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NBC's 'Fashion Star' wants to sell you clothes

January 6, 2012 | 12:44 pm

Fashion star jessica simpson nichole richie
As “Project Runway’s” star wanes, a host of new fashion-oriented shows are moving in to try to fill the void. NBC presented its candidate -- clothing competition “Fashion Star” -- at the Television Critics press tour in Pasadena on Friday.

Premiering March 13, "Fashion Star" is hosted by Elle Macpherson (also an executive producer) and features Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos as mentors to 14 designers, each of whom hopes to win the show’s prize:  $6 million worth of orders for clothes collections in Macy's, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue stores.

The key innovation of the show is that the winning collection –- men's and women’s lines -– will be available to purchase online as soon as the show ends, and in the stores the next morning.

“You’re voting with your pocket book and you can wear the winner,” executive producer Ben Silverman said. “This is a show of its time,” a product of the new technologies that make instant feedback and commerce possible.  

While  “Project Runway” focused on the idea of creative genius, “Fashion Star” is all about business and branding.  A very pregnant Simpson (who has her own clothes line) said, “We wanted to mentor these contestants for having a lifestyle brand… really making a name for yourself.”

“Fashion Star” may share the mentor concept with “X Factor” but Richie (who also has her own fashion line, House of Harlow) emphasized that the mentors will be circulating among all the designers, and that the celebs are not competing with each other. “We’re working together to make each designer a better version of themselves.”

And in a way, it’s not just a battle among fashion designers -– it’s also a competition among the three stores, which will be bidding on the winning collection every week, hoping to nail down the chance to sell a budding mega-brand. As Silverman pointed out, as well as providing the prize, these stores “are directly driving the story.”

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-- Joy Press

twitter.com/joypress

Photo: Nicole Richie, Jon Varvatos, Elle Macpherson, Jessica Simpson. Credit: John Russo/NBC.

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