NBC announced today that musician, entertainer and fashion designer Jessica Simpson will serve as a celebrity mentor on "Fashion Star," the new reality competition series that will search for the next big brand in fashion with host Elle Macpherson, world-famous super-model icon, actress and businesswoman.
The announcement was made today by Paul Telegdy, executive vice president of alternative programming for NBC and Universal Media Studios.
"NBC is delighted to work with singer, designer, actress and pop culture icon Jessica Simpson," said Telegdy. "With an almost billion dollar lifestyle brand under her belt, she is sure to be an excellent mentor to our up-and-coming designers."
"Jessica Simpson has built an incredible fashion business and is a perfect mentor to our aspiring designers," said Ben Silverman, CEO and founder of Electus. "She will complement the buyers, Elle Macpherson and amazing format."
Multi-media studio Electus, an operating business of IAC (Nasdaq: IACI), 5X5 Media and The Magical Elves (Emmy Award winners for "Top Chef" and the original producers of "Project Runway") are the producers of "Fashion Star." The series is designed not only to groom and discover America's next popular brand, but, through an exciting new format twist, it will allow viewers at home to buy the winning designs each week. The show will target real-time consumer feedback and interactivity and will span all categories of fashion from suits and dresses to lingerie, denim, bathing suits, accessories and more.
Simpson has taken the music, entertainment and fashion industries by storm. She has seven Billboard Top 40 hits and has starred in such feature films as "The Dukes of Hazzard," "Employee of the Month" and "Blonde Ambition." Simpson has also starred in the iconic hit reality series "Newlyweds" for MTV and her own VH1 docu-series, "The Price of Beauty." She has guest-starred in such series as "Entourage" and "That '70s Show." In addition, Simpson has created a fashion empire with her Jessica Simpson Collection. The eponymous line boasts 22 product categories including shoes, handbags, jewelry, sunglasses and perfume.
The series will give 14 unknown designers the chance to win a multi-million dollar contract to launch their lines in three of America's largest retailers. Each week, the show will kick off with an exhilarating fashion show unlike anything seen before, and featuring musical performances, dancers, and models in front of a live studio audience. Every fashion show will be built around a weekly challenge that is designed to further develop and expand the designer's brand.
Buyers from each of the retailers will serve as the judges, making on-the-spot decisions as they bid against each other, dipping into their own wallets to purchase the work of these up-and-coming designers each week. These items will shape the future of their respective stores and create the next big trends for consumers. At the end of each episode, America will have the chance to immediately purchase the winning designs showcased on the episode that week. What viewers see on TV that night will be on the streets and in stores the very next day. With just a single trip down the runway, "Fashion Star" will change the lives and fortunes of these aspiring designers forever.
The show is hosted and executive-produced by one of the world's most famous fashion icons, Macpherson. She best embodies the role of what it means to be a smart, savvy and creative business woman as she is also the founder of a series of internationally successful, U.K.-based business ventures including Elle Macpherson Intimates, a lingerie line celebrating its 20th year, and "The Body," a line of skin care products. The Australian-born Macpherson became one of the world's top fashion models and was named as one of People magazine's "Most Beautiful People."
Fashion designers featured on the show will include everyone from the stay-at-home mom who makes her own clothes to sell at the local flea market, to the recent Parsons School of Design graduate who just landed his or her first job at Marc Jacobs. All the contestants will be put to the test to see how they react in a variety of real-world scenarios to determine who has the vision and desire to build a fashion empire and achieve their dream. With top experts as their guides and mentors throughout the process, designers will have to be as adept in the business of fashion as they are in their creativity as it's up to them to make their brand a national reality.
In the end, one designer will successfully combine fashion and business to become the next "Fashion Star" and will receive the prize of a lifetime -- an exclusive capsule line in each of the three largest retailers in the country.
"Fashion Star" is created by E.J. Johnston and James Deutch of the Global Fashion Association, Rick Ringbakk of Emmy Award-winning 5x5 Media ("Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution") and Silverman ("The Biggest Loser," "The Office," "The Tudors").
The show is executive-produced by Silverman of Electus, Jane Lipsitz & Dan Cutforth of The Magical Elves, Ringbakk of 5x5 Media, Macpherson, and Johnston & Deutch of Global Fashion Association. Electus/Engine Distribution will retain all international distribution rights.