Kelly Rowland: Fashion Show Is a ‘Real Show for Real People’

Kelly Rowland: Fashion Show Is a ‘Real Show for Real People’
Mitchell Haaseth/Bravo

updated 05/08/2009 at 12:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/07/2009 12:00AM



It's almost sew time!

Bravo may have said auf wiedersehen to Project Runway but it returns to the world of fashion world with its latest offering, The Fashion Show (tonight, 10 p.m. ET).

The concept: Young designers will compete to market and sell their own lines. But, in a twist, members of the studio audience vote each week, determining who will continue on in the competition. And the ultimate winner will be determined by home audiences after a live season finale.



"I think what makes The Fashion Show so unique is that it's the 's decision, and not only that but it's a real show for real ," Kelly Rowland, who cohosts the competition along with designer Isaac Mizrahi and Fern Mallis, says on a recent conference call. (Mallis is the creator of New York Fashion Week and a familiar figure to Project Runway viewers.) "This is coming from the consumer's point of view -- what they like, how it fits, how creative it is."

"The real truth is that no matter how fabulous any fashion show is, it doesn’t matter if don’t wear and buy the clothes," Mallis says.

Working with a cast of 15 up and coming designers on creating marketable and relatable designs was an eye-opener, and, at times, trying challenge for the judges. "I learned a great deal from hearing what the public had to say about clothes," Mizrahi says. "Sometimes Kelly, Fern and I would say, 'Oh, this is going to be in the Top 2' … and then we'd be shocked when it wasn’t."

"One of the most difficult parts for me is when you're standing in a room with designers who are clearly making mistakes and there's nothing you're allowed to say until the end," Mizrahi continues.

"Yeah, he wanted to help them the whole time," Rowland adds.

"And Kelly wanted to say, like, 'I wouldn’t wear that on a bet,'" Mizrahi says. "Or 'I love that.' And she couldn't."

Each week, the designers will compete in a mini-challenge and then continue on to an elimination challenge which will feature a specific task … - and a guest judge. (Celebrity judges include designers Charlotte Ronson, Elie Tahari and Vivienne Tam.) Their designs will be then be judged by a studio audience following a runway show where someone will be eliminated.

"The whole live audience part of it, I feel like made it so dramatic," Mizrahi says. "There was Kelly reading things to these contestants, like '60% of the audience thinks that your dress looks like the inside of a wig.'"

Adds Mizrahi: "The drama in the air -- that was thick!" -- Brian Orloff

Tell us: Will you tune in to The Fashion Show?

Mitchell Haaseth/Bravo

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