Jessica Simpson is a Fashion Star!

Posted on June 15, 2011

No, really!

We haven’t really talked about network television’s first attempt at a Project Runway-style show but minions, NBC’s Fashion Star is coming your way this fall and we’ll be just the bitches to take it down a peg or two. And somewhat hilariously, they’ve combined Heidi Klum with Tim Gunn and came up with… Jessica Simpson:

“NBC announced today that musician, entertainer and fashion designer Jessica Simpson will serve as a celebrity mentor on “Fashion Star,” the new reality competition series that will search for the next big brand in fashion with host Elle Macpherson, world-famous super-model icon, actress and businesswoman.

“NBC is delighted to work with singer, designer, actress and pop culture icon Jessica Simpson,” said Telegdy. “With an almost billion dollar lifestyle brand under her belt she is sure to be an excellent mentor to our up-and-coming designers.”

“Jessica Simpson has built an incredible fashion business and is a perfect mentor to our aspiring designers,” said Ben Silverman, CEO and founder of Electus. “She will complement the buyers, Elle Macpherson and amazing format.”

Here’s the thing: it’s become a bit easy to take potshots at her, but what most people don’t realize is that she is, right now, one of the most successful people in the American fashion industry. We’re not claiming she designs the stuff she sells or that she’s some sort of stealth ninja business prodigy, but you don’t make hundreds of millions by just being a face. Do we think she’ll have good, constructive, helpful critiques to make? We kind of doubt it, but she’ll probably be crazy entertaining.

More about the show:

“The series will give 14 unknown designers the chance to win a multi-million dollar contract to launch their lines in three of America’s largest retailers. Each week, the show will kick off with an exhilarating fashion show unlike anything seen before featuring musical performances, dancers, and models in front of a live studio audience. Every fashion show will be built around a weekly challenge that is designed to further develop and expand the designer’s brand.”

“MUSICAL PERFORMERS, DANCERS, AND MODELS.” Thank you, network television, for being so reliably cheesy. But please; do go on.

“Buyers from each of the retailers will serve as the judges, making on-the-spot decisions as they bid against each other, dipping into their own wallets to purchase the work of these up-and-coming designers each week. These items will shape the future of their respective stores and create the next big trends for consumers. At the end of each episode, America will have the chance to immediately purchase the winning designs showcased on the episode that week. What viewers see on TV that night will be on the streets and in stores the very next day. With just a single trip down the runway, “Fashion Star” will change the lives and fortunes of these aspiring designers forever.”

“Fashion designers featured on the show will include everyone from the stay-at-home mom who makes her own clothes to sell at the local flea market, to the recent Parsons School of Design graduate who just landed his or her first job at Marc Jacobs. All the contestants will be put to the test to see how they react in a variety of real-world scenarios to determine who has the vision and desire to build a fashion empire and achieve their dream. With top experts as their guides and mentors throughout the process, designers will have to be as adept in the business of fashion as they are in their creativity as it’s up to them to make their brand a national reality.”

To be fair, it does sound like it could be fun. And the show is being produced by the Magical Elves, who produced the best seasons of Project Runway (1 thru 5) while it was on Bravo, so we have faith. But man, they’re not even trying to disguise the Project Runway-iness of it all:

“In the end, one designer will successfully combine fashion and business to become the next “Fashion Star” and will receive the prize of a lifetime – an exclusive capsule line in each of the three largest retailers in the country.”

Tell us you didn’t just hear that in Heidi’s voice.

[Photo Credit: Getty]

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  • Anonymous

    Oh for God’s sake.  People really have to back off from declaring everyone to be an “icon”.  I got out of bed this morning and got dressed.  Does that make me a fashion icon (other than in my own mind)? 

    • Absolutely! But if you had a mediocre music career in the late 90’s- early 2000’s, you’d be even MORE of an icon!

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like a HOOT! I cannot wait to see this show and the magical elves working their entertinment magic.

    • Yup, Magical Elves, all to the good.

      Jessica Simpson, who knows.

      But after the last season or so of Project Rungay on Lifetime, I’m willing to give the network show a chance.

      I’ll misss Tim Gunn, doubt they can find an adequate replacement.

  • Anonymous

    Jessica Simpson as a fashion icon?? No. Just no.

  • I think Jessica Simpson may have some very useful critiques — not because she’s a great designer, but because she’s far more familiar with the headaches most women go through when buying clothes than someone like Heidi Klum is ever going to be, since her body is normal instead of exceptional. 

    How many times have we all looked at a design on PR and pointed out how unwearable it is for 99% of women?  Yet that’s rarely mentioned.

    This isn’t about finding a McQueen, which Simpson would be useless for, but finding a Kors, a brand that will sell.  For that, I think she’s totally qualified.

    • While I love PR, I will give this a chance. I would like to see a program that has clothes and price points for the average woman. Jessica pushes product.

    • Shannon, I agree.  I’ve seen JS designs at department stores and boutiques alike, and while I’m sure she doesn’t design every single piece herslef, she sure seems to know what is wearbale and sellable.   According to the press release–that’s what they are looking for–not the next avant garde designer, but the next for Macy’s or Nordstrom’s.  She’s come a long way from being Mrs. What’s-his-name…

  • I was discussing JSimps’ line with a gal pal of mine.  Her perspective was that for a girl with a full figure like her, Jessica Simpson’s line was surprisingly good.  She knew that she didn’t design her own clothes, but those that she chooses for her line are good decisions, in her opinion.  So she was pretty psyched to look through it for a wedding we’ll both be attending soon.

    Given, I don’t know much about her line, but I do appreciate her representation of a fuller figured girl with fashion choices that work for a good section of the female population and still have them looking as great as they are.

    • And isn’t choosing good items for your line the same thing as choosing good items to wear?  The difference is that she gets bashed for not designing every piece of her line herself, while Cate Blanchett (who chooses exceptionally well for herself) is praised for being fashionable. 

      I’d much rather buy from her line of pieces that she approved and let other better designers design, than from Katie Holmes’ vanity line of ugly crap that she designed out of the misguided belief she had any talent in that area.

  • Marika Christian

    I heard that her fashion line  is going to hit 1 billion soon, if it hasn’t already. I took a peek at her website, and some of it is actually kinda nice, and certainly affordable.  I especially like her shoes.  I think Jessica Simpson knows how to market herself and if I remember correctly she was Team Mondo during last season’s finale – which makes her a better judge then some. With all her “bad luck” in love, and the “look at how fat she is” crap she gets I always kinda pull for her. I bet she counts on that all the way to the bank

  • I’m looking forward to the snark-fest!

  • Anonymous

    I think that’s the whole point having someone like Jessica Simpson. Yes she’s known for her silly quotes when she did reality tv. However that girl owns a retail business that grossed 1 billion dollars last year. That says she has some good instincts for the business. This really is about the next “retail market” star not a “fashion” star. Not to say the show does not have the potential to be enjoyable. This show seems more in keeping with Joe Zee and All On The Line

  • Anonymous

    i have no doubt i will be watching.  i think jessica is harmless & kinda sweet. 

  • Anonymous

    Let’s hope her counsel to the contestants will be about designing for real women’s bodies, i.e., anything above a size 0.

  • Anonymous

    I’m not discounting her advice.  Wasn’t it the general consensus that she made good arguments when they let her?  The show might suffer a bit from being a PR knockoff, but probably not from her commentary.

  • I wouldn’t say it was the first time network TV capitalized on PR’s success. CBS had a show with Tommy Hilfiger. It was like Project Runway-meets-The Apprentice, and it was horrible.

  • Um, so I guess Gwen Stefani and Mila Jovovich weren’t interested?

  • I did hear it in Heidi’s voice!

  • Anonymous

    Well, it’s worth a shot. I have never been a fan of Jessica’s, but I kind of feel bad for the poor girl. After her divorce and the weight gain, the media has kicked her around and beat her up like a red-headed stepchild. Maybe she’ll surprise us and turn out to be a good mentor to these people. You never know, I mean didn’t La Mizrahi surprise us all with how helpful and kind he was on The Fashion Show?

  • MilaXX

    Um… BET does that every year. It’s called Rock the Runway. If anything this will be good, crastastic fun. I’m definitely willing to give this a looksee.

  • “Each week, the show will kick off with an exhilarating fashion show unlike anything seen before…”

    Does this mean they are going to try to top themselves week after week? Then I would expect some pretty serious debauchery by week three. That, or elephants.

    • Anonymous

      I took it to mean that each week would feature a different designer, starting with their runway, and then the rest of the time will be critiques, buying decisions etc. Not all 14 designers each week competing to eliminate each other. But that’s just how I read it.

  • Anonymous

    Is this because Nick Lachey got to host NBC’s “The Sing Off”?

  • Amanda in Austin

    I like a lot of the shoes with Jessica’s name on them.

  • Veronica Diaz

    I am so watching.  I also think that Jessica Simpson is “dumb” the same way Pamela Anderson is “dumb”.  While she may not have a college degree, she is craft and savvy and playing the part of the ditzy blonde because in America, the only thing that sells more than sex, is sexy people being stupid.

  • Anonymous

    I adore Jess – I always have. I grew up during the whole boy band-Britney-Christina era, and out of all the girls, she was the one I liked the most because she seemed the most down to earth and relateable. She always seemed like the girl everyone wanted to be – real (and real-sized!), funny, cute, playful, sexy at times, and just fun to be around! That’s why I’ll always be on her side. And her shoes are darn cute, comfy, and affordable too!

  • Anonymous

    “In the end, one designer will successfully combine fashion and business to become the next “Fashion Star” and will receive the prize of a lifetime – an exclusive capsule line in each of the three largest retailers in the country.”

    Can you imagine the disappoiintment for the winner when they find out the prize is designing a line for Wal-mart?

    • Anonymous

      Maybe not, if the winner has grasped what these shows can and can’t do for their contestants. Not a disappointment if the winner has some business sense and has a keen grasp of how to capitalize on publicity. (Plus can design appealing clothes for a mass market price point? Maybe I’m describing someone who doesn’t NEED to win a reality show contest).  

      • Anonymous

        It’s just that if your dream is to design affordable clothing that people wear and work for a major retailer, all you have to do is send in your resume. If you are qualifed they will hire you. And pay you a salary to boot! The reason I add the “salary” part is, in the past when various designers on PR and likewise win a “garment in shop” challege the designer has not gotten paid, or even much individual publicity from it..

        • Anonymous

          Yes, it would be nice to think that in the end the winner got almost as much out of the show as the show made out of him/her.

          • OTOH, by this point contestants know what they’re signing up for in that way, or at least they should.  I mean, how do you fail to notice that most past winners haven’t had giant careers?

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I think it sounds like fun, though the work room process (my favorite part) doesn’t sound like it’s going to get any time at all. And I don’t see how they could do better than Joe Zee with the business end of things.  But I’d love to see PR have a similar judging scheme occasionally and it sounds like a pretty cool prize, though it’d be the rare contestant who was prepared to capitalize on it, I bet.

    • Lisa

      I’m with you – this does sound fun!  Look, Project Runway has got A LOT to make up for, what with the Gretchen win and this new condescending “Heidi’s naked, you guys!” ad campaign.  I’m willing to give this new show a chance.  Never know what you’re gonna like till you try it!

  • Anonymous

    I am confused by this… ” the show will kick off with an
    exhilarating fashion show”      They start the show with the Runway show?

    “Three largest retailers in the country”  well that means Walmart, Kroger (ok maybe too literal), and Target – so Sears? 

  • Anonymous

    I’m really bored by this.

  • Lori B

    JSimp hosting a fashion show, and Tim Gunn has signed on to host a weight loss and health show on ABC.  Things that make you go hmmmm.

  • Lori B

    JSimp hosting a fashion show, and Tim Gunn has signed on to host a weight loss and health show on ABC.  Things that make you go hmmmm.

  • i have something of an idea but i am curious to find out which are the three largest retailers in the country.

    i have no interest in taking potshots @ jessica simpson. i really do believe she has become a good stand-in for many {if not most} of the women in this country–people whose looks naturally changed over time. it’s very rare to see anyone take on that role –it’s not that glamorous, for heavens sake– & i think she does a good job.

    & her line, such as it is, does sell. people want what that line offers. & it isnt that bad–it’s like knock-offs of the rtw knock-offs designers & their appropriators have to do after the shows. yes, it’s kind of far down that slope –but most people cant afford &/or do not want anything as phantasmagorical as what is delivered on the runway.

    i think she might do a good job @ this. it’s kind of a lower-end PR, but most people buy lower-end. in this, our very own new depression, i think the show is particularly compelling.

  • sonictofu

    I was rolling my eyes until you said the magic words “magical elves”.  I wouldn’t completely count it out.

  • Onika K Morris-Alleyne

    they need to stop trying to make her happen

  • Onika K Morris-Alleyne

    they need to stop trying to make her happen

  • Well, she was fighting for Mondo when Nina and Michael went all Gretchen on us, so she has that going for her…