An epic journey is beginning… the search for the next Fashion Star! For the first time ever, America’s favorite retailers will fight it out for the hottest designs. The twist? Everything bought on the show – you can buy at the end of the night! Elle Macpherson hosts, and Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos will mentor 14 little-known designers as they vie for the opportunity of a lifetime: contracts with the three retailers, H&M, Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue, worth over $6 million. The show opens with a fashion show, of course – lingerie designed by host Elle from her Elle Macpherson Intimates line.
Here’s how the show works: each week, the designers will present a showcase of their clothing to the buyers, who will decide on the spot which items they want to purchase for their stores. The buyer with the highest offer wins the item, and the designer is safe for the week. The designers who don’t sell are subject to elimination. The mentors get to choose one designer to save before the buyers determine which one will be sent home. This week, the designers are tasked with presenting what they consider to be their signature looks in three variations. First up are NYC bartender Orly Shani and barber/stylist Edmond Newton from Atlanta. Orly already has a line of convertible T-shirts called tuc + wes, and Edmond’s signature piece is his bubble cocktail dress. Orly will present a convertible mini skirt, featuring an overskirt that zips off.
After the showcase, the mentors give Orly a thumbs up – high energy! Jessica loves the “two-fer” aspect of her mini skirt, and she adored Edmond’s black-and-white mini dress. After the mentors have their say, it’s time for the buyers to decide whether they want to purchase any of the looks. Macy’s bids $60,000 for Edmond’s designs; Caprice knows this dress will work for women with curves. There are two bids for Orly’s convertible mini. In the end, Saks wins out, bidding $80,000. Next up are Oscar Fierro and Nikki Poulos. Originally from El Salvador, Oscar’s childhood was difficult. He and his mother moved to Texas when he was a teen, and he began designing beautiful clothing for beautiful women, full of color and glamor.
Mentor Nicole feels that Oscar has a lot of potential, but Aussie Nikki is wary of showcasing with him, since he has a tendency to soak up all the oxygen in the room. An established swimwear designer, Nikki decides that at the end of the day, her clothing will speak for itself. Oscar is already in tears after his showcase, and a moment later, he’s jumping up and down, blowing his nose in his ever-present scarf. John and Nicole don’t love Oscar’s Butterfly Dresses, but they know he’s got something special, and Jessica loves the black sequined look and would wear it right now. However, they love Nikki’s kimono caftans – as does Macy’s – to the tune of $50,000. Terron warns Oscar that fashion is a business, and they’re worried about his clownish antics.
Barbara Bates and Nicholas Bowes are up next. Former Australian male model Nicholas is trying to show the world that he’s more than just a pretty face. He’s already got a successful line of clothing, and he doesn’t think he brings any weakness whatsoever to the competition – even though mentor John Varvatos thinks his motorcycle jacket could use some work. Barbara used to work in corporate America and has recently triumphed in her battle over breast cancer. She’s created a jersey skirt in three variations, two of which feature rather ruffled large patch pockets on the hip. Nicholas has created his lambskin Dean Jacket in three shades. The mentors aren’t excited about Barbara’s hip ruffles, but they like the way she designs for women. John likes Nicholas’ take on the biker jacket, but overall, the mentors don’t think he’s really made it unique.
Nicholas defends himself, telling Jessica that if she understood what was happening in men’s fashion right now, she’d understand that his jackets are very fashion forward. Furthermore, he doesn’t appreciate women giving him advice about men’s fashion. Jessica reminds him that talking down to women in the fashion business isn’t the best move, especially considering their majority in positions of power on the show. She admits she kind of wants to smack him across the face, and Elle is embarrassed by her homeboy’s behavior. Sadly, the buyers aren’t interested in either Barbara or Nicholas’ clothing, so both of them are at risk of elimination.
Next up are Ross Bennett and Sarah Parrott, a 31-year-old stay-at-home mom from Georgia with no formal design training. Ross is a married guy who loves to hunt and fish and has studied tailoring with some of the best. Mentor Jessica is thrilled to discover that she and Ross went to the same high school. For his signature look, he has created a flowing full-length culotte. When Sarah’s mom died, she decided it was finally time to go after her dreams. For her signature look, she’s created three variations on a shift dress. The mentors love Sarah’s dresses, even though they want to see her push the bar higher. Sadly, none of them love Ross’ look. He says that he specializes in fit, but his culottes are so loose fitting, it’s hard to tell. The buyers react in much the same favor, passing over Ross’ looks in favor of Sarah’s – who wins an $80,000 bid from H&M!
Ronnie, Luciana, Lizzie and Lisa are the next designers to present their signature looks. A former Microsoft employee, Lizzie quit after buying two sewing machines on Craigslist. Tonight, everything changed for her when Macy’s bought her Asymmetrical Jersey Tunic for $60,000! The last showcase of the evening features Kara Laricks and Nzimiro Oputa. Kara specializes in accessories; she would love to create an entire woman’s line, but she hasn’t had the bandwidth to do it so far. She loves androgynous clothing, and her signature item is a collar, stand and tie. Nzimiro has created a functional blazer, which he thinks can go from the office to the club. The mentors can’t understand why Kara would choose to put her models in someone else’s clothes – this was her big chance, and the accessories just don’t cut it. Nevertheless, her presentation was spot on. Everyone loves Nzimiro’s jacket, including H&M, who offers $50,000 for it.
At the end of the night, six designers have made sales and are safe, and the remaining eight are up for elimination. Needless to say, tensions are running high backstage, as the mentors and buyers talk amongst themselves. Who will the mentors save, and who will the buyers get rid of? Elle calls the buyers’ bottom three designers to the stage: Nicholas, Oscar and Kara. Nicole announces that the mentors have decided to save Oscar from elimination this week. Oscar breaks into tears and jumps around. Now Kara and Nicholas are left to face the buyers. Nicole, the buyer for H&M, explains the buyers’ doubts about Nicholas – they don’t think he’s open to criticism and doubt he has the chops to make it to the final weeks. Terence lowers the boom – Nicholas is going home tonight.