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Fashion Star

Sun Aug 18, 6-7pm, TLC

Series one, episode one
This could have been really interesting: up-and-coming and amateur fashion designers creating outfits for buyers from three top brands – Saks, H&M, and Macy’s – to bid on, and the one getting no sales up for elimination at the end of the evening. But we’re firmly in populist airhead territory here; in case you thought otherwise, here are mentors Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson and token designer John Varvatos to ram the point home. From the roaring motorbikes and lingerie-clad twiglets in the cheesy opening to the shouty voiceovers and tear-jerker backstories – not to mention presenter Elle McPherson’s wooden delivery – the style lurches awkwardly from unimaginative to over the top.

Still, Varvatos is intelligent enough to be interesting, the buyers are thoughtful, the studio reports give interesting fashion insights and tips, and the broad range of designers offers something for all fans: some will clearly shine, others have the ‘let’s get behind them’ rootability and still others the necessary chutzpah to hold their own against negative comments and lack of bids. Anyone interested in fashion is likely to find more than enough here to keep them watching.