac and Kelly, the people who are going to be judging in the end, get to go around and critique the outfits when the designers are pretty much at the point of no return seems useless.
- Kelly Rowland
A word about Kelly Rowland.
I was rooting for Kelly to succeed on the show from the very beginning. I guess there’s something about my love of the underdog that made me want to be surprised at how much insight she would have. After all, what does the B-list Beyonce have to say about fashion?
Turns out, nothing.
Kelly basically follows Isaac around, offers obvious opinions and, during judging, recites the ridiculous comments made by the audience during the fashion show. The only time she has ever really made an intelligent comment was on last week’s episode and the comment was clearly dubbed in in post-production. I think I turned the corner on Kelly in the episode where Angel got kicked off for design a bad “b-girl” outfit (which, as I found out, just means hip hop style). After weeks of just sitting around and taking up space, Kelly called the outfit insulting and got into a major huff for Angel’s obvious inexperience with this particular style.
Basically, Kelly has no room for getting mad at anybody’s perceived ignorance. When her own existence on the show is barely justified (they half-assed it during the first episode by saying she likes to go to fashion shows in her spare time), it certainly takes some balls to call someone out on not knowing what they’re talking about. So, after that episode, I gave up on rooting for her to succeed and have begun actively wishing she’d just shut up and let Isaac and Fern talk.
Now that I’ve got that out of my system…
If you haven’t been into The Fashion Show, now might be a good time to jump in if you’re so inclined. All of the remaining contestants could conceivably win (hairspray queen Haven got kicked off last Thursday, the last contestant who clearly had no shot of winning).
Here’s a round-up of who’s left:
- Merlin – Known for dressing like a gay superhero and having to be subtitled most of the time due to his thick Honduran accent, Merlin likes loud colors and dressing people like futuristic drag queens. He has moments of Draconian villainy, but has been surprisingly quiet most of the time.
- Reco – Reco is, by far, the most irritating contestant — dramatic, cocky and constantly picking fights with the other contestants. Frustratingly, he has the sewing and design chops to back up his cockiness and is one of the favorites to win the season.
- Daniella – At the bafflingly young age of 22, Daniella tends to win every competition. She’s no Christian Siriano in terms of antics, but if she were slightly more mature she’d be kicking even more ass.
- Anna – Anna is clearly the most mature and likable contestant. She likes her pleats.
- James-Paul – James-Paul is a bit more avant guard than the rest. He’s also probably the most lovable contestant, with his squeaky voice and dork chic glasses.
- Johnny R. – Johnny R. (the R. is necessary to distinguish him from the hot-ish Johnny that was eliminated in the first episode) tends to give off the impression that he doesn’t care about the competition. He also stole Amy Winehouse’s hairdo.
The Fashion Show’s on Bravo tonight.