Last week, we introduced you to the group of designers eager to be the next Fashion Star. One in particular stood out: the vocally gung-ho, leprechaun-esque Oscar Fierro. He makes everyone cringe, sheds tears on cue and is the colorful diva that this overly-packaged show desperately needs.
This week's theme: "Who's Your Customer?" Designers are able to get feedback from real people and their celeb mentors about their garments before showing on the runway and to the buyers. The feisty Fierro presents his line along with last week's favorite, Orly Shani – whose zip-off over-skirt sold out at Saks – and the tailoring expert from Texas, Ross Bennett. However, the threesome are anything but cordial, as Shani calls Fierro "obnoxious" and Bennett says, "This isn't the Oscar Show."
Or so he thinks. This episode truly is the Oscar Show, and quite enjoyably so. Every "reality show" needs a Snooki, after all.
Before the trio has even hit the runway, the drama ensues backstage. "Orly is just an annoying human being. She is not a fashion star," Fierro snipes. "If I don't sell this, I am going to have a nervous breakdown and no one wants to see that."
What we do see from Fierro is more of the same trashy wear, possibly worse than what we saw last week. This time, he delivers three half-shoulder, shiny, animal print mini-dresses. He went from designing for Forever 21 to Strawberry – and if you aren't familiar with that franchise, let us inform you that it's a definite step down.
Fierro, in a yellow scarf and orange top hat, gets the lowdown from the mentors, who chose to save him from elimination last week. Jessica Simpson – also in a shimmery, short, Vegas-style gold dress – says she isn't "over the moon" for the looks. She adds a hormonal tidbit, too: "I had a dream I was giving birth to Oscar and I didn't change his diaper!" This is not, perhaps, the constructive criticism a designer would want to hear on national television – but in Fierro's eyes, we're sure that being in a Jessica Simpson dream is like winning the lotto.
"Last week, when we saved you, we really thought there was something much deeper in there," says John Varvatos, clad in his usual black attire and sunglasses. "Those dresses are like 4 a.m. and they're hoochie."
Fierro fires back, "Well, there is a customer out there. I'm not saying I am designing for hoochie but this is for a customer who wants to take sexy to another level. That is who I am, and if I have a little hoochie in me, I'm going to want to bring it out."
The buyers at Macy's, Saks and H&M aren't having any hoochie whatsoever, though, which means Fierro gets no offers. Backstage, he throws a fit: "I have people depending on me. I left my house. I left my dog." Then flips the coffee table.
Shani presents more of the same "two-for" outfits, i.e. looks that transform one look into two. "Since I got a good response last week, I wanted to do something similar," Shani says. This time, the New York bartender exhibits a long, tight black skirt that wraps down, giving way to a pencil skirt, and a tan tank that becomes strapless. (Oohs and aahs can be heard in the audience.) Though the mentors praise her for her innovation, Shani, to her surprise, does not receive any offers from the buyers.
Bennett shows tailored (and, of course) bolero jackets with high necks and poofy shoulders, one of them coming with a matching skirt à la classic Chanel tweed. The looks are impeccable and certainly something we'd see at Saks, though Bennett is warned by mentor Nicole Richie during his studio visit that the material is too heavy for a spring collection. The buyers agree: "It's very Alexis Carrington," Terron E. Schaefer from Saks notes, referring to the Dallas character played by Joan Collins. It translates, to Bennett's amazement, as no offers.
The highest offer of the night goes to Kara Laricks, whom Schaefer referred to as a "one-trick pony" last week for showing only ties. This week, she shows alongside Ronnie Escalante and Lisa Vian Hunter and expands her tie look into drape-tie dresses – and what an improvement it is! The style is extremely modern with defined shoulders, shorter-cut in the front and loose-fitting. The three looks includes an exquisite red dress, a gray dress that ties in the front and a black one with pockets towards the front, the latter which was a recommendation made by Simpson at the design studio.
"You proved that you're more than a one-trick pony," Schaefer says, and he eats those words further in a bidding war with H&M's Nicole Christie. They rise from initial offers of $50,000 to Schaefer winning the collection at $110,000. (Oddly enough, none of these dresses are on sale currently at Saks, though a similar gray plaid shift dress is retailing for $325.)
Hunter, who sells her eponymous vintage line at her store in Seattle, has a very specific motto: "Would Audrey Hepburn wear this?" At first glance, Hunter's dresses are very pretty and reminiscent of what the women wear on Mad Men, a line that Banana Republic has already produced – obviously not revolutionary trends, but marketable. Regardless, Hunter continues the aesthetic – though during a studio visit, John Varvatos suggests she lower the neckline to achieve a softer and younger look, an idea Hunter finds extremely scandalous. However, she complies and it works in her favor; Macy's Caprice Willard buys the "Trudy Day Dresses" for $50,000.
Sarah Parrott sells to H&M for $50,000 once again, though the sale almost doesn't happen. During her studio visits, Parrott is unsatisfied with her clothes and literally trashes the entire line. "Find a way to rock it," Varvatos tells her, a line that is clearly being submitted as his Tim Gunn "make it work" signature quote.
Parrott ends up showing a line of tuxedo, wide-leg, high-waisted slacks, two pairs in blue and one in white. The white pants are by far the biggest hit; Parrott ingeniously transforms a 1970s retro evening look into an extremely modern yet casual style. (Frustratingly, the blue pants are the only ones on that appear to be on sale at H&M.)
Nzimiro Oputa, who sold last week to H&M, sells to Macy's, though if you blinked you might have missed his entire collection. The New Yorker, who was studying engineering and left it all to try his hand at designing, showcases his line of men's shirts, including a notable gray contrast-trim Western shirt that Macy's and H&M both want. Macy's takes the shirt with an $80,000 offer. However, his segment is executed awfully, as are several others: we're seeing a pattern in which every designer, whether they get an offer or not, does not get equal air time, making it extremely difficult to see the actual clothes. Imagine American Idol skipping through contestant performances – it wouldn't fly.
So out of the 13 designers, nine don't receive offers. And out of those nine, only three are in jeopardy. Why only three, you ask? We have no clue! It is never explained to us how the mentors and/or buyers choose three designers to be at risk of going home. Why not choose designers who haven't made any sales to date, like Luciana Scarabello and Barbara Bates?
Regardless, the three that are chosen are Fierro, Bennett, and Lizzie Parker. Fierro's hoochie dresses prove too much to bear on television, and sadly, the Oscar Show comes to an end. Who will entertain us now? Parrott and Oputa are strong contenders, as is Shani. We'll just have to tune in next week to see if they "rock it."
Last Week: Jessica Simpson May End This in Violence