“The Fashion Show” is supposedly about “real fashion, for real women.” I never bought the whole “real women” shtick and remained even more unconvinced after last week’s episode when all the contestants balked at the challenge of designing an outfit for a woman who weighed in at over a whopping two lbs. Whatevs, I don’t really care if the show is about “real people.” Reality TV is nothing about real people anyway. I want fabulous and disastrous fashion (in equal doses, please), snarky judges and crazy contestants. I don’t think I am asking for much, especially considering the fact that this is “The Fashion Show.” And yet, last night’s episode was oddly devoid of fashion. Sure there was fabric, but fabric clearly took a backseat to contrived drama and Kelly Rowland’s rant. I knew I was in trouble the second Rico couldn’t remember Sarah Palin’s name. When Bravo starts pulling up irrelevant soundbites like that, it usually foreshadows a show lacking in content and trying to make up for it with outrageous statements. The mini challenge of designing a graphic-tee based on a high school clique was cute enough. Some of the clique categories were a bit dopey, like “b-girl” and “mean girl,” but I get that the producers needed enough cliques for the number of contestants and had to make up a few to even out the numbers. Plus, I am still cackling to myself that “mean girl” is a clique. Tina Fey should be proud. Anyway, the main challenge was actually intriguing: making an outfit inspired by the look for a girl in her 20′s. At this very moment hope swelled in my heart — I was actually curious how the designers would take a trend a 16-year-old would wear and use that as inspiration for a more sophisticated version for a girl in her twenty-somethings.
The catwalk was not a disappointment. Most of the looks really were creative takes on cliched styles. As I am not a skater, I probably won’t be wearing Haven’s sophisticated skater look, but if I saw a girl walking down the street in it, I would think she looked pretty badass. Even though I mocked Merlin’s “mean girl” category, he actually pulled out an outfit a bit too pink for my personal taste, but is definitely something I could see Regina George wearing when she goes back to being a bitch in college in “Mean Girls 2.” Good thing I was not in the studio or I would have tackled Rico’s model and run off with the white strapless dress with the plaid vest. Overall there were few flops. With almost every look I was like “that’s so clever, I hadn’t thought of that style in that way before.” Of course there were some busts. Johnny R’s fringe leggings…yeah, I am speechless too. They were fugly as well as completely unrelated to jock fashion. I didn’t get Angel’s b-girl look, but I guess that is why she was voted off the fashion island.
For all the fashion chat I bet you thought the show actually talked about the fantastic runway show. Nope. The last half of the show was devoted to Kelly’s temper tantrum and and sewing room drama. The judges ripped into Angel for not knowing b-girl style. Yes, Angel’s outfit was dopey and uninspired, and her defense that she was unfamiliar with hip-hop culture because she was from Indiana was lame.
But this is why “The Fashion Show” is such a poor substitute for “Project Runway.” Instead of talking about all the great designs, the judging basically consisted of Kelly proclaiming her “great respect” for hip-hop and how insulted she was that it was portrayed in such an insulting manner. Kelly, who do you think you are fooling? Did you think that by saying you revere hip-hop (a genre your own music barely fits into), people will think of you as a fashion expert rather than as a singer posing as a fashion expert? I am not buying that. She ranted and raved (much as I am doing now) about the great disrespect shown to the hip-hop community, but come on, the outfit wasn’t nearly good enough to make any kind of statement, let alone an offensive one.