Isaac Mizrahi talks 'The Fashion Show' on Bravo, May 7
By April MacIntyre May 7, 2009, 14:58 GMT
04/21/2009 - Isaac Mizrahi - The series sees Grammy award winner and co-host of "The Fashion Show," Kelly Rowland; internationally named designer and host of the series, Isaac Mizrahi; and fashion coordinator and series judge, Fern Mallis. © Sylvain Gaboury / PR Photos
Bravo's new "The Fashion Show" will be premiering tonight, Thursday, May 7th at 10 p.m.
Bravo is debuting "The Fashion Show" to replace the hole left by "Project Runway," now on Lifetime. The network signed on popular designer Isaac Mizrahi, singer Kelly Rowland and IMG Fashion Vice President Fern Mallis, a fixture of New York's Fashion Week, for its new reality show.
Each week a winning garment will be manufactured and sold to the public via an online store; all the designers are professionals; and the winner at the end of the season will have his or her own line available at retail.
Monsters and Critics caught up with the three at the recent NBC summer press day in Pasadena.
Kelley Rowland loved her clip shown at the event. " I thought that was a damn good clip!"
The three shared that they were having a lot of fun and explained how the premise differed from "Project Runway."
Isaac Mizrahi talked about the differences. "Well, I mean, the format is different in
that it's maybe more competitive. There's a minichallenge first and then a final fashion show every week in front of an audience. That sets it apart to begin with, just the fact that each week is sort of this big set piece fashion show in front of an audience.
Rowland added, "And not just that, but just the fact that I love how America gets to vote the final winner. And it's crazy how America has had such a great choice in so much talent when you think about other reality shows that definitely have challenges in them. You think about the American Idols, Kelly Clarkson, how she is so talented. America makes stars now, and that is so true, and they are going to make an innovated designer.
Mallis also illuminated the differences. "Bravo, having created 'Project Runway,' now taking the fashion show on, has really defined that space of the fashion competition and has brought all of those eyeballs who want to be in fashion to the reality-TV space. And this has added elements that have really taken it up many, many notches as they've both said with an audience and with people voting. But, also, each week somebody wins, and each week, one garment will be manufactured and sold on Bravo.com, which absolutely gets all of these designers out there, making clothing, having something sold immediately each week with the final collection also
being sold on Bravo.com.
Mizrahi was effusive about his collaboration with Bravo. "I think the answer to that question is also just quality... Like, Bravo just does it best. That's my opinion."
Men's couture will not be featured yet, according to Mizrahi. "There are specific weeks. Every week is a different challenge" Mizrahi explained, "and it focuses on different clothes, but they are always women's clothes. For instance, one week, it's sort of, society clothes made with only $40. And one week it's about shoes and things that go with shoes. And one week, it was sort of focusing on hair and makeup and how that works with clothes. And what was some of the other specific challenges? But no men's so far, unfortunately,"
Mallis explained how integral the support from the Bravo web team and marketing staff were to the success of the show, and how product-placement was important to the sale of the show. "The online component, I think, is a very critical part of this. More and more people are shopping online, and right now, in this climate and economy, people are not going to stores as often, and people are very engaged by what these designers are doing on the show. So by us selecting a winner that has been narrowed down by the audience's choice, something will be made and manufactured, the winning look each week. So I think it's creating a whole new business of E commerce and very fluid and very natural. It's not a forced product that's being sold online because of the show. The product is actually being created because of the show."
Mizrahi had a long view of the show's impact. He said, "The thing about television
in general, it's media. Do you know what I mean? It's about communication. It's about education. And I feel like, you know, the computer and online facility we are
doing, not just the for-sale things, but we are doing blogs. We are doing discussions. We are doing open forums and things. And that just adds to the whole romance of the show. That adds to my experience of doing the show, and I think it adds to the audience's experience of watching and being a part of the show.
Mizrahi reflected on the notion that fashion shows like hos might have influenced celebrities to up their fashion game.
He said, "I think it's a kind of evolution. I think that we've all gotten sort of more aware of style in general. Food, I mean, like when I was a kid, there was iceberg lettuce, and now, kids that should be my children, my nieces and nephews, they know what Frizzmo and Mazur is. Do you know what I mean? They know what very fancy lettuce is, and they also know that Prada shoes are great.
Mizrahi was reflective. "It's funny. When I was a kid, it just was more like it would be out there everywhere. So, as a result of that, the stars have come a long way.
They work with stylists now, which they've never done before, and stylists who are so great. And they say 'This is the makeup. This is the shoe. This is the hair' "
Mallis also opined on the celebrity fascination with fashion. "The entire red-carpet experience, I think, has changed drastically over the last 10 to 15 years. There was a time when celebrities walked the red carpet at award shows, and people asked them what movie they were doing and what their next project was. Now, the only questions are 'Who are you wearing?' 'Who is the shoes...the jewelry?' I mean, it is only about the clothing to the point that it's a little bit, almost, insane. But it has created a complete new dialogue about designers and educated the world, the celebrities, the whole community about designers and who they are and who the good ones are and who are the bad ones and what works and what doesn't work. So the red carpet has become a fashion front-row runway of critics' commenting on the clothing, not the performances, but the clothing.
Mizrahi offered his parting thoughts on celebredom and fashion. "And more and more, you can't separate. There's such a tiny, little fine line between red carpet and runway. Like, fashion show, like red-carpet show, no difference. Right? The cover of "Vogue," the cover of "Harper's Bazaar," what you see is usually a celebrity these days."
Isaac did note that the show veered into ecofriendly fashion subjects.
Mizrahi shared that there was a minichallenge. "There was a minichallenge, and there was designer's shoes that were ecofriendly. And of course, it's in the foreground of everybody's mind, and there are innovations. There are steps being taken both on the fashion show and both in my work for Liz Claiborne and my Isaac Couture collection."
"...It's not really enough at the moment to say 'Oh, wow, I'm a leader in that area,' because there are other designers who are leaders. And I really adore them and respect them and take my cues from them. If they tell me it's better to work with a certain textile or it's better to finish a certain textile in a certain way, then I listen to them. But they are the ones in the foreground..."
Mallis had her opinion about the notion of ecofriendly fashion. "There's still a lot of controversy in the entire industry about what ecofriendly fashion really means and is. There's still a lot of unknowns, about the way things are manufactured, where they are, the damage that certain plants and chemicals have on the environment. Certain cottons and things that are recycled that people think are better for the environment aren't necessarily. I mean, it's all still very much a frontier in fashion that's being learned more and more every season."
Isaac and Bethenny on The Fashion Show