Jessica Simpson has enjoyed her gig as celebrity mentor on Fashion Star, NBC’s new clothing design competition show, for several reasons.
First, Simpson has “a passion for fashion,” so she savored working with up-and-coming talent.
Second, the show, which premieres at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, allows the North Texas native to display the Jessica Simpson Collection, a clothing and accessories line that brings in more than $1 billion annually.
And third, although Simpson clearly has no qualms about her pregnant body (as evidenced by the nude cover photo in Elle magazine), Fashion Star will remind everyone how she looked when she cut a slimmer figure.
“I wasn’t pregnant when we shot the show,” Simpson says. “It will be amazing to see myself with a waistline!”
None of which is the point of the show, of course. Fashion Star , hosted by supermodel Elle Macpherson, pits 14 aspiring designers (including Oscar Fierro of Lewisville) against one another as they vie for a chance to launch collections in three of America’s largest retailers: Macy’s, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Simpson discussed the show in a recent telephone conference call.
One interesting wrinkle to Fashion Star: The judges are all buyers from top retail chains. Does this force designers to create more accessible clothing, as opposed to focusing on runway looks that real people won’t wear?
That’s the biggest and best step that any designer can take. Instead of putting ego first, you put the buyer first. That’s a really important thing, just to know what the consumer is wanting to wear. It’s important to be able to give Macy’s the colors they’re wanting or the styles that are selling best for them on their floors. It isn’t just about being creative. It’s about business savvy as well.
Is that a lesson you learned when you were launching your line?
In the beginning, I thought everything that I wanted to create was right and that’s what everybody should be wearing. But look, I don’t wear flats — I prefer a 6-inch heel — but flats are my biggest-selling shoe. So I had to give in and be like, “OK, 90 percent of America wears flats.” I had to teach myself that it wasn’t about everything that just I would wear.
When you advised the designers, did they accept your input or were they too headstrong?
There is a lot of pressure as a mentor, because you don’t want to tell somebody to do the wrong thing. Like, it’s on my shoulders if they took my idea and then the buyers were like, “No, you’re eliminated.” So I really encourage people to listen to their own inner dialogue. I’m there just to tweak things along. I don’t really give too big of an idea, because I don’t want any blame!
How are you able to use Fashion Star to give your collection a plug?
I can wear the Jessica Simpson Collection and have the world see it. A lot of people, when they think of the Jessica Simpson Collection, they think only of shoes. I think Fashion Star helps me show how broad the collection is. It’s a great way for me to put the collection on a pedestal.
Also, I get to have my very first Jessica Simpson Collection runway show. That is a huge dream come true. That’s part of the finale. That was a big moment for me. Definitely you’ll see me overjoyed.
When you’re away from Texas for long stretches, what do you tend to miss the most?
I’d love some Tex-Mex about now!
8:30 tonight, NBC (Channel 5). 90 mins.