Get an exclusive, first-hand recap from Daniel Musto, stylist on the show! He filled us in on last night’s episode and also shared what it was like working with the designers on a one-on-one basis.
Episode 2 of NBC’s Fashion Star jumps head-first into the game! With a boisterous crowd, anxious contestants, and a sparkly Elle Macpherson, we are introduced to the first few contestants: Kara Laricks, Lisa Vian Hunter and Ronnie Escalante. Last week, Kara showed her crisp collar-tie neckpieces. Although a stunning accessory for a female or male customer, the mentors and buyers were underwhelmed. Seen as a bad choice of design in this competition, it was a fun opportunity for me, as the show’s stylist, to put full looks together that flattered Kara’s signature statement collars.
Just before the models hit the stage, I can be found backstage with my team of 10 preparing the final looks for all six models. A few days before the stage presentation, I meet with each contestant in the design studio. We finalize a runway theme, I put my two cents in about how their design can be shifted to cater to the buyers, and we discuss how we will complete the look. While showcasing the pieces they have designed, my team and I set off into the world to get our hands on the requested garments and accessories. The viewer learns that the goal of this week’s designs are to cater to the customer. Lucky participants are given the opportunity to meet with the contestants and mentors, in order to inspire design ideas.
Pulling the final cinch on Kara’s back-tie dresses and adjusting the final necklace placement on Lisa’s vintage-inspired frocks, we set the models free to impress the audience and Fashion Star cast of experts. With the intentions of being seen as a complete womenswear designer, Kara shows off her feminine side. With the support of her design team, she makes sure to add an androgynous touch with the tie-back feature. Although oversized, her dresses are still sexy and strong. She has come a long way from the classroom where she taught fourth graders for 10 years. Her past endeavors inspired the lives of her students, while her current position on the show is inspiring the “not-so-girly” customer.
Taking advice from John Varvatos to lower the neckline of her empire waist structured dresses, Lisa impresses the buyers and gets a $50,000 bid from Macy’s. Kara takes the lead with a bidding battle that ends with $110,000 from Saks Fifth Avenue. Nicole Christie of H+M is promised a couture version of the dress, made just for her, as a consolation prize. John Varvatos stated it best: “Kara, you rocked us.”
Ronnie Escalante learned from Orly’s success in week one that versatility and convertibility can deeply impress the buyers and mentors. Jessica Simpson exclaimed that she loved Orly’s “two-fer” skirts last week, but was underwhelmed, tonight, by Ronnie’s design. His silk tops featured a stiff zipper that revealed the small of the back and a burst of color. What could have been a campy addition to a successful brand wasn’t enough to brand Ronnie as tonight’s Fashion Star.
In the following showcase, Fashion Star set the stage with friction between Orly Shani and Oscar Fiero. Orly feels that he is “living in Oscar-Land” while Oscar thinks that she is a “stupid bartender.” Orly has a kick-ass personality and knows that she needs to work hard to pay her bills, while approaching her design career in her spare time. I commend her commitment.
Although it was a lot of fun layering skirts and styling tops under her designs that would surprise the audience, both designers are up for elimination as they don not receive any offers. Caprice Willard of Macy’s praises the runway presentation, while teaching Orly that her pieces lacked “hanger appeal.” On Twitter, Orly announced that this was the best advice of her entire career as an artist. Oscar’s one-shoulder dresses looked like they were designed for an outlet mall in Reno. Varvatos labelled them “4am and hoochie.” His design potential was being shadowed by his hunger for conflict.
Showing a puff-shoulder cropped jacket, Ross left the audience underwhelmed. The buyers felt the fabrics were too heavy for Spring, but Nicole Richie loved them. I, personally, felt the shoulder structure was too wide even before adding the “puff.”
Finding out he is up for elimination, Oscar freaks out and makes for good ratings. Thanks, Oscar.
Although he is in fear that his lack of experience and education in fashion will set him behind the other contestants, Nzimiro Oputa presents a western-inspired men’s shirt collection and gets into Macy’s with a $70,000 buy. Nzimiro is hoping to find success as the Fashion Star to prove to his father that he doesn’t have to be an engineer to make him proud.
Resulting in no bids but positive feedback, Barbara Bates designed beautifully-made leather tunic dresses. Claiming they were designed for a customer like herself, she seems to still be formulating her image as a clothing designer. Her request of me this week was to bring a youthful edge to her designs with shoes that are sexier and pop more. It worked, but still shied away from the mature customer for whom she claimed to be designing.
Proving that she isn’t a one-hit wonder, Sarah Parrot gets her act in order last minute and spits out three variations of a high-waisted pant. The white pair are adorned with a black stripe down the side and are available for less than $20 at H+M. They are already sold out online and will definitely fly out of stores on Wednesday. This is a big win for someone who was lacking focus and found herself all over the place at the beginning of the week.
Receiving no bids after showing her earth-tone bat-wing tops in three different ways, Washington resident Lizzie Parker learns that designing for a Seattle customer could inhibit her from growing as a brand. Seeing the lack of variation in her tone choices, she and I decided to reveal the midriff on one model by cinching the lower front of the top. With another model in shorts, we were able to find a mid-point that could attract customers from different markets. Sometimes styling your designs with an experienced stylist can open your eyes to ways of expanding your brand.
Episode two finished with an emotional burst of disappointment from Oscar, as Nicole Christie of H+M breaks the bad news that he will not be our Fashion Star. After an hour of excitement, no dance numbers, and a hilarious dream story that Jessica Simpson had of giving birth to this week’s loser, the Fashion Star viewers set off into the retail world to get their hands on the winning garments!
- For more Daniel Musto, visit his website here and be sure to follow him on twitter, @danielrmusto.
- For additional footage of Oscar storming off stage, and hiding from the cameras, watch Jeannie Mai’s backstage footage here!
- Fashion Star airs on Tuesdays at 10PM on NBC and can also be seen on the show’s website.