'Fashion Star' Premiere Recap: A Signature Look, a Little Bit of Sexism

In the first episode of NBC's new reality competition, one contestant tells the judges that women shouldn't give advice on men's fashion.
Tyler Golden/NBC

14 designers. 1 winner.

Sound familiar? Maybe. But NBC has made an attempt to reinvent the fashion show reality competition with Fashion Star by focusing on designers building a brand. Additionally, the designs will be available for viewers the very next day.

“Watch it today and wear it tomorrow,” as they say. The show, hosted by Elle Macpherson, features mentors Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos, who will help the designers along the way and critique their looks.

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How it works: Each week the designers will design a look based on that week's theme. They’ll present their look to the three buyers (Caprice Willard of Macy's, Terron E. Schaefer of Saks Fifth Avenue and Nicole Christie if H&M), who will bid on the item. The highest bidder will get that item for their store. That designer is safe for the week. Those designers whose looks are not bought will be up for elimination. The judges can save one of the designers who are on the chopping block before the buyers determine who will be going home.

The episode starts off with Macpherson taking the stage surrounded by models wearing her lingerie designs. This week’s assignment is to pick one signature piece that really defines them as a designer.

The first two designers up to show their designs are bartender Orly and Edmond. A clip introduces viewers to the designer's life back home. Orly’s line focuses on cut and sew tee-shirts. Newton says he’s living his dream.

Orly’s three-look collection features the miniskirt. Each of her models does a fun little reveal to show a skirt within a skirt. As for Edmond, he focuses on the cocktail dress.

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The two designers walk out on stage to hear from the mentors. Simpson likes Orly’s two-looks-in-one idea. Richie says she likes Edmond’s black and white looks.

They then get to hear from the buyers. Edmond goes first, and after getting two “no offers,” Macy’s offers $60,000. For Orly, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s both offer. An item of clothing can only go to one designer, so Saks steps down. They are both safe for the week.

Next are Oscar and Nikki. Oscar’s home video shows him dancing with his dog before he says, “I’m a very unique person.” His story also talks about moving from El Salvador to the U.S. Nikki is a much more serious designer, who seems to be all business. “I’m very determined,” she says, adding that she’s also very competitive.

Oscar’s three looks include a bright blue dress, a sparkly black mini and an off-the-shoulder tight green dress. On the other side of the spectrum, Nikki’s are hip, beach-friendly maxi dresses.

Richie says she doesn’t like Oscar’s dresses on the runway, but thinks that he has the potential to bring more to the runway. Simpson says she likes the comfort of Nikki’s items.

As for the buyers, no one offers anything to Oscar. That means he’s up for elimination. Nikki gets an offer from Macy’s.

Nicholas, up next, is a former model, who is now a fashion designer. Barbara is a breast cancer survivor who worked in corporate America.

Nicholas centers his looks on the James Dean jacket, while Barbara focuses on the jersey skirt. Barbara’s collection includes two red maxi dresses.

When it comes time to hear from the judges, Nicholas does not like what he hears from the female judges. "It’s very hard to understand the girls giving advice about men’s fashion,” Nicholas tells the judges. Simpson snaps that she’s angry at his comment, and says she wants to smack him across the head.

To no surprise, Nicholas gets no bids after that very sexist comment. Barbara also gets no bids.

Sarah, a mother of two from Georgia, is introduced next, along with bow-tie wearing Ross from Texas. Ross focuses on full length culottes for his three looks, while Sarah focuses on the shirtdress.

The mentors really like Sarah’s look but say she needs to push it a little more. They don’t like the pants Ross shows, although Ross disagrees. Ross gets no offers from the buyers. Sarah gets an $80,000 from H&M and gets a little teary.

The show rushes through several of the designers. Many get no bids. Lizzie, who bought her first two sewing machines of Cragslist, gets a bid from Macy’s.

The final two are Kara, who likes to focus on accessories and menswear for women, and Nzimiro, who keeps it classy with the sports jacket as his focus. The judges are tough on Kara for using other people’s clothes on the models and just focusing on the deconstructed shirt-and-tie combination.

Kara gets no offers for her tie and collar. She’s clearly smart, but not very practical. As for Nzimiro’s jacket, he gets a bid from H&M.

Only six designers made sales. Eight designers are up for elimination after the bidding is over.

Nicholas, Oscar and Kara are called as the three designers who may be sent home by the buyers. The mentors decide to save Oscar from elimination this week.

Nicholas is sent home because there’s no room in fashion for sexism and all that ego.

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