Friday, May 8, 2009

The Fashion Show - Episode 1 - The Good, the Bad, and the Fugly

The Fashion Show premiered last night on Bravo, and I must say – I liked it. I didn’t love it (like I did when RuPaul’s Drag Race premiered) – but I liked it.

Let’s face it, TFS is a blatant rip-off of our beloved Project Runway – and it will never be as good as PR. But The Fashion Show did have some things going for it.

First of all – the positives: Two words - Isaac Mizrahi. I would watch a show with nothing but Isaac Mizrahi running errands … shopping for groceries, picking up prescriptions, buying stamps at the Post Office, etc. The man is entertaining and engaging. If Isaac wasn’t on TFS, it would be a disaster.

Number two positive: Fern Mallis. She is THE go-to person when it comes to New York City fashion shows. She invented the Bryant Park shows – and as one of the designtestants said last night, she has seen most of the fashion that has walked down the runway in the past 15 years. Fern gives The Fashion Show legitimacy.

The third thing I love about TFS: there was absolutely no mention of the models – JUST LIKE IN A REAL FASHION SHOW! Sorry to say it folks, but runway models are there to walk and keep their mouths shut.

On the negative side, I have two more words: Kelly Rowland. Yes, she is pretty – but she’s no Heidi Klum. And yes, they forced her to be a little bitchy, but she’s no Meana Garzilla. And I don’t understand how attending fashion shows for the past few years makes you qualified to host a show about fashion. I’ve been to Yankee games, but I won’t be starting at Shortstop anytime soon. Although I HAVE put in my application for Locker Room Attendant…

So, I’ll step off my soap box now and give you a little recap of last night’s mayhem. Please keep in mind that the first show is all about getting to know the contestants. In addition, we also have to learn about the judges and the format because this show is brand new. Therefore, there was a lot of exposition and not much action last night.

The first few minutes of the show was spent by introducing us to the 15 designers one-by-one as they entered the workspace. Go HERE and watch the video. Seriously – do it now, I’ll wait. If you don’t, you won’t know who in the hell I’m talking about.

Wasn’t that fun?!? Some of the highlights for me: Johnny R. looked like he had woken up from a weeklong heroin and Heineken bender, wrapped himself in his bedspread, and headed to the workspace. I have a feeling I’m going to hate him. Seriously, a shower and shave would go a long way with that mess.

I predict that Reco, the SASSY fashiontestant who made stripper clothes to pay his way through college, will say “OH NO SHE DI-INT!” at least once before being sent home. Mark my words.

And then there’s Merlin. Merlin, Merlin, Merlin… How to describe Merlin…?...?...

Ok, here it goes. If Agador…

…the houseboy/maid from The Birdcage, made a baby with Charo…

… and then they gave up the baby to be raised by RuPaul’s Drag Race runner-up Nina Flowers…

… you get Merlin…

Merlin is one of those flamboyant Queens you invite to your party because you know he’ll spice things up. But after three drinks, when he’s showing his moob-cleavage and dry-humping the downstairs neighbor lady, all you want him to do is leave.

And that accent. Ricky Ricardo sounds like William F. Buckley compared to Merlin.

“I never went to da school to lurn fa-shon”. It shows.

Kristen: “Do you know any magic tricks, Merlin?”
Merlin: “I dee-sa-peer pipple one by one”. Like Clearasil???

Anywhore, after everyone has gathered, Isaac and Kelly walk in and introduce themselves. They explain to the contestants that they will be judged in this competition on four things – creativity, construction, wearability, and salability. I still like the four things the RuPaul Dragtestants are judged on:

Nerve, and

Actually, I think ALL reality competition shows should follow RuPaul’s C.U.N.T. guidelines. If nothing else, it would guarantee that Adam Lambert would be the next American Idol.

Part of The Fashion Show’s format is a Quickfire Shortcut Photoshoot Mini-Challenge at the beginning of each episode. This week’s Mini-Challenge is to create a little black dress out of a simple black t-shirt. They have one hour.

The 15 fashiontestants do the usual scramble. Merlin puts his white go-go boots on a sewing machine, which is supposed to make it his “ma-cheen”. When the low-energy Anna – who looks like she needs a Red Bull and an Eightball of Columbian’s finest – uses his ma-cheen machine, Merlin looses his shit.

At the end of the hour, Padma walks into the kitchen and yells “Utensils Down, Hands Up!”. Or something like that.

Isaac informs everyone that he and Kelly will NOT be judging the Quickfire/Shortcut/Mini-Challenge. Laura Brown from Harper’s Bazaar will do the honors.

Here’s where having a brand new show with a different format is a hindrance. When Ms. Brown was introduced, I had questions: Who is Laura Brown? Will she be judging the Quick/Short/Mini-Challenge every week? Why does she have such an attitude? Does she really think she’s funny? I wonder if my roommate has any cookies hidden somewhere. Is that a pipple pimple on my chin?...

Anywhoo, Downtown Laura Brown judges all the Little Black Messes. James-Paul, the weird guy with the Japanese wooden sandals, attached a garment bag to the inside of his little black mess using safety pins. It was possibly the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen in my entire life. Ok, it wasn’t quite as scary as this…

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. I’m sorry, but that mess cracks me up every time I see it.

The three winners of the Quickie/Mini/Thingy are Keith, Johnny R, and Merlin. The Hot Mess contingent is already showing strong.

For the Elimination Challenge, the designers will be broken down into three teams, and Keith, Johnny R, and Merlin will be able to pick their teams and be the Team Leader. One-by-one they choose their teammates.

Isaac informs them that the first Elimination Challenge is all about a “must-have” piece. Each team will select a must-have garment and create five different looks centered around their central piece. They must create a “cohesive collection” with these five looks.

The teams huddle and decide what their must-have item will be. Johnny immediately decides his team will do a harem pant. Because when I think “must-have”, I think of this …

Keith’s team does a little arguing. Keith wants to do a pencil skirt, while 23-year-old Kristen thinks that is boring and wants to do a tube skirt. Kristen wins and they go with a reversible tube skirt.

Team Merlin will be doing a bolero Jacket. Natch.

Time for fabric shopping. I’m sorry, but B&J – despite the fantastic name – just isn’t the same as Mood. Inside, the young Daniella and the mystical Merlin begin their epic battle for control of Camelot, or fabric color, or something. Daniella thinks they should use Navy Blue, but Merlin thinks it would be a “dee-sass-tur” and will look like a “yoo-nee-furm”. Can’t we all just get along?

Back in the workroom, Haven gives us our first “I’m not that good at sewing” moment. OMG – nothing annoys me more on these shows than when contestants don’t possess the basic skills to win. That’s like going on Top Chef and not knowing how to make dessert – or appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race and not possessing C, U, N or T.

Merlin, in a mad grab for power, decides that he is the “Lidder”, and wants to change the Bolero Jacket. Of course, he must do it dramatically so he chops off part of his jacket – requiring his teammates to do the same. When his sworn enemy, Morgane Le Fay Daniella, objects, Merlin yells: “Go and cry! Male dum-ee-nay-shun girl – GET IT!” That Queen is straight-up insane.

Isaac and Kelly come in for a Tim Gunn-esque visit. But instead of using the Tim Gunn patented “Gather round”, Isaac was forced to say the lame “Just come around…”. The Fashion Show is going to have to work on establishing some catch phrases. For instance, instead of “Make it work”, Isaac could say “Don’t f*ck it up!”. Oh, that’s right, RuPaul already thought of that.

They explain that during each weeks’ fashion show, the audience members (consisting of “fashion insiders”) will vote on the looks. Also, the winning look each week will be available to purchase on Then Isaac and Kelly visit each team.

First up, Team Johnny. Isaac seems skeptical that a gray satin harem pant could be a must-have item. Girl, I smell what you’re stepping in.

Then they visit Team Merlin. Merlin explains that his look is a “Five and up”, to which Isaac has to explain it’s called “After Five”. Then James-Paul tells Isaac and Kelly about his concept of “the cube”, and how he is incorporating it into his garment. If there were any crickets in the workroom, they would have chirped – because James-Paul’s concept was met with complete silence.

Finally they speak to the members of Team Keith. The tube dresses they have created are extremely tight – prompting Kelly to say it would take “some butter and a miracle to put that on me”. If that were the case, it would take a truckload of Astroglide, a team of Firemen, and The Jaws of Life to get ME into it.

Come to think of it, I think I have a DVD called “The Jaws of Life” featuring Astroglide and a bunch of hunky “Firefighters”. I’ll have to watch that tonight…

The next day is runway day, and the fashiontestants dress and style their anonymous models backstage before going to their own viewing room. In the auditorium, the “fashion insiders” take their seats around a triangular runway.

Let’s start the show. Wait, can I say that?? No? Okay … “The show will start now”. Damn, I miss Project Runway.

First up – team Johnny and his harem pants. Some of the pants were so droopy, I was waiting for Michael Kors to come out and yell “That crotch is INSANE!”.

Next up was Team Keith and the way-too-tight tube skirts. Reco commented that “Stretch wool DO NOT stretch THAT MUCH people, come on” – when he saw the skinny models being squeezed to death by these horrible skirts. True dat.

Finally, Team Merlin presents their five looks. Daniella thought Merlin’s look sucked ass. Merlin thought Daniella’s look sucked ass. The epic battle rages on.

One quick note about the runway presentation. I don’t know if it was the better lighting, different camera angles, or the actual quality of the garments – but every outfit looked HORRIBLE to me. I certainly hope that this isn’t the quality of work we’re going to see all season.

Time for judging. In addition to Isaac, Kelly, and Fern Mallis – this week’s Guest Judge is designer Elie Tahari.

Kelly announced to the designers that of the 15 “must-have” looks that came down the runway, there was not one she cared to have. Isaac commented that he was “embarrassed”. And not just because he was co-hosting the show with Kelly Rowland.

The audience picked the winning team, and then the Judges will pick the winning designer on that team. Team Johnny/Harem Pants is safe – and Merlin’s team is the winner.

When they announced that Merlin’s team had won, everyone hugged and jumped up and down – except Daniella. When asked what’s wrong, she informed the judges about Merlin’s “male domination” statement. The judges immediately poo-poo’d it as a language barrier issue, and Merlin lied out of his ass and says he would never say that. All of a sudden, Merlin “No speek-ee Inglee berry gud”. Shady.

The Judges’ two favorite looks were Merlin’s and James-Paul’s. When they ask James-Paul to describe his look, he begins with “I’ve been working on a theory…”

Reco, appropriately, rolls his eyes. Note to James-Paul: in the immortal words of Santino Rice: “It’s only fashion”. This ain’t quantum physics or even algebra. It’s fa-shon (as Merlin would say).

The winner is … James-Paul. Immediately following, during the commercial break, Bravo announced that the winning design could be purchased on Bravo is like the crack whore of cable networks – it is always thinking of new ways to make a dollar.

Team TubeMess/Keith is the losing team. And the two worst looks were Kristen’s and menswear designer Jonny D’s. Kristen’s look was described by the audience as “bargain basement”, and Jonny’s as “slutty”. If they would have worked together, they could have made the perfect outfit for Tara Reid.

The Judges deliberate. Fern no likee Jonny, and Elie Tahari no likee Kristen. But we all know that on this show, Fern’s opinion is the only opinion – and Jonny is sent home.

And again, the catch phrase is lacking. Instead of the Heidi Klum trademark “Auf Wiedersehen”, Isaac gives Jonny a lame “Buh-bye, Darling”.

Seriously, they need to do better than that. I suggest – “See ya – wouldn’t wanna to be ya”, or the ultimate…

“Peace, Bitch”

What did you all think about The Fashion Show?


mikeinbama said...

I thought it was ok but not great. I can tell there is going to be major drama and people screaming at each other every week. Some of the contestants were taking themselves way too serious. They have a good mix of people but I hope the contestants don't think their personalities are going to win the competition.

I'll give it a C+ with room to improve. I think Issac is going to make or break the show. He needs to be more involved and let his awesome personality loose. If we see Issac from his documentary Unzipped, he will be the star of the show.

I couldn't help but laugh when that hoochie tube skirt came walking out and that bitch could barely walk.

Great Recap......Hilarious as always!

theminx said...

I enjoyed it. There was a bit too much going on which drove me crazy while doing my recap (here, by the way) but overall I liked the show.

And your recap is great. You should write one in all-Merlin. :)


Howard said...

I am not loving the show. A little too much rip-off, and too much absence of personality from Isaac and Kelly R. It seems very forced, and lacking in charm.

C'est moi, c'est moi Lola said...

Love your recap David!

I too thought there was a little Agador/Nina Flowers in that accent. *sigh* I miss Nina Flowers. Ay, loca! I like Merlin for good reality tv (esp. vs. Morgana LeFay), but I'd never want to spend more than 15 minutes with him in person.

I smirked a little when Le Mizrahi did his own "gather 'round". *Sigh* I miss Tim.

The harshness of Mr. Isaac needs to tone the f*ck down. TLo are right, he is one of the Heathers. *sigh* I miss Nina Garcia. But I LOVE Fern Mallis.

It's not a total trainwreck, but I'm hoping it improves in the next couple epis. Otherwise I'll just revisit DVDs of the original for my fashion dramarama fix.

And David - stop wondering if your roommate is hording cookies somewhere! I want to keep on seeing good results in your weigh-in posts!


Dan said...

I thought it was just ok. I will tape it, but probably not make a point of popping the popcorn and staking my place out on the sofa. I hope that it gets better as it progresses.

As for Merlin, good lord what was that queen wearing?

Mark in DE said...

First off, your recaps are always THE BEST! I liked the show but didn't love it, just like you did.

When I heard Merlin say "Male domination, girl. Get it." I said to myself 'you KNOW David Dust will jump all over that'. LOL!!!

frogponder said...

Merlin. I have a feeling he'll stay around for shear drama. Was he wearing a burka at one point? - I think it was while he was watching the fashion show backstage.

Felt a little over produced at times. Everyone needs to relax.

Liked the quickfire - going to be interesting to see how they work that every episode.

Like the idea of the must have for the season and then showing different looks. But the choices!!

I miss, miss, miss TIM!
And Michael, Heidi and Nina.

Best of all - having a Dust Recap to look forward to.

Tivo Mom said...

Did you not think that Reco looks like JJ Walker from Good Times. I so wanted him to say dynamite! I agree with everything. I think we need to get used to it and the show needs to find its groove. First season of Top Chef was weird too and look at it now.

Brandon said...

I sorta liked it. I love Kelly Rowland but she isn't the personality type to be a host of a show. But it's fine. Most Bravo shows have the "pretty face" co-host replaced after the first season (Top Chef, Tim Gunn's Guide to style, etc).

I think if they stop trying to be like Project Runway and just be their own individual show, it could be really good. If it doesn't get somewhat better by episode 3 I'm probably going to stop watching. I'll keep reading your recaps, though.

Jennie said...

I have got to find this show online. I was howling when Kristen popped off with "Panty-christ." If that isn't a t-shirt waiting to happen, I don't know what the hell is.

The contestants confuse me. I wonder if they opted for personality over ability in order to make a memorable first season. You're on a design show and you can't sew? WTF?!?

And I predict that Kelly will be replaced if the show makes it to another season.

Smashing recap, David!

Joy said...

Oh, how I've missed your recaps!! Perfection!! Like you, I liked but didn't love it but will keep watching and give it a chance. I'd like to see Kelly replaced and want Isaac to be more. They'll find their niche soon, I hope.

The guy in the Japanese sandals reminds me of a Tango Siriano wannabee. Merlin is so over the top! There are things about it I like and hope the designs get better.

The best part is watching and knowing you'll recap!


Bob said...

My opinion?

What you said, m'kay.
Especially about Beyonce's backup singer, Miss Fashion Thang.

Jimmy said...

We first experienced Merlin on the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. That little sway backed chili pepper had to teach those bitches how to walk.

Wonder Man said...

That Merlin is a mess

Bittybis said...

I've been watching movies all my life. Does that mean I'm qualified to judge a film directing competition?

Kwana said...

Loved your recap. I'd give it a B. I'm like you. I'd each Isaac do anything. Are you listing to his show on Sirus radio on the Martha channel. So much fun.

I like Kelly. Alway have. I guess I felt that Beyonce held her back and she was always the cutest from Destiny's Child but not Daddy's girl. Shrug. I think she'll grow.

It's no PR and they need much better production quality and I'm sooo glad they don' talk about the models. Who cares. I sure miss Nina though.

Cliff O'Neill said...

Darlin', you're just consistently fab. We'll see if the show grows on me.


Laura K said...

I think it will get better as the season moves forward. Thanks for the GREAT recap!!!

Miss Ginger Grant said...

GURL- I peed myself over your model in the harem pants!
I thought the show was exactly what I expected: "all we got was this sad, brown dress!" Issac can't carry the show alone, and Kelly adds nothing. It takes more than a room full of flamers and goth girls to make a reality show! Oh, and by the way: when didi they get bunk beds at the Parker Meridien? Just wondering.
Still, I'm glad Bravo is airing it so we get one of your recaps every week!

jojo said...

Loved the Recap! The show was okay - I think it will get better as the series progresses. Kelly Rowland needs to go. I was paying attention to see what she would say after they first saw the designs and went into the hallway... all she did was agree with Isaac! I don't think she said much more than mmmhmm. Girl doesn't seem to have any original thoughts. I think the contestants and Isaac will make up the personality of the show... we'll see...

yrfrndjsh! said...

I have to be honest, I love Kelly Rowland. She may be second in command, but she's still a fierce diva in her own right.

That being said; I agree that the show was a wet-ass mess. Unless Bravo has clauses against reality shows getting canceled mid-season, I see an impending doom on the horizon...unless a catchphrase is created.

Isaac needs to say something hot like "Not in my fashion show, bitch!" when a contestant leaves and Kelly should just flip her weave at them as they walk defeated out of the runway area.

Instead of "Make it work," Kelly should say "Get it right." Same syllables, it works.
Save niceties for PR.

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