The show’s stylist, Daniel Musto, recapped last night’s episode giving us a behind-the-scenes look at what really went into the teamwork challenge while designing store windows. Read his recap right here!
This week, Fashion Star shoved the retail environment down the throats of the contestants. Not only did they need to impress the buyers with hanger-appeal, but they needed to win them over with window-appeal. This week’s goal: design looks that will catch the eye of a passersby, luring them in to the store for more! The window displays used on our stage featured real models, who followed up the window installment with a walk down the runway. These showcases hit the buyers from all directions. Nicole Richie even said, “It’s not about being subtle when you’re in a window. You really have to throw it in peoples’ faces.” As someone who has studied window display and had many opportunities to design them for L.A.’s hottest stores, it was a lot of fun passing my creative knowledge on to the contestants, some of whom have never designed a window display before.
Nicole Christie, H+M buyer, was wearing animal print this week. While the print is prominently brown, I pulled the hint of black out by putting her in muted-black chandelier earrings. Black jewelry is my favorite, as it adds a tough edge to a look that could come off too soft.
The show starts off with a bang, as Nikki Poulos gets a bit catty in the presence of Barbara Bates. Barbara isn’t having it, but Nikki seems to be reaching her peak of frustration this week. This messed up the natural flow of the competition. The contestants were working in teams, and these two were working on their window together. Barbara said that Nikki was difficult to work with. From the footage, I could see how she felt that way, but I never seemed to have an issue with her requests and visions. In the end, the audience could find juxtaposition as Barbara’s dresses are smart and Nikki’s are classic. Barbara’s model, Lauren Dellolio, gave me a breath of relief when she let her hair down so naturally. She was holding it up with a pencil, a look that Theodore Leaf (Suave) helped pull off beautifully.
Did everyone see Macy’s buyer, Caprice Willard, and Nikki’s blonde model, Luba Vitti, wearing Nicole Richie’s House of Harlow jewelry? Nicole was gracious enough to let me use her collections on the show, and it added an extra punch to many of my runway creations.
Without a purchase this week, Barbara threatened that the buyers better get her now while they can still afford her; a bold statement to share with the world on our stage! A bidding war between Saks and H+M commenced for Nikki’s printed maxi dresses, as Nicole Christie with H+M claimed that she would stop someone on the street if they were wearing it.
Luciana Scarabello and Ronnie Escalante teamed up on their windows, landing a bid for both of them. Ronnie got his first bid of the season, which finished with $110,000 from Macy’s, after a battle with H+M. The two designers bonded from the get-go, supporting each other each week as peers, and now celebrated his success together.
Ross Bennett, Sarah Parrot, and Orly Shani were going for a Gossip Girl-inspired window. While Orly explained to me that she wanted something blousy on top to be tucked in to the shorts, Ross told Jessica Simpson that their window would work because he is classic, Sarah is edgy, and Orly is sexy. As a stay-at-home mom, Sarah said she’s never had to design a window display in her career. Ross made vests with Jessica’s wishes to keep it southern. Orly designed a lace dress, as she was looking to dive into a fabric that she didn’t normally use. She jumped into another medium as soon as she realized that she might fail this week. While draping a new printed dress, Ross felt that she looked like she was “pooping fabric” in it. Her third attempt was with shorts. Only the buyers could decide whether her third attempt would strike her out.
Ross wanted a bow tie on model, Jordan, so I pulled one from my personal collection and threw it on with a white button down. He requested a white denim pant, so we chose a capri length to keep the look Spring-friendly. Sarah’s reversible jackets were fun to style because I had the opportunity to use 80’s inspired fabrics and shapes under them, providing a lifestyle to the collection.
Nicole Richie and John Varvatos were underwhelmed with Orly and Sarah’s designs, while Jessica believed that Ross really stepped up his game and followed through with his Southern promises. There were no buys for Orly due to the lack of branding, a $60,000 buy for Sarah at H+M, and a $50,000 buy for Ross at Macy’s. Although she was safe from elimination, Sarah felt that she had found most of her difficulty all season sticking to her brand while attempting to please all the buyers. Although Orly and I had a lot of fun styling her shorts with blousy tops, we were both able to understand where her disconnect was this week. You can tell that the buyers were pushing for her to shine each week, and how disappointed she was with herself when she didn’t pull through.
Kara Laricks found herself surrounded by dudes this week, working with Nzimiro Oputa and Edmond Newton. They found common color stories with a “nautical” themed window. With the use of blues, reds, and whites, they wanted to portray a message as a unit, while showing different merchandise. This is key when designing a window display. There must be cohesion to the eye, while differences can be spotted when looked at closely.
Nicole Richie wanted Edmond to stay away from “hooker fabric.” This advice forced him to transfer over to menswear, designing button-downs, which Nzimiro, Kara, and her sidekick, Julia, seemed to find confusing. The confusion continued as the “nautical theme” transformed into a “travel theme.” Kara’s androgynous shirt dresses looked killer next to the men’s product designed by the boys. I put her looks with Giusseppe Zanotti and L.A.M.B. wedges that gave them heavier silhouettes. On model, Quest, we put Edmond’s black and white shirt with khakis. This tri-color combo is one of my favorites, especially for men. He didn’t get purchased, as he didn’t take a big enough risk. Nzimiro also didn’t get an offer tonight as the buyers were looking for him to design something he hasn’t done before. He has already shown his outerwear. They wanted him to prove that he has what it takes to design a capsule collection; one with many attributes and variations.
Kara’s genuine sweetness shined through as she was surprised by the news that she will not see her designs in stores after the show. She took a risk with a pop of color down the center front of one of her looks, and seemed to be questioning the decisions that brought her there. Although I was obsessed with these takes on a collared and cuffed tunic, H+M didn’t feel the shirt-dresses hit it for spring.
Orly, Barbara, and Edmond all faced elimination tonight. John Varvatos said that the world needs a little more crazy, so he saved Barbara from elimination on behalf of our three celebrity mentors. Unfortunately Edmond’s menswear didn’t cause a buzz among the buyers, and he has to head home. He is not our Fashion Star, but SOMEONE will be. I can’t wait for you all to find out who it is!
- 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.