Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New host, new twist on The Fashion Show, season 2

Cast and competitors of "The Fashion Show: Ultimate Collection"
Twelve designers, two design houses, one world renowned supermodel...and you have the "Ultimate Collection". Well, hopefully. Season 2 of "The Fashion Show: Ultimate Collection" debuted this evening on Bravo, with a new host and a new concept.

Now, I love good fashion TV, but to be completely honest I was leery of a "Project Runway" copy-cat (which it basically was last season). To my pleasant surprise, the new twist gives it all little more distinction than its ex-Bravo counterpart, testing designers a little farther than just making clothes.

The designers were split into two fashion houses, the Green House and the Blue House, later named and House of Emerald Syx and House of Nami, respectfully. The slant of the competition is to design as individuals while creating a cohesive collection specific to their design house.

Their first challenge was to use the new hostess, Iman, as a muse. Her story, career and "bubbly yet prickly" personality were all to be taken into consideration.

Speaking of Iman, as a hostess she was a little much for me. Her supermodel persona came off way more dramatic than necessary, so much that she put Tyra's ANTM  elimination act to shame. As co-host Isaac Mizrahi was a pleasant down-to-earth compliment to Iman's over dramatized hostessing

I originally had high hopes for House of Emerald Syx based on their concept for employing a brightly colored palate to compliment Imans bronze skin tone. They turned out to be a little disappointing and their efforts at a theatrical presentation left me feeling a little awkward. Their models started on the runway under sheets and were unveiled one by one. Syx was "all over the place" in both their designs and personalities. Even Mizrahi was "terrified by the dissension" among the team.

Nami seemed more cooperative, although their inspiration was a little boring. I thought it was very typical to pull from Imans African roots. But their "modern jungle" theme was pulled off quiet seamlessly. Their presentation was sleek and their designs were unified by a white color theme with a pop of print in the finale gown.

With a very arrogant group of designers, I was curious as to how this competition would play out. And like every other reality show/competition, you have your stand-out competitors, heros and villains.

The Villain: Calvin both entertains and annoys me. Definitely the house bitch. I just can't understand why he's so evil, but, of course, it makes for good TV.

The Straight Arrow: David is the token straight male in the competition. I like him; his personal and design style stands out to me. 

The Partners in Crime: Cindy and Golnessa compete not only as fellow designers, but as best friends and co-owners of fashion label "Goci". This could get ugly and will definitely be a test of faith for their friendship and partnership. Only one of them can win.

The Know-It-All: Mike's self-proclaimed "visionary concepts" may not be all he cracks it up to be. For some inexplicable reason, he just gets on nerves.

The Hero: Cesar impressed me as a designer and even more so as a teammate. His craftmanship allowed him to crank out a stellar piece under the time constraints and spend his extra time coaching and supporting his team.

The Dark Horse: Eduardo de la Casas is a competitor that my mom actually spotted online before he was on the show and pegged him as a potential designer for my show, Fashion In Focus. He didn't make much of a splash in the first episode, but his refreshing South Beach-style designs were received generously by the judges.

In the end, House of Syx was lacking in cohesion. In my opinion they were also afflicted with sub-par models. Self-admittidely the group was lacking in unity and it was clear in the developement (or lack of) in their collection. Calvin's conflict with Iman didn't help either. Francine was named "out of fashion" for her mall-like creation. She left a sore loser, but who could blame her after the confrontation with Calvin, who was also in the bottom 2.

House of Nami produced this week's "Ultimate Collection", because of the strength and unity of the collection it presented.  The judges felt that their production most accurately represented the "6 aspects of Imans personality". The look that ultimately won was Cesar's one-shouldered black and white print gown that captured the elegant side of Iman and celebrated the feminine figure.

Iman was a little too dramatic for me, almost to the point of coming off cheesy. And actually so much so that she puts Tyra's ANTM  elimination act to shame. Mizrahi, however, was a pleasant compliment to Imans over dramatized hostessing 

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