MIPTV 2012: 'Fashion Star' Generates Global Buzz

Fashion Star, NBC

Premieres: Tuesday, Mar. 13, 9:00 p.m. ET

Elle Macpherson hosts the reality-competition show where 14 aspiring fashion designers compete for a multi-million dollar prize: to launch their collection at Macy's, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue. Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos serve as mentors.  


Elle Macpherson and Electus’ Ben Silverman touched down at MIPTV to promote the competition series, which has sold to 75 countries.

Fashion Star, distributed internationally by Ben Silverman's Electus, will strike a pose across the globe with the reality fashion competition series set for broadcast in more than 75 countries.

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The NBC show, hosted and executive produced by supermodel-turned-entrepreneur Elle Macpherson, has signed deals with major networks across the globe, including Network 10 in Australia, CTV in Canada and TVA’s Mlle in French Canada, Diva Universal in Asia, Fox International Channels in Latin America, Globosat in Brazil and CJ E & M in Korea.

The 10-episode competition series co-stars Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos and gives unknown designers a chance to win multi-million dollar contracts to launch their clothing lines at Macy’s, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue.

Macpherson caused a stir in Cannes on Monday when she joined  Silverman’s for a panel at MIPTV. Yet Macpherson was more concerned with her brains than beauty as she talked to The Hollywood Reporter about the show’s colossal international success.

“This show is really about shopping. It’s about style. It’s about accessibility. There's a global desire for people to want to be stylish that’s not specific to any particular location,” Macpherson said. “It enables each territory to adapt the sensitivities of the fashions to its market  –  it’s very flexible like that. You can make it homegrown.”

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The fashion competition aspect of the show may be ubiquitous, but for Silverman, the show is  innovative in the way it allows viewers to buy the clothes featured on the show immediately following each episode.  “Just a few years ago, you couldn’t buy clothes the night of a show. We’re taking the most basic interactivity of being able to use the phone to order something and taking it a step further to being able to wear the winner’s designs,” Silverman said.

Added Macpherson: “It was interesting for us as producers to look at this from many different levels. Does the concept work? Will people really buy the clothes? It’s an important piece of the puzzle.”

Despite the surge in global sales, Electus is waiting for the official go ahead for a second season. “We have our hands full with this new concept on the air now,” Macpherson said, but Silverman added: “It’s not formally green lit, but we’re all working towards a second season.”

The French-speaking Macpherson was at home in Cannes, adding that her personal favorite French designers include Azzedine Alaia, Christian Louboutin and Isabel Marant and her style is “more French Vogue than American Vogue.”

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Yet even without Macpherson in the spotlight, she and Silverman are confident that their brains-meets-beauty small screen offspring will thrive in local markets.

“I think this show will have its spin according to its location simply because the designers and the retailers will have a design aesthetic specific to their market. We’re not imposing an American style,” Macpherson said.