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2009 May 8

Fern’s Take on The Fashion Show

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(NEW YORK) Project Runway may no longer be stuck in limbo, but those loyal to Bravo have a new Thursday night must-watch. The Fashion Show, hosted by Isaac Mizrahi, Kelly Rowland, and IMG’s Fern Mallis debuted last night, and The Daily got a chance to dish with Mallis on all the stylish happenings.

The Daily: How the is this show different from Project Runway?

Fern Mallis: "There are a few key elements that make this show different. The addition of a live audience at each show creates a completely different aura and energy when the clothes are presented on the runway. The audience has an opinion which is heard, and their votes count. They select the two finalists each week which then we, the judges, make our final choice. Each week there is a mini challenge between elimination rounds which keeps each of these designers working much harder and quicker to make their participation twice as difficult. The opportunity to have the winning garment each week manufactured and sold on the Bravo TV website creates a very unique opportunity for the participants. Last but not least, when the final collections are presented, America, the ultimate customer, will vote for the winner whose collection will be manufactured and sold directly."

D: Why is it important that you have a live audience for the show?

FM: "It brings an entirely new dimension to this format. Also, the live audience allows us to introduce a new host and range of additional industry experts and insiders as well as exposes the clothing instantly to an audience--who is the ultimate consumer."

D: What are the pros and cons of having the audience vote each week?

FM: "The whole concept of the audience voting is giving the customer the final say, which can be a good thing because in our industry, the customer is the final authority and can make or break any designer's career.

"A negative aspect could be when an audience, which is difference each week, has not seen any of the designer's previous work and doesn't bring any history to their decision or is not necessarily in a position to recognize the potential of a designer's garment and is judging purely on the one item they see. We, as professional judges, can't help but take into account the potential we can see a designer possesses."

D: Do you have a favorite contestant?

FM: "I have several favorite contestants, but I am not going to share them with you--that is for me to know and you to find out!

D: How do you like working with Isaac and Kelly? Do you think you three have settled into the kind of "roles" judges typically get put in on this type of show?

FM: "I think my working relationship with Kelly and Isaac has been unbelievably rewarding and enjoyable. Not one of us can be pigeon-holed into a "role"--while we all get along, we are always surprising one another with our points of view. And like any good jury, we defend our position until we can come to a consensus."

D: Do you think these contestants have the potential for real commercial success? Why?

FM: "Several of the contestants are, in fact, commercially successful and already creating collections. Several have their own businesses. Clearly the platform of The Fashion Show is to create a whole new level of publicity, visibility and opportunity for them. I absolutely believe many of them have the potential to be commercially and creatively successful. And, one of the unique aspects of The Fashion Show is we will be able to see that each week, as a different garment wins and will be sold on"

D: After the success of Project Runway, is there room on TV for another fashion-based reality show?

FM: "There are countless court and police dramas, hospital shows and food shows on television today. With a vast public interest in fashion and how to become a designer and succeed in this industry, there is certainly room for more than one reality fashion show!"

D: Is acting as a judge on the show harder or easier than expected?

FM: "Being a judge is not difficult, however, the most difficult part of being a judge is having to send home a contestant each week who is trying so very, very hard and really wants so badly to succeed--but for one reason or another was not the best. That is the format of this genre of television show! I wish we could just nurture and encourage them all each week to make better and better clothing each time - but America loves a winner!"


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