Well, first off, this is the rejuvenated, reborn, re-Imaned Fashion Show. And there's two big differences this season: We have Iman onboard who's genius. She's so funny, she doesn't suffer fools and obviously knows fashion inside and out. I think that her presence has given the show such a boost. And then there is Isaac who is an institution--and is so warm and so wise. And then there's me, their pet koala.
Bravotv.com: How do you think having Houses this season will affect the competition?
Laura Brown: There are two separate and distinctive fashion houses. All of our designers show up on the first day ready to hustle and do their own thing. They get the shock of their life when they're told they're going to be working as a team. But this is reflective of how real fashion works, of how real design houses work. There has to be somebody with a vision and there has to be people that will implement it. But also, this is TV, hijinks ensue, teamwork is tricky. This show is as much about entertainment as it is about the process of making clothes. People who can't work in a team get a quick smack in the ass.
Bravotv.com: Speaking of, Calvin is quite difficult; do you think his attitude will adversely affect his success in the competition? Why?
LB: I find bad attitudes really boring. I think Calvin must have read, "How to get attention on a reality show for dummies." He's not a bad guy actually, he was just acting out. More attention was paid to him in the first episode for his character, for his sort of cattiness, than for his designs. As a judge, I wanted to see him make great clothes, not keep talking about his attitude. Also, I think that he has better taste than what his design reflected in this first episode. Of course we love drama, but we're here to see fashion. So, hopefully he will learn that as the season progresses.
Bravotv.com: Iman was supposed to be the muse for this competition, why did you feel House of Nami better honored her iconic style than Emerald Syx?
LB: The House of Nami's collection was just more sophisticated. You’ll notice we start to use our favorite word, "cohesive," but it was! Where each designer has to excel and show off a dress that will win, the collection needs to stand together. Nami just got Iman better. She's a sophisticated, well-dressed, polished woman. With Emerald Syx's collection there were some pieces that I really liked, such as Jeffrey's jersey minidress and Cindy's jumpsuit (well, the front of it anyway). They had a couple of good, fluid looks, which were kind of Halston, Steven Burroughs-ish, the type that Iman looks great in. And I think she really appreciated those looks too. I think the print didn’t help them, and some of the designs looked too young and cheap.
Bravotv.com: Francine was sent home and you said her dress felt "like a prom dress." How could she have avoided this?
LB: A prom pre-party dress, actually. (Is there such a thing?) Now, a Strawberry-style dress is fine for Iman's daughter, but not for Iman. The print, the cut, the ruffle, everything was stuck-on and haphazard. Iman isn't going to wear a mini and a teeny-bopper print. Francine showed a lack of understanding of who she was designing for. You have to pay attention, be a sponge! The best designs showed that, they showed a real understanding of who Iman is.
Bravotv.com: Was your decision to pick Cesar's dress as the big winner unanimous? Was it your personal favorite? Why?
LB: It was unanimous! It was the most grown-up, the most regal, the best executed and the most dramatic without being camp. There were a couple of other ones I liked but he really put the elements together best for Iman. Cesar is a little more mature, too. He has worked in the industry and his customer is a grown-up. That benefited him. Some episodes going forward will challenge him more.
It was fascinating to see the designers rise and fall depending on the challenges. It was also great to see the ones that didn't distinguish themselves from the start really go for it.
I love clothes and I really want everyone on this show to do well. As an editor, I want to see designers making beautiful things, and as a girl who loves clothes, I want to see something I want to wear. I know we’ll see more of it as the season progresses. Godspeed, kids! See more from harpersbazaar.com here.