Fashion Star: Season 1, Episode 9

Before They Were Stars: Terron gives his takes on episode nine of Fashion Star

I first met Nzimiro, Kara and Ronnie in less-than-glamorous circumstances. My fellow buyers and I sat in a little room at an airport hotel in L.A. for hours on end. Dozens of designers would walk in, with each getting just 15 minutes to introduce themselves and their design aesthetic. Of course, there was a huge one-way mirror with NBC producers behind it, giving the entire situation the feeling of a police lineup. FIRST IMPRESSION OF RONNIE: Ronnie didn’t really stand out at the time, though he may have had the strongest design background of anyone in the competition. In addition to his current position at Abercrombie, Ronnie had worked for Zac Posen and Chado Ralph Rucci—two designers that we sell at Saks. I also noticed that…

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I first met Nzimiro, Kara and Ronnie in less-than-glamorous circumstances. My fellow buyers and I sat in a little room at an airport hotel in L.A. for hours on end. Dozens of designers would walk in, with each getting just 15 minutes to introduce themselves and their design aesthetic. Of course, there was a huge one-way mirror with NBC producers behind it, giving the entire situation the feeling of a police lineup.

FIRST IMPRESSION OF RONNIE: Ronnie didn’t really stand out at the time, though he may have had the strongest design background of anyone in the competition. In addition to his current position at Abercrombie, Ronnie had worked for Zac Posen and Chado Ralph Rucci—two designers that we sell at Saks. I also noticed that he had served in the Navy.

FIRST IMPRESSION OF NZIMIRO: Nzimiro came across as someone still very new to the design world. He was an engineer with great energy, and needless to say has come a long way since our original encounter. But at the time, I was worried about his ability to create clothes that would fit in at Saks Fifth Avenue. The proof? Here’s the initial sheet I filled out on Nzimiro (note that the show didn’t even have a name yet).

FIRST IMPRESSION OF KARA: Kara was one of the last designers of the night—a big disadvantage when you consider that the buyers were exhausted and more than a little cranky as the hour approached 1am. To her credit, Kara was relentlessly positive from the beginning. I was most struck by our similar influences. Kara spoke about being inspired by Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo, Alexandre McQueen and Jil Sander—all designers that I admire.

Nice Makes Right

One final note to all the aspiring designers out there. Notice how all three finalists are charming, humble and—dare I say it—nice? If you’re going to get your label off the ground, you’ve got to work with so many people: retail buyers, PR agents, customers, pattern-makers, party promoters, magazine editors, Cirque de Soleil performers flying above your runway show, and the list goes on. It may seem like design is all attitude, but a sunny disposition does wonders when you’re trying to get a large number of people to believe in your vision.

Last Looks from Orly and Nikki

Though they didn’t make it to the finals, I’m excited about the looks we bought this week. Nikki’s form-fitting candy cane of a dress is ideal for hot summer days, and Orly’s hourglass sheath is feminine but strikingly simple. Both are available now at saks.com.

 

MORE:

Watch Online: Missed the show? Watch it online!

Terron’s Takes: Terron gives his takes for each episode of Fashion Star.

Visit us on Facebook: Meet mentors Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson and John Varvatos — and sign up for updates.

Shop the Looks: Shop the winning styles from every episode of Fashion Star.


Fashion Star: Season 1, Episode 8

Terron gives his takes on episode eight of Fashion Star

This week’s challenge was my favorite: creating advertising images to represent a brand. Fashion advertising is unique in its aspiration to create true works of art—witness the photographs of Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, Albert Watson, and the list goes on. Great fashion ads are in the eye of the beholder, but there are a few general rules. 1. You must have a strong point of view, as well as the skill and courage to convey it.  Brand guru Peter Arnell came up with this campaign for Donna Karan in 1992. The images are amazing, but there was genius in the decision to simply visualize a female presidency—an idea whose time had come. 2. Be bold and graphic in your choice of…

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This week’s challenge was my favorite: creating advertising images to represent a brand. Fashion advertising is unique in its aspiration to create true works of art—witness the photographs of Richard Avedon, Helmut Newton, Herb Ritts, Bruce Weber, Albert Watson, and the list goes on. Great fashion ads are in the eye of the beholder, but there are a few general rules.

1. You must have a strong point of view, as well as the skill and courage to convey it. 

Brand guru Peter Arnell came up with this campaign for Donna Karan in 1992. The images are amazing, but there was genius in the decision to simply visualize a female presidency—an idea whose time had come.

2. Be bold and graphic in your choice of themes, shapes and colors. 

One of my all-time favorites is Guy Bourdin, a tortured artist of the first order. His images for Charles Jourdan shoes were never quite about shoes—but they would stop you in your tracks.

3. Insist on the best talent. That goes for the photographer, model, stylist, makeup…everything.

A few years ago, we wanted to develop a propaganda-themed trend campaign for Saks. So we hired street artist Shepard Fairey (who went on to create the legendary Barack Obama poster). The campaign garnered an immense amount of attention and press, both positive and negative. But as I said on Fashion Star: if the advertising goes unnoticed, everything else is immaterial.


Kara and Luciana

The two strongest ad campaigns on Fashion Star happened to feature the two strongest looks (no surprise there). I thought Kara’s genderless world concept worked beautifully. It was all yin-and-yang, black-and-white, with a precisely tailored tuxedo shirt as the star.

Luciana’s ad conveyed her personality, style and vision with an energy that was quite impressive. I wondered why the trees were all dead in a spring ad, but they did allow the dress’s bold print to grab all the attention.

Both looks are available here right now.

Until next week,

 

MORE:

Watch Online: Missed the show? Watch it online!

Terron’s Takes: Terron gives his takes for each episode of Fashion Star.

Visit us on Facebook: Meet mentors Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson and John Varvatos — and sign up for updates.

Shop the Looks: Shop the winning styles from every episode of Fashion Star.


Fashion Star: Season 1, Episode 7

Terron gives his takes on episode seven of Fashion Star

Fashion Star is a competition between designers. But there’s an interesting sub-plot: the weekly face-off between the buyers and mentors. We’re not technically competing, of course. But like many up-and-coming designers, the Fashion Star contestants have to decide whose advice to take. Do you trust the owners of other design businesses? Or the buyers who have the final say on whether or not to purchase your clothes? Fashion Star gives us a way to compare, because the mentors save someone every week and the buyers dismiss someone every week. So… Who Has Done the Best Job So Far? The Mentors (Jessica Simpson, John Varvatos, Nicole Richie) or the Buyers (Caprice Willard, Terron Schaefer, Nicole Christie). Tell me in the comments section below. What It’s Like…

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Fashion Star is a competition between designers. But there’s an interesting sub-plot: the weekly face-off between the buyers and mentors. We’re not technically competing, of course. But like many up-and-coming designers, the Fashion Star contestants have to decide whose advice to take. Do you trust the owners of other design businesses? Or the buyers who have the final say on whether or not to purchase your clothes?

Fashion Star gives us a way to compare, because the mentors save someone every week and the buyers dismiss someone every week. So…

Who Has Done the Best Job So Far?

The Mentors (Jessica Simpson, John Varvatos, Nicole Richie) or the Buyers (Caprice Willard, Terron Schaefer, Nicole Christie). Tell me in the comments section below.

What It’s Like to Be a Judge

I spoke with W Magazine on the topic. You can find the interview here.

The Elimination

Sarah Parrott will not be our Fashion Star. From a buyer’s standpoint, this was an easy decision. Sarah started criticizing her own work, which is usually a bad idea. But this wasn’t just a case of an artist being self-critical. Sarah’s designs could have gone on sale to the American public in a matter of minutes. It was a terrible time to give viewers reasons not to buy her work.

I’m not downplaying honesty and self-reflection. But confidence in your design decisions is essential. Without it, you can get bogged down in second-guessing and general creative paralysis, making it nearly impossible for an up-and-coming designer to handle the workload.

Look around at the world’s most successful designers. They may have some, ahem, quirky personality traits. But a lack of self-confidence is rarely one of them.

Life is Tweet

Kara’s elegant shorts look is available here right now. As for next week’s winner, you can let me know how much you adore/despise it in real time. I’ll be live-tweeting @Saks during the show.

 

MORE:

Watch Online: Missed the show? Watch it online!

Terron’s Takes: Terron gives his takes for each episode of Fashion Star.

Visit us on Facebook: Meet mentors Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson and John Varvatos — and sign up for updates.

Shop the Looks: Shop the winning styles from every episode of Fashion Star.


Fashion Star: Episode 6

Terron gives his takes on episode six of Fashion Star

The signs are unmistakable. You spend a few extra minutes in the makeup room, and a few hundred thousand dollars on a pair of pants. Days just don’t seem special if a Cirque de Soleil performer doesn’t tumble from the trapeze during a fashion show. There’s no doubt about it… I’m having a mid-show crisis. I suppose I’ll just have to get it together, commiserate with Elle and concentrate on enjoying the time we still have. It’s true what they say—the best is yet to come. Carpe Episodem. And the Surprise Episode 6 Winner Is… Kara. I know I’ve become predictable. But Kara’s sense of style really does fit well at Saks. This week’s delicately layered dress is wispy and flirtatious—perfect for a spring evening….

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The signs are unmistakable. You spend a few extra minutes in the makeup room, and a few hundred thousand dollars on a pair of pants. Days just don’t seem special if a Cirque de Soleil performer doesn’t tumble from the trapeze during a fashion show. There’s no doubt about it…

I’m having a mid-show crisis.

I suppose I’ll just have to get it together, commiserate with Elle and concentrate on enjoying the time we still have. It’s true what they say—the best is yet to come. Carpe Episodem.

And the Surprise Episode 6 Winner Is…

Kara. I know I’ve become predictable. But Kara’s sense of style really does fit well at Saks. This week’s delicately layered dress is wispy and flirtatious—perfect for a spring evening. You can find it here.

What Did You Think?

Are you dreading the end of Fashion Star weeks in advance like I am?

And did we send the right person home this week?

Let me know in the comments…

 

MORE:

Watch Online: Missed the show? Watch it online!

Terron’s Takes: Terron gives his takes for each episode of Fashion Star.

Visit us on Facebook: Meet mentors Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson and John Varvatos — and sign up for updates.

Shop the Looks: Shop the winning styles from every episode of Fashion Star.


Fashion Star: Episode 5

Terron gives his takes on episode five of Fashion Star

Fashion Star may have plenty of glitz and star-power, but there’s one high style necessity it lacks: a red carpet. Any red carpet worth its Scotchgard has to lie outside a premiere or an awards show. And since the Fashion Show premiere already happened, that means we need some awards. I’m more than happy to oblige, and it is my great pleasure to introduce the first annual TERRON AWARDS (insiders call them The Terrys). The show is still going strong, so nominations—and even categories—are still coming in. But thus far it looks like a strong year for Terry contenders. Shoppers Choice Award Frontrunner: The Zip Skirt by Orly Shani This look was an instant hit, selling out in a matter of hours. It remains to be…

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Fashion Star may have plenty of glitz and star-power, but there’s one high style necessity it lacks: a red carpet. Any red carpet worth its Scotchgard has to lie outside a premiere or an awards show. And since the Fashion Show premiere already happened, that means we need some awards. I’m more than happy to oblige, and it is my great pleasure to introduce the first annual TERRON AWARDS (insiders call them The Terrys).

The show is still going strong, so nominations—and even categories—are still coming in. But thus far it looks like a strong year for Terry contenders.

Shoppers Choice Award

Frontrunner: The Zip Skirt by Orly Shani

This look was an instant hit, selling out in a matter of hours. It remains to be seen whether her attachment to the two-fer idea will be her signature or her undoing.

Best Hair

Frontrunner: LMFAO

On the third episode, we were treated to a performance by LMFAO–with hair by GE. We were so inspired by Mr. AO’s do that we used it as inspiration for Coco Rocha, seen here modeling that episode’s winning look just seconds after removing her fork from the outlet.

Challenger: Kara Laricks

Quite an architectural look for a teacher, don’t you think?

Most Definitive Headwear

Frontrunner: Oscar’s carnival hat

No accessory defined its wearer more. Of course, this wasn’t to Oscar’s benefit, as the day-glo fedora made it nearly impossible to take him seriously.

Challenger: Nicole’s head jewelry

I don’t know many people who can pull off the bejeweled scalp thing. The fact that she did—and on the very first episode—gives Nicole Richie an edge in this category.

Most Questionable Tie

Frontrunner: Kara’s costume ties

These were more than a little strange—and they almost got her kicked off the show on day one. Kara didn’t even design the clothes that went with it.

Challenger: Ross’s Bow Tie

Bow ties can lend an air of formal sophistication or affected arrogance—it’s all in how you wear it. Ross adds a degree of difficulty by pairing his bow tie with sunglasses perched atop his head.

Biggest Flirts

Frontrunners: Nicole Richie & Nzimiro

Hard to say whether there are sparks between these two, or if it’s just the actual fireworks that are literally going off on stage during the show.

Challengers: Jessica Simpson & Nicholas

On the first show, Nicholas came right out and said that women had no knowledge of men’s fashion. Jessica was understandably offended. But the more vociferous the disagreement in public, the more intense things can get in private. I’m just saying…

What did you think?

What categories would you add to The Terrys? Did I miss any nominees?

And did we send the right person home this week?

Let me know in the comments…

 

MORE:

Watch Online: Missed the show? Watch it online!

Terron’s Takes: Terron gives his takes for each episode of Fashion Star.

Visit us on Facebook: Meet mentors Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson and John Varvatos — and sign up for updates.

Shop the Looks: Shop the winning styles from every episode of Fashion Star.