Tyra Banks is still riding her successful reality wave, breaking out this week with Stylista, a show brimming with The Devil Wears Prada-appeal. I personally feel like America's Next Top Model is getting a little… ripe. I don’t know, is it just me? Not that I don't love it, because I do. Regardless, the infinite ANTM cycle has run its course for me, so I'm happy to dive another into another more fresh (fierce?) Tyra endeavor. Let's get to it.
The show's opening starts off stating the obvious: "To work at a fashion magazine, you have to define style." Tyra and Co., along with Anne Slowey (Elle's fashion news director) are giving 11 aspiring trendsetters the chance to compete for a paid editorial position at Elle. These contestants may start with seemingly "menial" tasks, but by the end of the show we will know if they can ultimately create pages worthy of Elle.
We first get a good look at the contestants as they get ready for their first day on the show; it is a seemingly diverse group of young, hip contestants. The show definitely emphasizes the diversity factor, and by that I mean their variety of employment backgrounds, although all the participants are all probably what one would deem a "young professional." One of them is a… military analyst? A show where military analysts and models mingle. Impressive!
Next, the contestants meet each other for the first time and there are the usual, awkward introductions where the competition is sized up. It appears at first as though no one is eager to meet Danielle, perhaps the Ugly Betty-esque character of the show who "doesn’t look like everyone else…", meaning she is a plus-sized young woman. Next we meet a 19-year-old NYU student originally from Ohio, Devin, and Megan, 22, a boutique owner who was given a large sum of money enabling her to already own her own business, but who eventually got "bored" with the venture. Next is Arnaldo, a poet who has a Colombia degree and isn't afraid to say it, and Kate, a buxom brunette (emphasis on the buxom) who is constantly ridiculed by Megan and her instant BFF, DyShaun ("Free-lance stylist") for her curves. Brett Ramey and Malina Joseph crash the party with the contestants' first task at hand.
It's time to start "at the bottom" with the group's first "assistant task." And they weren’t joking. The participants must prepare Anne Slowey's breakfast. That means coffee and… something else to be picked out by them. Each person receives an envelope with the address of a deli six blocks away and 40 minutes to get a mini-spread together. Cue Anne Slowey's anticipated, official entrance. And… she looks fabulous. The music gets somber as Elle's Fashion News Director struts in donning a sharp tan ensemble with a fantastic chunky, oversized black patent necklace. Nice.
We find out Anne "[doesn't] do almonds" amongst many, many, many other things, as she proceeds to critique all of the breakfast choices. But that's not all — clothing choices too are up for critique, but that mostly means panning William's over-the-top pink and black look and complimenting Danielle's black-framed glasses. Anne ultimately chooses Ashlie as the winner of the breakfast challenge for her "minimalist" approach. Um, it's breakfast. Regardless, it's time to move on, and Anne tells everyone what they are looking for in an editor at Elle--obviously that means someone with personal style. So Anne sends everyone to Joe Zee, Elle's Creative Director, to teach them some "Fashion 101." Joe discusses the importance of first impressions, comprehending trends, and the importance of a versatile look. Jason gets props for his all-black look, but Joe isn't digging the scarf, Arnaldo is deemed a bit boring, and Meghan's very now Chanel is definitely fab, but still "might not be the right choice" for her. Predictably, Kate's bountiful bosom (although I admit I like the dress) is called out by Zee as being a bit too much, and William, the resident eccentric Brit needs to be careful about being a bit too "costume." Danielle, however, has it together in a jewel-toned blue cropped jacket.
Next, Brett Ramey gives the editorial challenge, which entails a shopping spree at H&M. As if shopping at H&M weren't overwhelming enough without time limits. The group is divided into teams and told to find an affordable, fabulous ensemble for themselves, but they will still be working in teams. Ashley gets to choose the teams as the winner of the assistant challenge, so it looks like it's going to be her, Cologne, Johanna, DyShaun; Arnaldo, Danielle, Megan; and Katie, Devon, William, Jason. William is less than pleased to be on what he deems the "fashion reject" team.
The time has come to drool over the contestants' plush digs. We see the New York penthouse for the first time, and boy is it big. And in New York. Incredible. Megan and DyShaun continue to take pleasure in ridiculing Kate, but mostly just her chest, referring to her now solely as 'Boobs," while Johanna takes a more proactive approach and actually tries to help Kate pick out an outfit that doesn't highlight that area. Kate seems to be genuinely upset by their reactions to how she dresses. So this is when I must ask, 1.Why does she care? She's crying about what people think of her… people she's known for a number of hours; and 2.Was there really that much chest showing? I find it a bit weird for two aspiring fashion industry editors to be offended by… cleavage? Come on.
Now onto H&M Fifth Avenue/flagship store where the group has to find and create three looks appropriate for the office to be shown at mini fashion show (and for which they will model their looks). Kate continues to have issues with "changing herself" by not wearing revealing clothes.
Then a second part of the editorial challenge is revealed: select a picture from the fashion show to appear in a spread that highlights the individual style of each team member. For the fashion show Team 1 with Ashlie is looking pretty good, I really like the color selection, and the use of black; Danielle and Team 2 are okay, I like the suspenders, and I can never say no to leggings; but Team 3 is a bit too J.Crew meets Donna Reid, and it's obvious that Kate doesn't like her outfit. Who do you think?
As the teams choose their photos, there is some confusion on Team 3 regarding the number of words allowed, and Arnoldo convinces his team that it's 30 per page, not per person. Joe Zee is back as a judge along with Anne Slowey of course, and the guest judge of the week, another esteemed Elle Editor. Team 1 gets reprimanded a bit for trying to coordinate too many elements (am I the only one bothered by a necklace on a turtle neck…no matter what?)…and…sandals. That's right, sandals at work. Anne's definitely right on this one. For Team 2, the judges love the professional layout, and Megan's outfit is a hit, but Arnaldo's preppy sweater shirt is boring, and Danielle chose the wrong photo. But their biggest fault: getting the rules wrong. It was 30 words per person, not group. Ouch. Move Arnaldo to the hot seat. And Team 3's hideous yellow back ground and year book-esque aesthetic is pretty awful. I guess that would make Kate head cheerleader!
William is praised for his impressive turn-around from the last challenge thanks to his all-black ensemble, but Kate's look, while not "vulgar" still shows her displeasure, and she and Arnoldo find themselves in the two bottom spots. Kate rushes to blame others to save herself, but in the end it's Arnoldo who gets told he's "not the right fit" (I'm loving the new rejection phrase du jour!) for playing it safe and…being downright boring.
I feel like the judging and elimination deliberation time was next to zilch on this show. Or was it? Hopefully that will change, or maybe the yearbook spread was so horrific it made the choice painfully easy. What do you think, did the judges spend enough time deliberating and explaining their choices? Maybe I’m too used to Project Runway. But I can't help but make the comparison. Can Stylista mirror PR's success? It definitely seems determined to try. Share your thoughts!
is still riding her successful reality wave, breaking out this week with Stylista
, a show brimming with The Devil Wears Prada
-appeal. I personally feel like America's Next Top Model
is getting a little… ripe
. I don’t know, is it just me? Not that I don't love it, because I do. Regardless, the infinite ANTM
cycle has run its course for me, so I'm happy to dive another into another more fresh (fierce?) Tyra
endeavor. Let's get to it ...