Stay Tuned
Reviews, previews and much more on "The Real Housewives," "How I Met Your Mother," "NCIS" and many more of your favorite shows. This is the place to talk about all of the things that make us "Stay Tuned"…

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

"The Fashion Show" Review: "Project" What?

So I think the big question facing Bravo this summer is: Can it survive without “Project Runway”?

Well, I am happy to report that yes, it can.

Because its potential replacement, “The Fashion Show,” is a good substitute. In fact, in some ways, it may actually be better…

“Fashion” follows 15 professional designers as they compete for a chance to have their designs sold and a $125,000 prize. The hosts are designer Isaac Mizrahi and Kelly Rowland. They also serve as the judges along with frequent “Runway” contributor Fern Mallis.

The show is very similar to the “Runway” formula, but it ups the ante a bit by adding a page from the “Top Chef” playbook. The designers must do two challenges per show.

The first is the “Harper’s Bazaar” Mini Challenge—a la the “Top Chef” Quickfire. It’s a quick challenge that gives the winner an advantage in the elimination challenge. In the premiere, the Mini Challenge is turning a black t-shirt into a cocktail dress. It’s a really unique challenge that brings out the best and worst in the designers. The judge for the first challenge is Laura Brown from “Harper’s Bazaar” and she definitely tells it like it is. Making it more interesting is that she judges the designs without knowing who the designers are.

Then it’s on to the elimination challenge and the first one is a complicated one, which may explain why many of the designers struggle. But it’s a team challenge, so we get to see personalities come out almost immediately. And that means lots of drama.

Finally, we get an elaborate runway show for the regular judges, a special guest judge and a room full of industry experts. Those who are not successful on the runway are at risk for hearing Mizrahi say, “Bye, bye darling.”

There’s no doubt that the competition is much more intense and that’s not a bad thing. After all, competition brings out the best and worst in people. And isn’t that what good reality shows are all about?

Isaac Mizrahi is a good host and judge as he doesn’t mince any words for the designers. And Fern Mallis is always solid.

My only real complaint about the show is that Kelly Rowland didn’t really have much of a purpose in the premiere. But I think her role will get fleshed out as the show continues.

There will be those who call “The Fashion Show” a “Project Runway” knockoff, but who cares? Personally, I think Bravo has every right to copy the “Runway” formula. But to dismiss “Fashion” as a knockoff is not being fair. I think it’s more than good enough to stand on its own without the comparisons.

Bravo has done it again. Take that, Lifetime…

“The Fashion Show” premieres Thursday, May 7th at 10 p.m. on Bravo, after the season finale of “The Millionaire Matchmaker”…