If You Are Disappointed
By E!'s House Of DVF, Then Watch Ovation's The Fashion Fund

HouseofDVFLast week, the E! Network debuted a highly anticipated reality show, House of DVF, featuring a group of young women vying to be the next "Brand Ambassador" for Diane von Furstenberg. The hook here was supposed to be a fashion based reality show set in an actual, successful designer firm with the added bonus of appearances from one of the industry's most widely admired designers and businesswomen. The presence of the beloved and sage DVF herself would have to elevate the show out of the usual morass of reality show clichés, right?
Oh, well, better luck next time.
It turns out that you need a lot more than a venerable eminence grise on hand to bring some dignity to the proceedings.
First of all, what is a "Brand Ambassador" anyway? So far it looks like it is a glorified intern, and the girls in competition for the supposedly plum job are still more like reality show contestants than serious, aspiring businesswomen. While DVF makes her appearances and eliminations much like Tyra Banks still does in the not terribly dissimilar Americas Next Top Model (yes, apparently somebody is still watching this) running the competition seems to be relegated to the company's Creative Brand Director Stefani Greenfield, also known as the founder of Scoop NYC and a fairly accomplished person in her own right. Here, however she seems to be reduced to directing a group of clueless ninnies who are encouraged to bitch about each other in the petty ways that reality stars will. By the end of the first hour, the whole enterprise of the show is swiftly revealed to be nothing more than the same old reality competition schtick as the most vacuous of the girls is sent packing, and good riddance. 

Nominees-cvffWhat a waste of an hour, but then there is already a much better fashion reality fashion show that started its second season only a few days after The House of DVF made its regrettable premiere. You still have a few opportunities to catch this season's first episode of The Fashion Fund on Ovation before the second installment is broadcast in its usual time slot on Wednesday at 10 PM. This show follows the actual young designers vying for the annual CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund prize as they proceed through a series of challenges and meetings with the fund board lead by Anna Wintour herself and CFDA CEO Steven Kolb and including prominent industry figures like Theory's Andrew Rosen, Neiman Marcus's Ken Downing, Nordstrom and Jeffrey's Jeffrey Kalinsky, J.Crew's Jenna Lyons, Reed Krakoff, Rag & Bone's Marcus Wainwright and David Neville and, of course, Diane von Furstenberg, the CFDA President. The main difference between the shows is that the contestants here are real hardworking people (pictured above left) with going, though in many cases tiny, businesses spanning the industry including men's and women's fashion, shoes, accessories and even hats. Some of them are operating on a shoestring, and some of them are competing for the second time, but the stakes are real, and they haven't been cast for their looks, personalities or propensitiy to stir up drama and conflict. They have been chosen for their creative skills and talents. They aren't competing for a contrived job but for funds and mentorships from the CFDA to help them develop their real brands. There is no scolding contestants for bad behavior, just watching them work earnestly to solve the challenges they have been handed. The judges are as much cheerleaders as they are arbiters, and another of the show's pleasures is getting to see how real, influential fashion designers, executives and editors make their decisions, and what they are looking for in new talent. Here you will find the inspiring DVF who seems to be missing from her own show, funny, smart and insightful. The only drawback to the show is that the finale gets spoiled before the first episode has aired, robbing it of some essential suspense.
But then, this show is more about the journey than the destination.
Take that hour you might have wasted on House of DVF and give it to The Fashion Fund instead. The-Fashion-Fund-banner-I7-0JHY-4D3N-6QGV-origYour brain will thank you for it.

The Fashion Fund (Official Ovation Web Page)
House of DVF (Official E! Web Page)


CFDA/VOGUE Fashion Fund Finalists Will Return To TV This Fall

Last night, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists were announced and here they are:

Wes Gordon
Tanya Taylor
Paul Andrew
Daniel Corrigan and Jake Sargent of Simon Miller
Brett Heyman of Edie Parker
Natalie Levy and Grant Krajecki of Grey Ant
Eva Zuckerman of Eva Fehren
Gigi Burris of Gigi Burris Millinery
Ryan Roche
Matt Orley, Alex Orley and Samantha Florence of Orley

Some of these labels like Grey Ant and Simon Miller may be more familar names while others like Orley have only just arrived on the scene. The finalists will be put through a series of design challenges over the Summer including one underwritten by Maybelline and a fashion show in Los Angeles sponsored by online retailer The Corner. The winner will receive a $300,000 prize and tow runners-up will get $100,000 as well as mentoring from veteran CFDA member designers. Again, this year's three prize recipients will also create capsule collections for the Fund's sponsor partner, J.Crew. Participating in the program at all has been a great boost for any young designer. Last year's winners, Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School have gone on to win nearly every possible award they have been eligible for recently, so it's a great launching pad. Once again, the public will get an insider view of  how the winners are chosen as this year's finalists will also participate in a TV docu-series, The Fashion Fund which will be broadcast on the Ovation Network (That's Channel 83 on TimeWarner in New York City). While the last series, its debut, was broadcast several months after the 2013 winners were actually announced, the next edition will air closer to this year's announcement on November 3, so there should be a greater sense of suspense while watching the show this time around.

CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Finalists Revealed (WWD)


H&M And David Beckham's Super Bowl Ad Will Let You Shop From Your TV

Yes, it's that time of the year again when deep-pocketed advertisers start teasing their extravagant Super Bowl ads. H&M will be returning to the Super Bowl with its David Beckham Bodywear collection in a new, fully enabled "T-commerce" advertisement that will allow viewers to shop directly from a commercial via remote control if they are watching on select Samsung smart TV models. We aren't sure if this is a good or bad thing, but it sounds like the technology that we have been hearing about for years that will allow you to see something on your TV screen and easily buy it right away is finally starting to happen —and the first items available will be men's underpants on the Super Bowl. One might have thought that Victoria's Secret might have jumped on this for their annual hourlong cheesecake extravaganza infomercial/runway show/TV Special, but H&M beat them to it.

But back to what's really important. Notice above a teaser image from the ad which will apparently feature the esteemed Mr. Beckham dashing over rooftops, or perhaps power plants in, of course, his underwear. This is the only image we have to show at the moment, but we expect that there will be more to come which we will bring to you, because we know you care.


Public School's Dao-Yi Chao & Maxwell Osborne Are This Year's
CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Winners

An ambitious menswear label just took home the ever-more prestigious CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund award yesterday. Public School (a look pictured below left) designed by Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne (pictured above with Runners-up Juan Carlos Obando and Marc Alary) has been delighting editors and impressing retailers like Barneys, Odin and Bloomingdale's for the past couple of seasons with their unique mix of classic and street style and high level of workmanship, so their victory is not a total surprise. PublicSchool-01FW13What will be special for them, is that this year, the contest which has granted $3.8 million to over 30 up-and-coming designer labels since 2004, is being made into a television docu-series to be seen on the Ovation network starting on January 22 (which is happily in time for Ovation' return to Time-Warner Cable's channel lineup early next year). Chao and Osborne will be receiving a $300,000 grant as well as intensive mentoring from the CFDA to continue growing and strengthening their business. Runners-up Obando, who designs a women's collection and Jewelry designer Alary will also receive mentoring and a $100,000 for each. In fact, all of the finalists, including Todd SnyderNonoo’s Misha Nonoo; Tim Coppens; Veronica Miele Beard and Veronica Swanson Beard of Veronica Beard; Parabellum’s Commodore Jason Jones; Tome’s Ryan Lobo and Ramon Martin; and Shimon and Ariel Ovadia of Ovadia & Sons have been benefiting from CFDA mentoring over the course of this year since their nominations were announced. That process will probably be included in the series as well. Producer Robert Weiss has promised that the show called “The Fashion Fund,” will focus on the designers' and CFDA/Vogue panel members' journeys, and avoid Project Runway style drama, “There’s no running down the hallway with scissors here,” he tells the New York Times' Cathy Horyn.

For the past few seasons, the winners and runners-up have also created capsule collections for J.Crew stores, so we will be looking forward to next Spring when those collections are expected to drop. 

See a trailer for "The Fashion Fund" after the jump.

Vogue/CFDA Fashion Fund Names Winners (WWD)
A TV Show That Isn’t Made of Whole Cloth (On The Runway-NYTimes)

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Public School's Dao-Yi Chao & Maxwell Osborne Are This Year's
CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Winners
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John Galliano Dresses Down As His Mea Culpa Tour Hits Full Swing

GallianocharlieroseYou may have already read the big Vanity Fair interview, but now disgraced couturier John Galliano has done his big TV interview about the highly public breakdown that got him booted from his job as creative director at both Christian Dior and the label that bears his own name. In the absence of Oprah's vast platform, Galliano taped an interview with Charlie Rose which aired last night on PBS stations. You could be forgiven for missing it, as the entire taping and airing happened within a couple of days, but along with clips on YouTube, the entire show is steaming on Rose's website HERE.

Galliano rehashes much of what he went over with Ingrid Sischy in Vanity Fair, but the most striking aspect may be that, for the first time in the decades since he has become a well-known designer, he made a public appearance unencumbered by the flamboyant personal style that helped to make him an unmistakable figure in the fashion world. He was sober, not only physically, but sartorially as well. Gone were the hair extensions, the sculpted facial hair and elaborately embellished garments he is known for wearing. Galliano sat clean shaved, with his hair tidily pulled back in a low ponytail and wearing the most mundane navy blue jacket and simple light blue dress shirt without so much as a pocket square to recall his usual flair. If you ever wondered what this guy really looked like under all that costume, then here you are.  Is this the debut of a new, stripped down Galliano style? Maybe, but it is more likely that he is trying to make as favorable an impression as possible on the public at large not only in America, but worldwide, where this interview will inevitably be seen in one format or another. It's hard to imagine that he would give up his dramatic personal style permanently, but you can't blame him for wanting people to see him as a normal human being instead of the scarf-swathed weirdo who spewed drunken, hateful statements in the much circulated videos that led to his downfall —an excerpt of which Rose showed just in case anyone had missed them the first time around. 

Will it all work? In transforming his appearance, Galliano seems to be signalling that he will go well out of his way to show that he is not some fashion feak, but a real person who is capable of personal growth. While many Jewish leaders have emphasized an obligation to accept sincere apologies and efforts to improve oneself, others have been less forgiving, and students at Parsons School of Design recently made it clear that he was not welcome there to teach a master class similar to one that had been well received at Central St. Martins College of Art & design in London. The designer seems ready to get back to work, but ultimately it will be up to the retailers who will carry the products he will eventually offer and their customers to decide if they are ready to have him back.

John Galliano Interview (The Charlie Rose Show)

After the jump, see John Galliano apologize again

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John Galliano Dresses Down As His Mea Culpa Tour Hits Full Swing" »


Go See Liberace's Real Costumes
At The Shops At Columbus Circle

LiberaceOutfitIf you subscribe to HBO, you couldn't possibly be unaware that the channel is finally debuting the Liberace biopic "Behind The Candelabra" this weekend, but you might have missed the notice that a small but very, very sparkly exhibition of the flamboyant pianist's actual costumes and other effects are on display this week on the second floor of The Shops at Columbus Circle. Six full costumes (including crystal encrusted footwear) loaned by the Liberace estate are on view as well as other selected memorabilia to promote the film, and they are worth seeing if only for their sheer bats#!t craziness. They are so elaborate and intricately constructed that they were actually too heavy and expensive to replicate exactly for Steven Soderbergh's film. Though the appeal of Liberace as a personality and performer defies contemporary showbiz logic, he certainly was beloved enough in his day to go as far over the top as he wanted —and his costume designers were able to take him, leaving an incredible collection of things that are peculiar to his own, unique aesthetic and worth seeing just for spectacle's sake, or maybe just a good laugh. Look at it this way: When are you ever going to get another chance to see an automobile entirely covered in Swarovski crystals?

The Behind The Candelabra Exhibition through May 27th at The Shops at Columbus Circle, Second floor


Mr. Porter's And USA Network's
Suits & Style Ends This Weekend

In the past couple of years, we have seen few TV networks take better advantage of a fashion collaboration than USA has to sell its programming to the public —particularly the New York public. Just a few years ago, it had hundreds of eager folks lined up through Rockefeller Center's Channel Gardens for a free Thomas Pink shirt to promote its his series "White Collar". The next season USA teamed up with Brooks Brothers and Gilt for a similar online freebie, and now the network has moved on to its latest hit, "Suits" with a Meatpacking District Pop-up Shop in conjunction with online retailer Mr. Porter and Vanity Fair.

SuitsTablePerhaps its just the combination of tall, well dressed leading men starring in a roster of shows named after clothes that makes these promotions almost too obvious, but what they express in on-the-nose-ness, they make up for in execution. Sadly there have no big giveaways at the Suits & Style shop on Gansevoort Street, but Mr. Porter has stocked the store with accessories from brands like that coincidentally make excellent Fathers' Day gifts, along with appearing to have dropped from the prop and wardrobe trailers of the show's stars Gabriel Macht and Patrick J. Adams. Shoeshines and a little pampering from Men's treatment line Aesop are also on offer along with, of course, plenty of drinks. The real intrigue, however, is the series of touch-screen tables which allow the user to style up a few virtual outfits from Mr. Porter's stockrooms. Essentially, it's high-tech paper dolls, but don't tell that to the gentlemen who find themselves mesmerised by the tabletop toy.

SuitsShelbyTimed to coincide with last night's second season premiere of "Suits", the shop will close after this weekend, and if accessories, shoeshines and computer tables aren't enough of a lure, then at least stop by for a look at the Shelby Charger parked out front. If a supercool car can't get you down there, then we can't help you.

USA Network and Mr. Porter Suits & Style Pop Up Shop open through Sunday, June 17th at 72 Gansevoort Street between Washington & Greenwich Streets, Meatpacking District.
Today In Complimentary Items: How Long Would We Stand In Line For A Free Shirt? (10/22/2009)


H&M Throws A Bash For Fashion Star

What does the Shophound do when H&M invites us to a party celebrating a show we haven't really been watching? We go, because one ting we have learned is that H&M throws an exceptionally good store party. You might not recognize the atrium of the chain's Fifth Avenue flagship in the picture above as it was on Tuesday evening. It was transformed into festive, tropical wonderland where open bars naturally sprout on every floor, and the natives walk around with trays of treats. The party was in honor of NBC's "Fashion Star", the show where contestants create new capsule collections every week and then try to have H&M, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's compete to buy them. Sometimes they win big, and sometimes, nobody bids (insert wah-wah sound). From what we can tell, H&M serves as some designers' last hope, since what Saks and Macy's might not find interesting enough for their customers, H&M is happy to sell for $39.95 the day after the show airs. We can't tell if the show is big winner with NBC, but it looks like it was a hit for H&M, which was proudly displaying the items the chain had bought from contestants so far. The event was billed as an "exclusive shopping event" and the store staff was super-extra helpful and ready to hand everyone a mesh shopping tote. Most everyone seemed more interested in drinking, however, or trying to catch some face time with "Fashion Star" judges Nicole Ritchie and John Varvatos who hosted the event. The other name of interest who appeared was androgynous model of the moment, Andrej Pejic who was serving up a lady look for the evening (all pictured below). Pejic has no connection with the show that we know of, and was probably there for the free drinks like everyone else.

It was also a opportunity for H&M to get press folks into the store to see its new Conscious collection of eco-friendly fashion which was being showcased on the main floor amongst the temporary palm fronds. We went wandering around to explore the unlikely possibility that any of the chain's recent Marni collaboration was still hanging around, and upstairs in the men's department, not far from an antipasto bar, we found an abundance of both colors of the collection's hooded lightweight parka as well as the navy coat with knitted sleeves and a few random shirts and trousers. Unfortunately, they were all still at full price ($149 for the coats) but there were enough left to suggest that holding out for the inevitable markdown might be an advisable strategy.

H&M (Official Site)
Fashion Star (Official Site)

Nicole Richie & John VarvatosAndrej Pejic


Why Did Nicole Kidman Wear A Two-Year-Old Dior To The Oscars?

At this point, we all know the Oscars have become more of a fashion event than an awards show, and the red carpet arrivals are far more interesting than the show itself. There are a million people ranking who looked better than whom. We can't begin to enter that fray, and actually, nobody really looked terrible ...except for one person.

What happened to Nicole Kidman? Her white beaded Dior gown was ungainly and awkward looking, especially if you saw it from any angle other than straight on from the front. It was almost unianimously chosen by the innumerable fashion pundits as a major misstep. The strangest part of all: It was two years old! Kidman's dress was look #26 from the Spring 2009 Haute Couture Collection. Cate Blanchett's Givenchy and Michelle Williams' Chanel Couture dresses were both from the latest Spring 2011 collections (Looks #3 and #53 respectively, though Williams' was shown on the runway with an odd satin coat that the actress wisely discarded), and while host Anne Hathaway's white Givenchy was in fact from Fall 2009 Haute Couture (and, yes, it was shon as a wedding gown), she wore so many dresses, including new Tom Ford and Armani Privé, that it seems to matter less in her instance.

Designers and, more importantly, their public relations staffs are usually intensely careful about making sure their dresses are well represented at awards shows like the Oscars. It took only minutes after her performance for an email blast to go out notifying the world that Gwyneth Paltrow's onstage dress was right off the Michael Kors Fall 2011 collection runway. While we can attribute Kidman's (and her stylist's) choice as a matter of taste, we have to wonder why Dior would would have tossed a two-year-old gown to a major nominee often lauded as a fashion icon? It's not like anyone thinks she actually pulled it out of her own closet or anything like that. Especially considering the fact that Kidman herself was instrumental in promoting Dior designer John Galliano's first collection at the Oscars when she famously arrived in a green, chinese-style embroidered, mink-trimmed gown, wouldn't she have earned a bit more deference at this point? The house might not have seen this a blunder, but we can't see how it isn't. And, while they have bigger fish to fry at this very moment, wouldn't they have sent her some new dresses to choose from? Or at least some that looked better?


Dash Draws A Line Of Fans...
Are They Actual Customers?

Dash is the store we have been trying to pretend doesn't exist, but like its owners, the Kardashian sisters, it simply refuses to be ignored.

We had been hearing all sorts of stories about how the three would-be Gabors were planning on opening a branch of their boutique Dash in New York as an obvious pretext for moving their reality show to the city, and we pretty much disregarded them because, basically, The Shophound doesn't really care that much about the Kardashian sisters. But then, last week, the store actually opened with a party that brought the predictable crush of crowds, paparazzi and police called to restore order to the tiny sidewalk of Spring Street. The came the press reports about how the event was so chaotic that even Kanye West was left on the curb. Sounds awesome.

Still, we thought we would be able to ban the place from our consciousness, but please see the above scene which we witnessed early last Saturday afternoon. Yes, it seems that, for the foreseeable future, Dash will be forcing curious shoppers who to form a line to get inside that wraps around the corner of Greene Street...because SoHo isn't crowded enough on weekends. The neighbors must be so pleased.

This would all be less irritating if Dash turned out to be the sort of fantastic store that was actually worth standing in line for, but nobody's exactly been raving about the fantastic merchandise that would bring this shop all the way from the San Fernando Valley to SoHo. It looks like there is no limit to the number of people who will go out of their way for a taste of reality show glamor. We don't think the folks at Scoop are feeling threatened, but then they probably wouldn't mind it if their stores were so full that people had to line up outside. We are pretty sure, however, they like their business to be seen as more than a fancy tourist trap.

Are we being too hard on the ambitious Kardashian sisters? We're pretty sure they can take it. Of course, if the store winds up lasting longer than their reality show, then we might have to reconsider our opinion.