“NBC is out of the fashion business,” reported MSN late last week.
Calling out “anemic” ratings and Fashion Star’s killer – as in, deadly – Friday night time slot, the news site confirmed the reality competition show’s official cancellation via NBC Entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt.
It was a rocky run for Fashion Star and our Texas designer contestants, from the very start. Back in early 2012, though, we were excited about the then-new show’s debut. Its innovative concept would combine celebrity mentoring of emerging designers by Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie, and John Varvatos with retail buyer evaluations and real-time shopping of weekly challenge creations. We followed the show from day one, even taking the quizzical selection of infamous Dallas designer and self-proclaimed “master manipulator” Oscar Fierro as our first local representative with a grain of salt.
Fast forward a bit, and Oscar’s run on Fashion Star was short-lived and campy. Also departing earlier than expected, hostess Elle Macpherson stepped down at the conclusion of Season One. The supermodel was replaced by unfamiliar face Louise Roe, and a game of musical chairs subsequently took place with the show’s retail partners. However, our excitement was renewed with the news that two favorite Texas designers would compete in Fashion Star’s Season Two.
Amber Perley of Pearl Southern Couture and Priscilla Barroso of Crowned Bird (pictured above) represent some of the best young design talent Texas has to offer. On Fashion Star, though, episode after episode tested their professionalism and emotional mettle in the face of creative editing and even more creative score keeping. Indeed, the show seemed to focus on anything but Perley and Barroso’s considerable design abilities.
Barroso was first cut among our local faves, eliminated four episodes into the NBC series’ second season. We sat down with her soon after, and learned that many aspects of the reality show weren’t necessarily real.
“You guys, as viewers, you don’t get any of it, really – what we’re going through with our pattern maker and sewer,” Barroso explained in our exit interview. “I felt like that was the real drama.”
In addition to being saddled with a pattern maker unfamiliar with the female form, Barroso was inaccurately painted through editing as something of a sad clown character, nursing lonely feelings as she labored over vintage-inspired frocks. Click here to read Priscilla Barroso’s full Fashion Star interview.
Next to depart was Amber Perley (pictured above). 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 by Fashion Star.
Leading us to suspect manipulative score-keeping, Amber landed on the chopping block at the conclusion of Episode 5 despite a top-ranking sale of $150,000 worth of clothing to featured retailer Saks Fifth Avenue. Amber’s exit interview explored this confusing development, and more. Click here to read the full story.
Despite the ups and downs, however, both Amber and Priscilla confirmed that they’d do it all over again. Each was appreciative of the chance to gain national recognition on Fashion Star. So, what do these Texas designers have to say upon the news of the show’s cancellation?
“In regard to the cancellation of NBC’s Fashion Star, I agree that Friday evening was a tough time slot,” wrote Amber Perley in an email to DFW Style Daily yesterday afternoon. “I want to thank everyone for their support, especially my family and friends, during my time on Season Two. It was a privilege to be part of the NBC family, and I wish everyone involved in Fashion Star the best in their future endeavors.”
A tad more assertive was Priscilla Barroso, who also commented exclusively to us via email. “Honestly, if Fashion Star had focused more on designers, rather than celebrity facial expressions and infomercial-style buys, there would have been a much more positive response from the viewers,” wrote the Austin-based designer. “All in all, the concept of the show is still spectacular. It’s a shame that other young designers won’t have an opportunity to explore that dream for themselves.”