Fern Mallis

Fern Mallis reacts to the drama she didn't see while the show was shooting.

on Jun 11, 20090

Bravotv.com: Do you think Angel’s look was “offensive?” Kelly seemed to think so.
I don’t think it was “offensive” in the natural sense of that word, but it offended Kelly as she is so close to the b-girl music scene and understands how important an influence that has been on our entire society and culture … and even her own career. For Angel to just cop out with her “Indiana” background was wrong. She should have gotten a better sense of what her challenge was from pulling info and advice from her colleagues, and I think she just got stuck … and had not been at the top of her game for a few weeks.

And as we stated, of all the themes, hip- hop music girl was really a no-brainer, and should have been the most fun and easiest to pull off … and we know Angel was capable of doing better.

Bravotv.com: It came down to whether it’s a bigger crime to not care or not — what’s your take on that?
I don’t think the issue is about caring or not caring. I think everyone who signed up for this show cares much more than they want to admit.  No one wants to lose, and yet that’s the nature of this exercise. We are not judging on their conversations or their personalities, which in fact you and I hear at exactly the same time — when the show airs. Everyone has their own defensive mechanism for protecting themselves, and we see that played out in the elimination challenges.

Also sometimes caring too much gets in the way and can lead a designer down a very private path that also doesn’t work.

Bravotv.com: You didn’t see it, but after watching the show, there was a big fight between Reco and some of the other designers. Were you aware of his attitude? What do you think about what happened?
I have not been aware of his attitude until I’ve been watching the show … and we’ve already taped the episodesm and I again only show up for the “fashion show” segment and the elimination judging. Which I am glad about, because if I was aware of all the fights and attitudes I’d probably have a hard time keeping it separate from my opinion on the clothes and the successful understanding of the challenge they are presented with.

Ultimately, they are all stressed out, and have a great deal to accomplish in a short period of time, surrounded by their peers, and they are all being judged, all want the prize, so of course there is going to be friction, and most viewers seem to like seeing that part of the show and process. I would rather we spend more time commenting on their work and giving more advice and counsel to help them all be better designers. They’ll work out their battles … and may the best man or woman win!

31 comments
Julia
Julia

"how important an influence that has been on our entire society and culture" ??? Give me a break. Kelly who? Who cares.

I'd never heard of the term B Girl in my life and I've lived many, many places in this world. Maybe they exist in some microcosms of NYC and LA, but that isn't where most of America lives.

I thought the judges treatment of Angel was not only unfair, it was rude and unprofessional. Kelly's comment was insulting. If she actually brought something to the show she might have some credibility. I'm not sure this show is worth my time.

It's obvious who the final two will be anyway.

one more about b-girl
one more about b-girl

Since most of us don't know what a b-girl is, post this link with "B-Girl Sofia" ad for Nike. Angel wasn't that far off and got the one leg up on the pant she was criticized for! The producers furnished the cap and glasses so they don't know either. Are there really break dancing girl cliques in high schools? Come on ... maybe in NYC but I don't think it's a countrywide phenomenon in public schools.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CX1GGxUjhWM

Viewer
Viewer

Everyone has already said it here, which is that it was very much not clear what a "b-girl" was supposed to be, and therefore it was unfair to state that Angel should have known better. Not only that, but not one of the judges really knew what a b-girl was either! B-girls are a subculture of hip hop, yes, but they are not "hip hop", or as you stated above, apart of some mythical "b-girl music scene". B-girls are specifically female break dancers, something that many, many people do not know. Clearly. Not once did anyone tell Angel a b-girl was supposed to be a "hip hop" girl. It's a total embarrassment to the show to berate a contestant for missing the mark on something they got wrong in the first place. Also the reference points Angel was given in her backpack? Even more embarrassing. For a show that is supposed to be fashion forward, it is totally revealing of how backwards it really is. Definitely not watching anymore. I've been trying to avoid saying it, but poor Project Runway replacement. Poor, poor, effort.

Viewer
Viewer

I APPRECIATE YOUR ABILITIES AS A JUDGE. YOU KEEP THE SHOW FOCUSED ON DESIGN AND DESIGNER POTENTIAL. YOU ARE A TRUE PROFESSIONAL

PS: BRAVO SHOULD GIVE YOU A SHOW

Viewer
Viewer

I am very disappointed in the professionalism and maturity of the hosts of this show - both Kelly and Issac. Issac can make a defensive video about why he is not mean, that he is just speaking the truth. However, there are many ways to deliver constructive feedback, and his -- and Kelly's -- style is right out of the playbook of "how not to do it". Let's dial up the class and take the high road with some of these comments. These contestants are PEOPLE, with feelings and aspirations, regardless of the hosts opinions. Drop the immature commentary, and take the lead from Tom Colicchio. He is an example of how to do it right.

the tortoise
the tortoise

Fern,

We love you and think of you as a superb judge. Your analysis are very thoughtful and no matter what their design style may be, you can see and appreciate the artistry of their work.

However, I am shocked and dismayed by Isaac. My respect for him has been compromised by his rude behavior to the visiting male judge who was on the shoe competition. Isaac was extremely rude to him. This judge had every right to speak his opinion. Instead Isaac acted as if it was a personal attack. This spoke volumes about his lack of class and character. I still like him but I now see him in a different light. the tortoise

Nestor Chavez
Nestor Chavez

I, as most of those who have commented on the blog, did not know what a b-girl was. I completely agree that there is not a set style for a female hip hop follower/performer. Although I am not a fashion guru, I do have a background in design and must point out a point: although in most, if not all, fields it is important to be aware of as many things surrounding your field of work, it is also important no to saturate your mind with other people's work or vision for you will start repeating and might not develop your own.

pattyh
pattyh

I never heard of a b-girl. When I found out on the show it is Hip Hop, no wonder. Not interested in the Rap to Hip Hop culture at all. My frame of reference are the men who wear tacky clothes. What ever happened to the fabulous talent of Motown in the 60s? Their grandparents were amazing!!

Kelly is insulted by Angel? That's ridiculous. Angel is obviously a sweet and talented person. I think that was very rude. I don't know Kelly's relevance on the show as a judge anyway. She has no connection to the fashion industry.

Bad call on elimination. You want to keep Johnny because of ... what?

Geo
Geo

I actually always really liked you Fern. On that "other" show, you always seemed fair, direct and knowledgeable. This week, however, you are the reason I will likely stop watching the show. Kelly Rowland went WAY over the top on Angel, basically calling her a racist for not knowing what a "B Girl" is. The instead of trying to bring reason to the table as you usually do, you took it further. I found THAT to be insulting. Suddenly, one of the designers who had shown great innovation was not innovative? It was just odd.

I am not writing this because I want Angel back or needed her to win. The whole way that it was broadcast, however, left a REALLY bad taste in my mouth. And I thought you would have been the one to say, "Yes, she should have known, most likely, but let's not call it offensive."

Viewer
Viewer

Seriously? The B-girl (you didn't call her the hip-hop girl, you called her the B-girl and I didn't know what that was, either) is the easiest of the cliques? Certainly now when you supply a lame cap and an even lamer pair of 80's sunglasses to describe the look.

Apparently the mean girl was the easiest...just put her in a slutty designer knock-off look and call her a mean girl...

I've been hanging in with this show, and that was hard after that ridiculous shoe-coat required no defense, but I'm about to check out of this show for good. The show is flawed fundamentally. The best design may not make it through the audience vote (and considering the lighting on that stage...I don't think any of the audience is qualified to judge). Add on to that the obvious way in which the easiest look to reproduce for sale is often chosen over the flat-out best design. It's insulting to the viewers...and boring.

btw, the runway camera work is awful. Show us the clothes already.

So far you have come off as the competent judge...Kelly is a talking head who reads lines with no evident knowledge about fashion and Issac is more worried about throwing zingers than saying anything insightful. I was really disappointed in how this one was judged. At least Angel's outfit was something someone would wear....fringed bike shorts covered by hideous Bruce Jenner shorts? Please. If that won't get you knocked off this show, it isn't worth wasting my time watching and trying to follow what decisions are made and why. There is no logic. A designer with no foresight would not have made that incredible dress out of two shirts (that she created from scratch).

Wilhelmina
Wilhelmina

Thank good I took the time to read your blog Fern. I was starting to have a real bad feeling about BRAVO TV's The Fashion Show as being very unfair.

I was glad to hear that you liked Lydia's Nerd and Jon Paul's Preppie. I also liked Anna's Goth style. That was it. Perhaps because I am from the 50's, 60's, 70's when I developed a real fashion sense. I am more of the preppy type. I worked in Manhattan and a cool crisp button-up shirt and black suit was my uniform. I worked in a publishing house which was quite conservative. For fun I would take a scarf and inject color in that way. But that's me. I don't remember much about highs school either.

But let me tell you what disturbed me the most about the Mean Girl segment. It was Kelly's holier-than-thou attitude. I'm black, my kids love hip hop, in fact, are hip hop, and, yet, if you asked me to put together a "B"girl outfit my mind would go blank. My children are a part of the culture I live in but the fashion part is just not there. I was very disappointed in Kelly stating that she was "offended". Offended HOW? I respect Angel saying what she did instead of sketching up some stereotype of a woman in baggy clothing with a dew rag on her head with the braids.

Thanks for your comments Fern.

Jo
Jo

Fern, I so appreciate your comments. You are always "spot on," and I love to watch your facial expressions. I, too, wish we could see more of your discussion periods. Frankly, we learn much more from those than from hearing the "kids" whine at each other. I would much prefer the emphasis to be on the design.

If you have opportunity to address it, I would love to know your personal perspective on the differences between The Fashion Show and Project Runway, since you have been exposed to both. Obviously, there are similarities, but there are very distinct differences, too.

Thanks for being such a great mentor for these young people.

Jo Columbus, Ohio

R. Saenz
R. Saenz

Sometimes you and Isaac think you're correct when it comes to fashion, but just because you've been in the industry since God wore Gres doesn't mean you both are always right!!!

You all have made some bad calls, especially Isaac!!! God some of his fashion shows were just yuck!!!

The whole idea that designers should want to appeal to the masses is stupid!!! Not all designers want to be a Calvin, Donna, Oscar, etc. etc.

Some of us enjoy remaining low key, have clientele, and do what we want, not want others think we should be doing!!! Only idiots flock to the mass production designers. How boring!!!

Too much class
Too much class

You should read the blogs ... your b-girl attack was outrageous. Nobody across the country has clue what a b-girl is and from the research on the blogs the backup singer that judges with you did not know either. This was your show's "jump the shark" moment. If you have any honor, you should start the next show with an apology to the designer that you so ruthlessly and inaccurately attacked and save a little of your dignity in process.

P.S. The general use of b-girl in US culture is a bar whore what gets men to buy them drinks, you need to get out more.

morningsidemary
morningsidemary

Reco has turned into a monster. He was repulsive to begin with, with a mouth that looks like he sucked his thumb too long. But now he is a huge drama queen as well, turning everyone off with his waspy comments uttered in the worst ghetto grammar. Just because you're black doesn't mean you can't speak like a calm, civilized person. What a horror for the rest to be trapped with.

manina
manina

Hi Fern,

Love your blog. I am glad Merlin won this challenge even though my favorite was Lidia (personal favorite). Merlin's look was very intricate and it looked very well finished, like everything he does. Perfect for a twentysomething cool girl. The pants were fabulous, extremely well cut and fitted.

What do you think about Daniela's comments about ''tree huggers"? Politically incorrect or just her view of everybody who doesn't think like her? In her design I think she confused "tree hugger" with "wood elf", the model looked like Legolas' sister, not bad but a more like a costume.

I had no idea who Charlotte Ronson was, so I googled her. She's like a teen designer. No wonder, I am well past that! But I guess she was the appropiate guest for the challenge. By the way she needed better concealer. Too much partying in NY?

Love your judging. See you next week.

Kate
Kate

Fern, while I've always respected your comments on PR and this show to date, I felt your, Kelly's, and Isaac's comments tonight toward Angel were unforgivable. Kelly should be dismissed.

Did you know what a B-girl was before shooting this episode? Most of the people commenting on ProjectRungay didn't, and they're the most fashion-savvy set of fans I know of on the net.

What exactly does a b-girl wear, Fern? It's funny that you all castigated Angel, and yet people in the know on ProjectRungay say a b-girl was a break dancer in the 80s and doesn't wear hip hop as you all seem to think. So everyone has the same question Angel did. What does a b-girl wear? You and they can't answer it, yet Angel is humiliated by the insinuations made about her character and ability for not knowing the same thing.

I hope all of you are ashamed of what you did on this weeks's episode. If not, you should be. But I won't be around to find out if you learned anything from it. I'm waiting for Project Runway to come back. At least they have class.

Viewer
Viewer

"It’s important to remember that we have to select the winner from the two choices the audience likes. Only a handful in the audience are “professionals,” so we are having to find the talent and the winner who the “people” who are the “customers” like best."

This is perhaps one of the biggest weaknesses in the show's new format. Personally, I hate it and I'm already losing interest in TFS. I'm not watching to see what the audience seems to like. I want to know what the judges like. That's why there are judges. If I wanted to have my friends judge a sewing circle, I'd form a sewing circle and have an audience judge their designs.

To be truthful, the sewing circle could probably sew circles around some of the folks you guys signed up for the show.

"but it offended Kelly "

Kelly made a complete fool out of herself last night and it did not go over well. Have her google herself to judge the reaction. No, not everyone watches MTV once they are out of highs chool and not everyone is immersed in this culture. Exactly how much time did Angel have to "research" this? Some of the reactions I've read said that Angel wasn't that far off because they though B-Girl was a break dancer. In short, you guys weren't clear.

Johnny's design was terrible. You sent home the wrong person.

audience member 1
audience member 1

Hey Fern, I agree on Lidia's look, it was kinda sexy in a way with those straps in the back, and I also agree that we the audience would like to hear more of the comments and get a closer look at more of the designs than top 2 and bottom 2.

I wish you, or somebody "nice" could go to the work room to help, encourage and advise the designers. The way it looks to me is they are being sarcastically mislead, and are left second guessing themselves. Just skip that and bring all the designs out at the end. I think the designers should have a chance to explain their looks as well as hear what you judges think (perhaps this does happen off camera)

I also think the audience should only be part of the final vote . . . how can they tell anything in that dark room with only a minute of viewing at best?

Best of luck to you!!!

ps. I don't know what a B girl is, but the blogosphere is saying it's a break dancer, not a hip hop girl. I don't know why it wasn't just called a hip hop look, for simplicities sake. It was very harsh to criticize Angel like that, and if Kelly is such an expert, and was so insulted, she could have helped her in the work room by explaining what they meant by B girl. I admit, no one would wear that outfit ever at any age, but it's not the worst I've ever seen, esp on this show. Johnny's look was just tasteless in every way. His F for effort would have put him lower than her B+. Didn't Reco explain it to her . . . what did he say!?

patty
patty

What frustrates me about this show is the workroom and runway are so brief. Very little air time. Then we only see top and bottom fashions again. Too much of a disconnect. Are you listening, Bravo producers?

BruceMpls
BruceMpls

I found the judges to be extremely rude (especially Kelly) to Angel over the "B-girl" issue. Possibly it was the way the show was edited but you all came across like she just arrived on planet Earth, not knowing what a B-girl is.Other than your explanation above, I still have no idea what it exactly means. In addition, when the judges got on Daniella's case about designing Andrew's coat and how the real world works. Newsflash Fern, judges et al, this is a contest not the real world. This is about everyone out for themselves to win a design contest, not a proper business etiquette game show. Lastly, I found your last comment humorous: may the best man or woman win...for the "men" we have Reco, Johnny, Merlin and James Paul left. Enough said about that.

Viewer
Viewer

Dear Ms. Mallis, I agree that it would be nice to hear more of the judges comments and critiques. I must say that having the judges leave the room and "deliberate" while standing up looks awkward and terrible. It diminishes your role and makes you look like you are gossiping outside someone's door, rather than deciding a winner and loser. I realize this show is trying NOT to be project runway, but it would be so much better if they judges and their comments could get fair play and you weren't standing up in the broom closet chatting.

Viewer
Viewer

Contrary to Bravo's opinion, most of the audience does NOT like seeing the bickering and would rather hear more of the judges' comments on the clothes. Read some of the message boards from Project Runway. The prevailing opinion was that the producers at Bravo were influencing the judging to keep the "drama" that THEY think their audience wants to see ----- WE DON'T! Or at least, I don't.

Viewer
Viewer

Fern, I am a professional in the business as well as a customer. Your defense of Johnny having a spark is no where to be found. He is not going anywhere in the industry. I have not been watching the show because of his attitude and his horrible skills and vision. You have lost viewers because of him. Don't kid yourself or your viewing audience. Please! "I am just not buying it!" bye bye!

bravo trash tv viewer
bravo trash tv viewer

I'm really glad you're on the show. You bring an interesting depth of knowledge to the discussion. I;d like to hear more of what you have to say.

Viewer
Viewer

I thought that Angel's view of a B-girl was off the mark, yet there was no real reason for Miss Kelly to be offended. It didn't offend me, and I am sure that it didn't offend the majority of other people within the hip hop community. The design just looks foolish and made me laugh. BTW, since when is Miss Beyonce, ooops I mean Kelly the person to describe what the hip hop culture is. Please don't get me started on her "qualifications" as a fashion judge. The smartest thing she has done in quite a while is to split from the grimy hands of Matthew Knowles.

Danielle
Danielle

I'm very disappointed in Angel being kicked off. I have absolutely no idea what a b-girl is either and I can -easily- see how going to a certain location or class of school could prevent that from being common knowledge. There was nothing resembling a hip-hop crowd at my high school or at my college, at least not any that I saw or took notice of.

Not a B-GIRL
Not a B-GIRL

And as we stated, of all the themes, hip- hop music girl was really a no-brainer-that is so, so very wrong that I and all the people watching with me tonight all just screamed WRONG! WRONG! at the screen while you all were talking. They were all working so fast that they probably weren't going to sit down with someone and tell them what a 'b-girl' is. ANd if everyone knows, then I and most of my friends and my college age children are apparently not everyone. It is possible not to watch MTV. It is possible to live somplace where you are not bombarded with hip hop. And totally possible not to be able to replicate a look you are not familiar with.

Viewer
Viewer

Fern, if a hip hop style for a woman is so easy to do, please, please, describe one. Kelly had a lot to say about what hip hop style is not, but she did not say one word about what it is, probably because it does not exist. Reference, Mary J. Blige, the queen of hip hop who wears designer dresses, like Kelly and designer shoes and tattoos. The tats give the edge. In 2009, there is no female hip hop style. I would think Kelly would know this. Offended, please! I am black, and the race thing always has to seep in but don't be patronizing. We all lose when we lie. The last time there was a hip hop style for girls was the 80's, so that is what Angel did.

Old Lady
Old Lady

Fern, I'm surprised at you. Not everyone in America is interested (even mildly) in the hip-hop culture. Frankly I thought a B-girl was a paid hostess at a bar who's job it was to get men to buy them drinks. One step up from a prostitute. What are you doing on this show? The hostess has a very high opinion of herself as does Isaac. As for a stand-in for Project Runway, it's not even close nor does it have any class. Most of the designers don't even know how to sew a basic garment. As for the members of the audience picking the winner, the audience is picked by the producers. Nit-Wits, one and all.

Viewer
Viewer

I'd like to just have the "Isaac and Fern" show and forget the contestants.