Elle Macpherson Says that 'Fashion Star' Will Not Be a Cheap 'Project Runway' Knockoff

'Fashion Star' Will Search for an Innovative Designer with a Head for Business

Elle Macpherson at the Women's World Award 2009 (Wiener Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria).
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Elle Macpherson at the Women's World Award 2009 (Wiener Stadthalle, Vienna, Austria).

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There's no denying that there have been plenty of design shows on television. From the mother of them all "Project Runway" to long-forgotten misses like "Launch My Line," it seemed as if the fashion world had been done to death on reality TV. Viewers may have systematically decided they'd seen enough, but not so fast. In a recent conference call interview supermodel Elle Macpherson and executive producer Rick Ringbakk discussed what seems to be a fresh approach to the old standby on their new show "Fashion Star."

Elle Macpherson Describes the Well Rounded Goal of 'Fashion Star'

Macpherson explained the new series goes far beyond actual clothing design, saying, "It will be actually discovering what it takes to be a brand, what it takes in marketing and advertising to be a brand, what it takes in design to be a brand and what vision it takes to be a brand in this American market. So this is what the show is going to be about, all the challenges that you will see [will] be set for these young designers."

Ringbakk added, "Shows that are centered around fashion have been really focused, specifically just on the design acumen. And what we're really looking for here is somebody that can become a full-fledged household name brand."

The 'Fashion Star' Will Look for Innovative Designers with a Head for Business

As a result, they're leaving behind the high-end design world and going for a more ready-to-wear approach. Ringbakk expounded on the resulting casting process, "We are looking for designers who are not necessarily just designing couture, but really also are designing for the mass market, designing denim, designing swimwear, designing lingerie, designing the types of things that real people wear. And we're going to be pushing them not only to stretch their lines and their creations that, in terms of the apparel, but also we want to see how they present that brand to America."

Elle Macpherson is the Perfect Host for 'Fashion Star'

That's why Macpherson, a fashion entrepreneur in her own right, was a natural choice to host the series. She remarked, "In 30 years of being in the fashion industry what I have sought to do myself is to build a brand through marketing and advertising, and through attaching myself to partners that specialize in the areas that I love. For example, lingerie or body products, to name a few, or I have other relationships like my long-standing relationship with Revlon as Global Spokesperson."

Ringbakk concurred, "She's the perfect package for this show. When we started thinking about who would be the kind of face and the voice to lead us on this, Elle was our first choice -- Not only does everybody know Macpherson as an icon associated with fashion and with the modeling and fashion world, but she's really done exactly what we're going to be asking these designers to do herself, in terms of building a full-fledged brand that is now global and that permeates every aspect of the market."

'Fashion Star' Will Be Judged by a Panel of Retailers

The six-time Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition cover model will serve as the host and mentor on "Fashion Star," while the judges will come from the retail side of the business. Ringbakk broke down the review process on the show, "Every week these designers are going to be presenting their lines to three of the largest retailers in the country. And those retailers are there; ready to start purchasing the items that they see on the show on the spot. And they'll be the ones who are narrowing the contestant pool down to the winner, to the ''¹..."Fashion Star.'"

That lucky designer will score a major prize. Ringbakk divulged, "That person is going to receive a multi-million dollar contract that will see their [designs] landing in all three of these retailers."

Fans Will Be Able to Buy Winning 'Fashion Star' Designs

The American public wins, too, on this show. The executive producer disclosed that each week's winning designs will be sold in stores, "We are going to be manufacturing those items and making them available to America immediately following the show, and it'll be in the stores the next day."

Macpherson acknowledged that this accessibility is key to "Fashion Star's" success. "It's going to be exciting for America to watch, and then having the added bonus of being able to buy immediately the products that you like. And so that it's very interactive to the public and it's not kind of fantasy world, it's very real. And the program is going to be quite education, but also inspiring and very tangible for the American public."

Stay tuned for more details about the upcoming NBC series "Fashion Star."

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