NBC has done everything it can with its forthcoming version of Project Runway to distance it from the original Project Runway. Even though their show, Fashion Star, is being produced by the Magical Elves, the same company that originally produced Runway; is hosted by a model (Elle Macpherson), like Runway; and involves designers competing against each other for money and prizes, like Runway. From the Daily News:
The show will be "completely different from anything on American television," says Elle Macpherson, the model who will be the host and one of the mentors. "We're not looking for someone to create a couture dress for the Oscars. We want someone who can design lingerie, swimwear, denim — accessible things that regular people wear."
Is that what the American public wants to see on television? The next Hanes? The beauty of other fashion-designer competition shows, we always thought, is that they asked contestants to actually create fashion, which is a terribly difficult thing to do under any circumstances much less absurd reality-television ones, and therefore could mess up a lot.
This show won't be judged by editors or designers, but folks from three of this country's real-life major retailers who will vote by actually purchasing the designs. Viewers who feel so inspired can also buy the things they see on the show online. (Just think: "Oh, I recognize your tube top from that show that came on after the Biggest Loser!")
Fashion Star co-creator Rick Ringbakk says contestants "could be someone who has owned a boutique store of their own for years, or it could be a soccer mom who has been designing this amazing line of swimwear in her basement. We're not looking for the $10,000 dress. We're just looking for something new and different." But are you looking for the $10,000 dress? When we watch television, we are, but who knows? Maybe this will work.