Fashion Star Episode 5 Recap: Hooker-wear, Selling-out & Other Wedg(ina) Issues

Dear Reader, do you know gabardine when you see it? What about a hooker — can you spot one of those? According to Nicole Richie, the two go hand in hand, or cheek to cheek. She imparted her (I’m assuming) hard-won wisdom to thoroughly impressionable Edmond, when he presented his material of choice for what he’d clearly envisioned as a fashionable jacket for an upstanding young woman. Forsooth! Where Edmond saw durable cloth, Nicole saw the cloak of sin. “Don’t choose hooker fabric!” she rebuked, adding portentously, “Stay away from club-rat fabric.”

I wonder whether the esteemed Thomas Burberry (1835–1926), inventor of gabardine and founder of the British fashion house that bears his name, knew to what sordid (rear) ends his water-repellant slickers would come? Perhaps, Mr. Burberry, a worldly man and outfitter of kings and adventurers, also knew a thing or two about rugged street-wear. I put it to you, Dear Reader: who, more than hos, needs durable clothes?

In addition to exploring moral conundrums, last night’s episode of Fashion Star repeatedly demonstrated that the best intentions often result in poor execution. At the top of the show, the ever-inorganic Elle Macpherson announced that this week’s contestant challenge was to create compelling designs for department store windows. To wit: “…to show how designs could, literally [sic] pull window shoppers off the streets and into…stores.” Oh, Elle, you silly fembot, you meant figuratively. Clothes, as powerful a statement as they make, are inanimate objects; therefore, they can’t literally pull, tug or grab anything. True, the ever-vigilant Nicole noted that Orly’s short-shorts gave her models “wedg-inas.” For the love of all that is tender, will someone please call a cease-fire in this full-frontal assault on lady bits?!

The store windows didn’t play a large role in what little drama last night offered. The biggest shocker of the show was that Ronnie finally made a sale, and his forgettable store window (I honestly can’t recall what it was, so little did it pull me in) had precious little to do with it. Macy’s paid an eye-popping $110,000 for Ronnie’s little black dress (also available in hot pink and floral) with bra-defying low back. While clearly delighted with his late-in-the-game score, Ronnie has to wonder why he’s been wracking his brain, creating imaginative couture, when all he needed to do was spit out something basic. It’s called selling out, Ronnie. And it’s what all of Nikki’s minor variations on the maxi dress have done at H&M, including last night’s “vintage” model. Sarah, notching her fifth-straight sale to H&M (she continues to be snubbed by Macy’s and Saks), also proudly wears the utilitarian label. Her reversible blazer, which John Varvatos dismissed as something he’d seen before, won’t be seen on you anytime soon, Dear Reader, as it, too, is currently sold-out.

The show’s conform or die edict may not be absolute, as Kara has been rewarded for her unconventional taste, although last night she failed to sell her abundantly oversized shirtdresses. However, when the irrepressible Barbara, just missing the mark with her high-waisted gangster moll dresses, found herself, yet again, at the bottom of the grading curve, it was John who lauded her individuality, declaring, “The world needs a little bit more crazy.” Barbara wasn’t convinced the crazy label was complimentary, but it was butt-saving, as Edmond would soon discover, in a cruel twist of fate.

Making what he thought was a well reasoned switch from ready-to-wear hooker garb to unimpeachable men’s shirts, Edmond was told he lacked originality, and was forever banished from the Fashion Star stage. Next time, Edmond, trust your instincts — even if they’re street.

Alison McDonald is a TV comedy writer, and also the creator of the “She Got Problems” web series. Follow Alison on Twitter: @shegotproblems.