Bravotv.com: What kind of judge do you think you will be for the season?
Fair and honest. It is not my intent to be mean or difficult. I believe in positive, constructive criticism that will make some of the designers think a little more about what they are doing and how they can perhaps learn and grow. However, my nickname, at some points, did become “Firm Fern.”
Bravotv.com: What is your first impression of the designers? Were you disappointed or impressed?
My first impression was based on visually seeing all of them together as a group and one can’t help but make quick and sometimes unjustified judgments. As this program and industry are both about fashion — fashion being a great communicator — several of the designers on the show clearly used fashion as a their own personal weapon and message and it takes a little while to get underneath that and find out who “they” really are.
There were moments when I was both disappointed and equally impressed.
Bravotv.com: Which designs stood out the most to you (for better or for worse)?
I think the results of the first challenge very clearly demonstrated both the best and the worse. James-Paul’s black angular dress with the short blue bolero jacket and low slung chain belt was really spectacular. I would be happy to own and wear that dress!
Jonny, who was eliminated, made a skirt and sexy halter top that was completely unwearable and the poor model could barely step up the stairs to the stage and had to be cut out of the skirt to go to the bathroom. I do wish, however, he had another chance to show some other aspects of his range as a designer — but that’s not the way the competition works.
Bravotv.com: What do you think the key to winning this challenge was?
Creating a look that was memorable, wearable, chic, and rose to the challenge. James-Paul’s outfit incorporated the must have bolero jacket in a way that made a significant contribution to the look of his design.
Bravotv.com: There was a bit of a disagreement with the judges over who to send home, and you got your way. What were the arguments for both?
It was between Jonny and Kristin — initially Kelly and Isaac were much more negative about Kristin’s design but I did not have a real problem with it. I actually like the layering and said at one point it was a little Anna Sui-ish and while not perfect, it was not as bad as some of the criticisms that were leveled towards her. Jonny’s outfit on the other hand, was just completely unwearable and unflattering to the model but there was some discussion that it was a more sexy, saleable look that women would like.
And we all contined to discuss both looks and eventually we all, along with Elie, agreed that Jonny’s was much more unforgiving than Kristin’s.
Bravotv.com: What is the dynamic like between the judges at this point?
I wish we could bottle and sell the dynamic and make a fragrance out of it — because we truly did get along extremely well. We respected each other’s opinions and points of view. I have worked with Isaac in my professional life for many, many years and have always admired him and his many talents. I also had the privilege, as the director of the CFDA, to hire Destiny’s Child to perform at the awards at Lincoln Center when hardly anyone knew who they were. I love how all these paths cross again in our lives!
Bravotv.com: What would you say you’re looking for?
I am looking for a talent and a personality and an original point of view that brings something new to our industry, that can sustain itself and also shows an ability to evolve and grow and succeed. It is a difficult business to navigate and it takes very special combination of qualities and talent to survive and flourish.
Fern, What did it feel like to have Daniella's clear unhappiness at her teams success? That was really weird on tape, was it uncomfortable in real life as well? She just seemded annoyed that any positive reaction was given to Merlin and her team. What did you make of that?
Any designer would like to participate for Phoenix Runway September 25 and 26 to support The Phoenix Children Hospital. Thank you
I thought you and the other judges did a nice job. No one was mean/harsh...even though the clothing, talent, and models looked so "home ec." I will say that this show seemed very much below the standards and talent we saw on "Project Runway". None of the models or clothing looked professional. Their tech. skills looked amateur. Nothing seemed to fit any of the models, properly. They all looked disheveled and the hair, accessories were ugly/fugly... bad shoes, hair, and fit. It also seems, already, sooo obvious that Merlin may have been put there for "TV" drama. He is loud, obnoxious, and overplayed.. to get attention.. He does not seem to have any talent that would stand out had he not been screaming, dressing for nothing more than attention, and trying to use intimidation as his strategy to get in the limelight. He may be "bizarre", but, he is already showing his true colors by being someone that NO One will want to work "with" or "under"...obnoxiously controlling/self-serving... and, his style is not one that any woman would want to buy/wear.. He is trying to be an avante guard wannabe Christian Siriano .... never!!! He's just good TV... Hope Bravo doesn't keep him to the end just for the drama..
Fern, I hope you play a bigger role in subsequent shows. Really enjoy your comments.
I just wanted to say that I think that Isaac is fantastic. I enjoyed the show more than I thought I would.
I would have to agree with the first comment on this blog; Project Runway, it's not. I wanted to watch it last night out of curiousity, and the designers don't seem to be up to the task. Their work looks home ec, and the quality of contestant is anything, but high. The only reason Christian Siriano got away with some of his behaviors was because he was and is truly talented. We've seen others try to imitate him, but he is one of a kind. I hope these contestants figure out that the idea is to make quality clothers, not try to be another Christian.
i'm so glad you are on this show. how do you think the designers on your show compare to the ones on project runway?
I have to say that I was a bit concerned about this show not living up to Project Runway. However, after watching, I think I'm going to enjoy it. While there is no real replacement for Project Runway, given the fact that this is a brand new show, I believe it is off to a strong start. While none of the designers have struck a chord with me yet, it's only the first episode and not only are we getting used to a new format, but we are also getting used to new designers. Good luck!
Wow. This is goig to be great show. I knew there was something going on with project runway but I didn't follow closely to know The fashion Show was coming. I'm so pleased. This is serious! To have that kind of audience makes this really big. No little children wanted. This is major, big time. I can't wait to see what happens next.
I value your opinion and Isaac Mizrahis the most. Kelly Rowland unfortunatly is a singer, and I do not understand for one moment what she is doing on this show.
Hi Fern - I love this new show. You and Issac could carry this with a guest designer or fashion personality each week. You need to lose Kelly Rowland. She is caustic and not really an authority on fashion! I just don't like her in this role. She should go back to singing. I love Issac -he can do no wrong, and you have a calming effect on the designers while saying what you think. This is my opinion...thank you.
Loved the show. I am a diehard Project Runway fan but I gotta say this was just as entertaining and interesting. I love that there is an actual fashion show as part of the episode.
Fern, I'm glad you have a day job, because I don't think this show will last beyond this season -- if that.
You were very kind and forgiving to the contestants (based on the dreck I saw on the runway, I can't bring myself to call them "designers"), but it was clear that you and Isaac were as embarassed for them as I was.
It is obvious why Project Runway moved to Lifetime. Bravo insists on focusing on the drama, rather than what the viewers want: talent.
Honestly, I feel that The Fashion Show is a complete ripoff of Project Runway. BRING PROJECT RUNWAY BACK BRAVO! The Fashion Show is completely pointless, sorry but just being honest. Me and a lot of people I know feel that it is exactly the same as project runway, and really do not see the uniqueness of this show? I love you Bravo,..but do not quite understand where you went with this show??
Let be honest fashion world is brutal and with that kind of work I seen in this show. They will be torn and eaten alive in the real world I might not like Merlin because of of his attitude but at least he is creating something. I'm looking forward for the upcoming episodes with only one episode I can only had a small little glimpse what they might be able to offer on the table but there might be surprises. As for Daniella go home and shout all she wants because with the design she's creating and attitude she's giving she is not going anywhere but home.
I agree that the contestants on Project Runway are more talented than those on Fashion Show. I will probably watch this show, but no one can replace Tim Gunn.
I,too, was looking foward to this new show, with high expectations. I will try to give it a chance, but I am somewhat disappointed. The designers and their skills seem below par; their interactions seem contrived. Yes, I am a lover of PROJECT RUNWAY and Tim Gunn. I LOVE Fern and Isaac, but don't understand Kelly's purpose for being there. What are her qualifications, other then sitting in the front row of fashion week? But I will continue to watch and see. And what is with the color scheme?? All blacks, greys and white. The only colors were Merlin's clothes (eeewwwwww), Hayden's yellow and Kristin" pink hair streak.
I have to say I hope things step up on the show. I was so looking forward to the designers, but I must say I'm truly disappointed. Everyones ragging on Kelly, but she's had clothes made for her since she was a child, she knows what proper construction of a garment, unlike some of the designers on the show, with what I've seen she should be given a sewing machine, she could probably create and construct a better garment than some of the"so called" designers on the show. I hope with time the real designers will shine through!
Why is Kelly Rowland on this show? What credentials does she have to even appear with designers and fashion writers with years and years of experience.
Kelly is no expert nor is she qualified to criticize anyone, especially with the outfits she has been caught wearing. She is only a household name because of her singing, if that is what she was
Get rid of her!
How did these contestants get chosen? Someone who can't sew made the cut over how many others that must have tried out?
But for Issac I would have stopped watching. Safety pins and a bad attitude and he stayed?
Must be entertainment value that determined the vote.
You are such a force in the industry...I hope you and Isaac have more input. Perhaps you can become the new Tim Gunn?
Like Fern, love Isaac- been a fan for years. Don't understand Kelly...she said she has "sat" at many fashion shows- huh? At least if she had a clothing line I could understand. Maybe they should have a new female host every season that has been a model, desiner, critic, etc.
I learned how to sew and tailor myself because I couldn't afford to buy the more expensive garments when i was a lot younger. I never used store bought patterns except one time and got it right away.(never again) I did a good job and never tried to copy other designers. (yes I am inspried by them, but always did my own twist) No one ever knew. I got a lot of compliments and of course it made me feel good. Sewing i a lot of hard work but gets easier as you do it. I never went to fashion school. I know how to drape for my own figure. I was utterly shocked at the talent, or not so much talent of the contestants that had gone to the best fashion school in london. (?) I do however, think the school can help broaden what creativity a person already does possess. I guess if you have the money it only helps the schools and teachers and I am glad for that. I know the business having worked for top designers for fifteen years as a sales person. Trunk shows are a crucial part as to what people are going to buy. . I will watch the show and see what develops out of all the designers. I already have my favorite....it takes passion and drive.
I would love to purchase the beige skirt with the pleats going down the front of it. The blouse was the perfect color and style to go with it. That outfit was the best thing I've seen in years.
I'm impressed with the credentials of the judges and even the audiences of Fashion Show, but I have to admit my disappointment with BRAVO in general. IMO Fashion Show lacks the element of nurturing that Project Runway had with Tim Gunn and the designers don't get the luxury -- and it IS a luxury whether they think they need it or not -- of messing up a few times before the bulk of industry people see their designs. There's something to be said for honing skills. That said and with the exception of Actor's Studio, Fashion Show is at least worth watching. There isn't another show besides these two that remotely interest me. I know enough entitled, self-involved people with out tuning in to watch them on TV. Who produces this stuff?
Love the format with the short and long challenges. Although I love Project Runway, it can drag a little. Fashion Show keeps the pace moving. Hope there will be some unusual challenges, such as making clothes out of apples or something weird.
Dump Kelly Rowland, what the heck is she doing on this show?
Other than wearing clothes, what authority or experience does she have on fashion?
Fern, I have so much respect for you - get off this show - it's a terrible knock-off of Project Runway!!!!! Very low class.... This probably won't be printed, but I hope you see it.
I'm very disappointed with the designers chosen for the show. I feel that their skill level isn't where it should be for a fashion show. I enjoy seeing Isaac Mizrahis, he's great. I hope that this show improves or I won't be watching.
Fern, please show this email to the producers!
I find it odd that the show has failed to learn any lessons from Project Runway. Here's what's missing:
1) Designers who can sew! PR learned that lesson very early and stopped allowing designers with no sewing skills on the show. The designer who said he was surprised he'd need to sew, had he never seen PR? Half the judges comments there were about the quality of the construction! Don't waste the viewers' time having contestants who lack the requisite skills - its boring for us. 2) Interesting/credible judges and mentors: Kelly Rowland, really? There must be 500 potential co-hosts more relevant to fashion than she is. 3) More time spent on the garment contruction process & less time on the interpersonal drama. PR was at its best and most interesting when it focused on the fashion. Shows that focus on the drama between the characters are too "MTV Real World" for my taste. 4) Blogs by the judges! Fern Mallis hasn't had time to write a blog on the second show yet? Kelly and Isaac don't write one at all? Instead you have ALL of the designers comment? Tim Gunn's blog was my favorite thing to read the day after the show. 5) Photos of the garments next to the commentary on them (on the blogs)! PR took this away at one point (probably as Bravo lost interest in tech support for the show when they lost the rights) and fans were mad.
The Fashion Show could work - it just needs to be rethought a bit. I do like having a real runawy show every week and hearing the fashion industry insiders' comments. That is a nice innovation for the Fashion Show.
I was hoping to watch some really terrific designers create some fabulous designs. So far, (IMO) there have only been four designers with real talent on the show. They have nothing to be worried about, they truly have no competition. I know you have to eliminate people to have the show, but seriously...its like watching the first day of class at a fashion school, with no help from the teachers. I will watch again once you get down to the top three or four but for now, its just to painful to watch. P.s I apologize kelly but I have know idea who you are or what you claim to fame is? You are very pretty all say.
Fern, I don't know you or course except from watching this show. You seem like a nice person and all, but, maybe its not a good idea to look at so much fashion all the time. I know there are other critics out there but maybe its not enough. Share the load with a few other people and (all of you) won't become so desensitized. I have to say this...I am not interested in watching a bunch of ametures learn how to sew and thats all its been so far. There are only maybe four or five qualified designers on the "the Fashion Show"(?). I guess you have to disqualify, but get rid of the ones who CAN'T sew NOW. (and the whiners)
The inventory of clothes out there is horrible crap (regardless of the economy) and I think a lot of people buy them because they have no other choice, especially if they can't sew!
It is obvious The Fashin Show was rushed to get it on very quickly due to the on-going battle involving Project Runway with Bravo and Lifetime.
Thankfully we can tune in sometime in late June or July to Lifetime and watch the original show enter its new season.
Fern is a blessing to have on this show, and hopefully will continue to add her professionalism, unlike Kelly who offers no real advice other than agree with the experts.
The team thing thankfully is over starting this episode so maybe the real talent will shine on a more individual basis. Overall, I do not like this show, the talent is barely mediocre, the designers dress very thrift store like and Isaac is a total bore.
Bravo is way off base with this show and just because they lost P.R. doesn't mean they have to replace it.
I am sorry but so far this show has nothing to offer. From other design shows I am inspired to put something new together or dust off my sewing machine and try sewing something and then realize why there are professionals. I love the advice given from other shows especially on matching hair, jewelry etc. This show gives nothing. I didn't go to school for clothing design but I think I can sew better than most of the contestants. The pannel of judges also lacks in giving great critique. With the experience on that pannel amazing ideas should be flying out of their mouths except for one, KR. Not worth my time but thanks for trying.
You seem like a fair minded judge in your constructive criticism to the cast members.. However, this program lacks the fun factor. There is truly no joy in the designers. Most of them portray a defeatest attitude. The judging decisions seem haphazard in the resulting booted off tailor. When chubby Johnny proclaimed that you guys "...could vote him off..." you should have taken heed. Instead, you voted off the meek and mild female constentant. Later, Haven expressed self-doubt and practically begged to be let go. Again, you didn't do that. If someone wants out, don't deny them the pleasure of going home to the safety of their friends and family and the familiar. They're going to go sooner or later. At least we don't have to wait for the other shoe to drop when they pitch a hissy fit or crying jag that they couldn't do the challenge.
This show is really awful!!! I cannot believe how bad these so called "fashion designers" are. Did any of them attend high school never mind fashion school. Also, I am shocked that such wonderful designer like Issac would be involved with it. VERY SAD.
I would think that a prerequisite of a young designer would be the ability to sew. How is one able to show off their creations if they are unable to construct it themselves? I think it's time to say goodbye to those who lack the skills and allow others to create. 3 need to go home and tonight would be a good time to do it. This is not home ec so send the little prima donnas, who expect to be bailed out by others, home. No more allowing safety pins, glue guns and duck tape.
It really bothers me when things are referred to as "looking home sewn". I have been sewing at home for nearly 50 years, and nothing leaves the sewing room unless it is perfect. I do my own clothing, costumes (theater quality and reenactment) and upholstery. The construction problems seen on this show, as well as Project Runway, would result in my throwing the whole thing in the trash. One could more easily refer to problems as just being poor skills, or even amateurish, without insulting people who do not happen to have a workshop in which to sew.
Ok, I'm happy to see that construction is a big part of the show, I'm disappointed to see the lack of sewing skills these contestants have. Only a couple of the designers should have made this show. I hope next season the casting directors actually ask the designers if they can construct a garment (properly). So many people are getting away with starting lines and having no knowledge of what goes into it, it has changed the industry, many feel you don't have to know construction or what actually goes into creating fashions. This makes it hard for the true designer that has attended school or studied fashion and fashion concepts. I hope some kind of rule or law is passed if you want to call yourself a designer or create a line some education will be needed. If you sell real-estate you have to attend classes and pass a test to get a certificate. We need to certify designers!!!!!