Spoiler Alert! Dallas native Amber Perley was eliminated on last Friday’s episode of Fashion Star. Wrapping her confusing, often maddening, run on the NBC reality show, we have mixed feelings about this news. But first, the recap:
With seven contestants remaining in play, Episode 6 began with Amber (pictured above) already on edge. Though she had consistently demonstrated the ability to keep her cool under pressure, work well with her teammates, accept criticism, and net those all-important sales to the show’s featured retailers, the 30-year-old couldn’t seem to do anything right. Leading us to suspect manipulative editing, Amber even landed on the chopping block at the conclusion of Episode 5 despite a sale of $150,000 worth of clothing to Saks Fifth Avenue. To be clear, her sale was greater than two competing teams’ combined totals. Huh?
For this week’s challenge, entitled Buyers’ Choice, the contestants were planted in one-on-one meetings with the buyers to learn more about what they’re seeking for their respective national chains.
Caprice Willard from Macy’s, Terron Schaefer from Saks Fifth Avenue, and Erika De Salvatore from Express (pictured below) each took this opportunity to reinforce their party lines. Via De Salvatore’s sound bite, for example, we learned that Express is where “high rise glam meets downtown cool.”
Unfortunately, the buyers also tossed out some truly awful counsel. For example, we’ll have a hard time forgetting Schaefer’s advice for artistically-inclined contestant Daniel: “Remember one thing. It’s only creative if it sells.”
“I would love to have my pieces in Macy’s,” began Amber at the start of her meeting with Caprice Willard. She’d yet to sell to the retailer, but the visit was cut off before we could hear if any concrete advice was offered as to how she might attract their business. Express’ De Salvatore, however, suggested that Amber steer clear of her “sweet Southern charm” in this challenge, and take things in a more modern direction.
Work then began, with all the designers and celebrity mentors Nicole Richie, John Varvatos, and Jessica Simpson (pictured below) buzzing cheerfully en masse about salability, accessibility, and commercial appeal. Heigh-ho, heigh-ho!
Strengthening her resolve to advance in the competition, Amber devised a peplum-accented blazer to appeal to a young working woman.
The drama with competitor Cassandra that we witnessed two episodes back then reared its head again. In a monologue, Amber wonders aloud why the New Yorker hasn’t been questioned about her lack of focus as a designer. Amber has been challenged on the subject at every turn, but even as Cassandra vacillates from maxi dress to men’s suit to leopard-print mini, she is spared similar comments.
Then, responding as though she’d been listening from backstage during the confessional taping, Cassandra retorted that Amber’s current blazer design was “not stylish and chic at all.” She cackled that her grandmother in Canada might be the type of consumer to purchase the look.
Runway time arrived, and Amber’s blazers walked first. John Varvatos and Nicole Richie both murmured about how they were still unclear about Amber’s perspective. She netted no retailer bids.
Jumpsuits, rather, seemed to be the key player. Cute onesies from both Silvia and Hunter attracted buys of $200,000 each. Also of note, Macy’s bid $165,000 for a blouse by Johana, which we’ve seen dangling from hangers at dozens of stores over the past 10 years. Sigh.
Eventually, Daniel, Amber, and duo JesseRay and Garrett were all offered up for elimination. With Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue calling her name, Amber’s run on Fashion Star came to a close.
In parting, she noted, “Being on Fashion Star is one of my proudest moments as a designer.”
To Amber, we humbly offer the prediction that her proudest moments in fashion are yet to come. True, this program offered her a bit of national exposure. From a loyal (up to now) viewer’s perspective, though, Fashion Star is less about fashion than head games.
Pictured above is a look from Amber Perley’s Pearl Southern Couture. To explore the line, visit PearlSouthernCouture.com.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article reported that business struggles had recently forced Amber Perley to move back into her parents’ home. This was an inaccuracy presented via the Fashion Star editing process. Click here for more on the story.