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Other competition shows buffer the focus of their finale with huge musical numbers and celebrity guests. On Fashion Star, it’s ALL about the clothes! Setting an example for the expectations we had of the contestants, the show started with Jessica Simpson‘s very first runway presentation of her collection.
Her spring collection was so much fun to style, because the colors were vibrant, the patterns were strong and the fabrics flowed beautifully. Flowy fabrics are always the most exciting to see walk down the runway, as they take on a new life. The finale look was beautiful but our model, Ashley Alexander, had trouble tripping over the train during fittings. I had a small gold ring sewn on to the skirt for her to hold. This is a fun trick to do when wearing a long dress, as it gives you the option of shortening it for walking or dancing. I prefer dancing while walking.
Dressed in Versace for H+M, Nicole Christie, H+M buyer, described the competition in a nutshell. She demanded that the winner had a unique viewpoint, was ahead of the trends, and kept the customer in mind. She said that fashion comes first. H+M is one of the world’s highest grossing fashion brands, which legitimizes every word out of Christie’s mouth.
Differently than the initial nine episodes, the designers created every single garment that you saw on the runway last night. I consulted with the contestants during the design process, as well as accessorized with jewelry and shoes. My job stopped there. A lot more weight was thrown on to their shoulders this time around.
The contestant showcases started with Kara’s looks for H+M. She threw some bold prints and khakis at us which are huge for summer. John felt that her drop crotch pants would be a tough sell, but felt strongly about the look as a whole.
We were interrupted briefly while Nicole Richie and contestant, Nzimiro Oputa, flirted a bit. They even involved his family from the audience, while Nicole referred to them as her “in-laws.” Nzimiro got in touch with his feminine side this time around. For H+M, he designed a womenswear look for his model, Jordan, which he said was a female representation of him. Complete with a vest and pants, she owned the stage.
Ronnie brought an amazing slate silk jumpsuit to the stage that model, Monroe, fit perfectly. Its curves and proportions thoroughly impressed H+M. or Saks, the designers stepped up to a higher-end customer. Kara Laricks‘ gown was decorated with long back ribbon detail while sticking to her androgynous image. For a girl who had issues finding HER feminine side, she design a magical dress that wowed the mentors. Terron, Saks buyer, declared that she completely understood his aesthetic.
Ronnie brought us a sequin mid-length dress, a floral gown, and a white suit with a double-lapel. He used the fabric from the floral dress to make a tie for the suit, pulling it all together. While Ronnie was designing some menswear-inspired looks, Nzimiro nailed menswear on the head. He designed the perfect capsule collection for a beach weekend.
Caprice Willard, dressed in a look we saved for the final episode, was looking for a broad range appeal as Macy’s services an array of customers. Ronnie made sure that his looks were stylish without looking too stuffy. After telling us about his childhood of “hand-me-downs,” he revealed how excited he was to design for a department store that was out of the question for him grown up. He created a zig zag color-block polo that made the male audience drewl.
Kara’s black dress stormed the runway looking perfect, but didn’t always have the appeal. She was hesitant in the design studio when she felt that it was boring and wouldn’t get a rise out of the buyers. She altered it quickly with a few adjustments to the hem. I love the t-strap heels we put with her white suit, as you don’t see this look often. It lightens up what could come off as a heavy silhouette. Jessica challenged the American woman to step out of the box and give Kara’s Macy’s looks a try. Caprice thought the collection could sit beautifully on the contemporary floor of the store.
Ronnie gave us another floral gown which offered more of a summer vibe than the previous one for Saks. His ivory silk lapel suit sold John Varvatos over, but his printed dress threw John off. Caprice’s only concern was whether or not the three looks could be cohesive as a collection. Stand-alone pieces can be beautifully, but it is necessary to merchandise things together on the sales floor.
Nicole Richie congratulated all of the finalists, as they had all sold to each of the three retailers. She revealed that this hasn’t even been done by the mentors or host, Elle Macpherson. After heart palpitations and back sweats, the winner of Fashion Star‘s first season was revealed…Kara Laricks! She had a rocky start but proved to be a beautiful person inside out and out. She not only creates beauty through her art, but makes people feel beautiful being in her presence. I am proud to call her a colleague and a dear friend. I know she will overwhelm us all with her success. You can find her capsule collections in Macy’s, Saks, and H+M NOW!
Until next season, I am Daniel Musto and am always thrilled to sneak you backstage on all my hottest projects.