Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thoughts on The Fashion show

As we are gearing up for the finale, I thought I should give my views on Bravo's attempt to corner the competition from Project runway, who jumped ship last year to the Lifetime channel. The Fashion show was clearly up for a tough ride from the start. The concept had already been done, with great success, and it's inevitable that every little thing in the show will be compared with the original. While Project runway, when it started, could ride on the wave of innovation and excitement, The Fashion show struggles with the stigma of "been there done that".

So was The Fashion show a doomed project from the start? Perhaps, but not necessary. Other reality shows has survived new spins on the same concept, like Gordon Ramsey's Hells kitchen vs Top Chef or the various talent shows that has been popping in the aftermath of American idol.

Instead I think The Fashion show main problem lies in it's execution. To me it looks a bit sloppy, like it was rushed and done on a shoestring. One of the issues that I have with the production is that it doesn't allow us to connect with the contestants. After nine episodes we know hardly anything about them, which makes it hard to get involved in what will happen to the participants. As for watching a reality show without caring about the outcome - well it doesn't make for exciting viewing.
I know it's easy to say "I only care about the clothes" when dissing the reality show format with it's focus on strong personalities and drama. I know I have said similar things myself in the past. But after watching The Fashion show, I realized I was wrong. A good reality show needs it's characters, needs the drama, needs to be compelling.

Another problem with The Fashion show is that it doesn't put Isaac Mizrahi into good use. He should have been more hands on, more involved in what goes on in the design room. Then his funny and often compelling side would have shined through. Actually Tom and Lorenzo of Project rungay has a great suggestion for how to improve the show - let them work for Isaac, like they did in episode 7.

So will the The Fashion show get a second season? My guess is no. And even if there will be a next season, I doubt it's staying power in the current format. Although I do think there are some potential if they tweak the concept. As for whom I think will be the winner? My money is on Anna, while not super inventive, she is consistent and I think will make a very cohesive final collection.


  1. Oh. I really want there to be a second season. I understand the issues, but I do still kind of like it. Maybe because I was so underwhelmed last season with Project Runway.

  2. >>Cidell: Regarding a next season, I might be wrong - I have been before :) But I do hope that they make some adjustments if they continue. Yes PR US has lost it's luster a bit on me too, I actually preferred the Canadian one this year.

  3. I've bee following The Fashion Show on YouTube, I have to say it doesn't stand up to Project Runway, even though I too was underwhelmed by last season, I agree that I don't feel any connection with the contestants, plus I hate the way Isaac and Kelly only manage to pull faces when they are reviewing the designs, no constructive criticism at all!
    Another thing that annoys me is how similar the graphics are to Project Runway, they didn't even try to inject some originality into that ... all together I think it's a lazy attempt to cash in on the popularity of PR.

  4. I had not considered that Bravo might not pick up the show for another season! If they're making any profit from the sales of the winners' clothes on, that might be extra incentive to keep going. Only time will tell...

    I was thinking about sharing some additional thoughts on TFS, too, but I will write them on my own blog instead of hijacking your comments section. :)

  5. >>Sonia Luna: Oh I so agree about those faces. That's one of the things I am mostly disappointed with, the lack of dialog between K and I and the contestants.

    >>Antoinette: I am too very curious how the sales has been going for those clothes. Not sure all of them are all that sellable, especially since there is very little buzz around the designers.

    But I guess the kicker will be the ratings. I just checked now and they are 1 million vs 4 million for PR. Don't know how that fares in the US (bravo is cable right?), though it sounds unimpressive to me. But the Bravo execs still sounded happy in the NY times article. So who knows what will happen. I might be eating my hat during the new season.