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Bravo developing new 'Runway'-like 'Fashion House' reality series


By Steve Rogers and Christopher Rocchio, 07/21/2008 

If The Weinstein Company was already upset that Bravo copied Project Runway's format to create other non-Weinstein produced shows like Top Chef, Top Design, and Shear Genius, then it's certainly not going to be happy about this.

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In a move the Project Runway rightsholder will likely consider a transparent attempt to prevent allegations that the network is developing a knockoff version of the flagship reality series it's losing to Lifetime, Bravo has announced it is developing an American adaptation of Fashion House, a long-forgotten European reality competition series that featured teams of designers living together and creating entire lines of fashion designs.

Fashion House aired for seven weeks in Fall 2003 -- more than a year before Project Runway debuted on Bravo in December 2004 -- and featured 20 young European designers that were organized into four five-person teams representing the U.K., Italy, Sweden, and France competing against each other at a "fashion house" set within Rome's Costume and Fashion Academy.  

Similar to other reality talent competitions, industry experts and celebrity guests reviewed the contestants designs and shared their feedback with home viewers, who then voted for their favorites via text-messaging, telephone voting and interactive television.

Four designers survived the eliminations and made it to the finale, which featured a full-scale fashion show of the finalists' collections.  The winning designer -- who received an internship with British designer Stella McCartney -- was then determined via the combination of home viewer voting and an "international jury" that attended the fashion show.  Versace also manufactured one of the original outfits from the winner's collection under its Versus label, however additional editions of the show were never produced.

According Bravo, its Fashion House adaptation will follow a format similar to the European original and feature "teams of designers" living together and "replicat[ing] the workings of the fashion business through a fashion house by designing an entire, cohesive line." 

Similar to Project Runway's designs, the collections will be "created on [a] deadline."  However unlike Runway, the designs will be "presented to commercial buyers with the opportunity of having the designers' line mass marketed" -- which would seem to well with Bravo's move to expand into merchandising and find ways to "participate in the [financial] upside" of the post-show success of its reality contestants.

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