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One of the final three designers — Cassandra Hobbins (John Varvatos’ team), Daniel Silverstein (Nicole Richie’s team) or Hunter Bell (Jessica Simpson’s team) — will be crowned the season two winner.
In the final challenge, the designers are tasked with creating their own collection for Macy’s, Saks and Express. The winning designer will have his or her designs sold in all three retailers’ stores.
Ahead of the season closer, which airs at 8 p.m. Friday, host Louise Roe — who next co-hosts with Jeannie Mai a live studio-based show for Style called Style Pop — talked to The Hollywood Reporter about what viewers can expect to see and reflect on the season as a whole.
The Hollywood Reporter: What can you tell us about the finale?
Louise Roe: It’s so dramatic, and purely by chance, each finalist is on a different team: One is on Team Jessica, one is on Team Nicole, and one is on John’s team. So that means the mentors are getting quite emotionally involved. After 10 weeks, they’ve totally bonded with the designers, not only onstage with me but as their mentors as well. There is a whole lot at stake. It’s $6 million worth of clothes in these huge stories. I am nearly in tears [in the finale] as well. And there are awesome clothes. Each designer had to make a collection for every single store — three little mini collections from every designer. That’s a lot of outfits to whip up in just a few days.
THR: Are you impressed with their ability to do so much work in so little time?
Roe: It’s jaw-dropping. Even if you’re not part of the fashion industry, it’s impressive, but if you are, it’s even more so. I remember John actually saying there’s no way he could have done that in that kind of speed. To come up with the ideas, shop for fabric, relate the ideas to the people who are sewing — and in many cases, the designers got out and sewed themselves. It’s so impressive. I could never do it either. [As the season progressed], the designers were getting less and less sleep and were becoming more and more exhausted. The cameras were in their faces [all the time], the microphones in their shirts — and it’s a competition. It’s a lot for anyone.
THR: What moment stands out for you from the season as a whole?
Roe: I think the coolest moment is that I got to do a lot of interviews backstage. I brought the camera back with me, and I could feel the nerves and electricity and the models and the hairspray being sprayed and the manager shouting in the mike. That moment was so live and real. I loved being in the thick of it.
THR: You took over hosting duties from executive producer Elle Macpherson this season. How do you rate your experience on the show?
Roe: It’s the most enjoyable job I’ve ever done, bar none. I had so much fun. I bonded with all the designers as well as the mentors and the buyers too. I’ve never worked with a team of people so passionate about what they’re doing, and also has a sense of humor and are fun. On set, it was enjoyable and we laughed a lot, but also at times it was very suspenseful. I couldn’t have asked for more.
THR: Was it hard for you, as you got to know the designers, to see them eliminated?
Roe: I did an online series for NBC.com, so I spent a lot of days in the trenches and the design studio with them. It was a much more relaxed atmosphere in many ways — not with the studio audience and in the lights. After eight, nine, 10 weeks, I got to know them very well; you can’t help but become friends with people. It was hard when they went home. It was also rewarding when they did well and to see their hard work pay off. It was nice to be part of their journey.
THR: Is there anything else you can reveal about the finale?
Roe: My dress is kind of amazing. It’s by Falguni & Shane Peacock, an Indian designer [based in Mumbai]. It’s got acrylic fins on it, spines along the network and hips, and it was really fun to wear. I felt like I was wearing a piece of art.
Watch a preview of Friday’s finale below.
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