Nicole Richie, John Varvatos joining NBC's 'Fashion Star' as mentors
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 07/07/2011
Jessica Simpson will be getting some celebrity company on Fashion Star.
NBC has announced former reality star Nicole Richie and fashion designer John Varvatos will join Simpson and serve as mentors to the fashion designers competing on Fashion Star, NBC's new Project Runway-like reality competition series that will attempt to discover a designer who can become America's next popular brand.
"Both [Richie and Varvatos] are trendsetters and tastemakers and their design skills and expertise will be invaluable to our contestants on the series," NBC reality chief Paul Telegdy said in a statement.
Richie got her reality start appearing alongside Paris Hilton on five seasons of The Simple Life and has branched out into acting and designing in recent years by launching her own jewelry collection, footwear, eyewear, and handbags.
Varvatos began his career designing collections at Polo Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein and launched his own men's lifestyle brand company in 2000.
"Jessica, Nicole, John and Elle make the most exciting team we have ever worked with on a reality television show and we are thrilled to feature such an extraordinary group of mentors and designers," said Ben Silverman, executive producer of Fashion Star and CEO of Electus, one of the show's production companies.
Hosted by former supermodel Elle Macpherson and produced by former Project Runway producers Jane Lipsitz and Dan Cutforth, Fashion Star will feature 14 unknown designers competing in a series of weekly fashion and business challenges that will end with one of them being crowned the next "Fashion Star" and winning a multi-million dollar contract to launch their own line in three of America's largest retail stores.
Unlike Project Runway, which focuses on high-end women's fashion, Fashion Star will target a variety of casual fashion including dresses, suits, lingerie, denim, bathing suits, shoes, and accessories. Home viewers will also have the ability to purchase each week's winning designs both online and in stores the day after each episode airs.
Famous designers and buyers from American retailers will serve as judges for the competition, which will also provide the contestants with fashion industry experts to guide and mentor them.
Fashion Star is being produced by Lipstiz and Cutforth's Magical Elves production company and Electus, and was created by Silverman, Rick Ringbakk of 5x5 Media, and E.J. Johnston and James Deutch of the Global Fashion Association.
Lipsitz, Cutforth, Silverman, and Macpherson -- who currently serves as the host of Britain's Next Top Model -- are executive producing Fashion Star along with Ringbakk, Johnston and Deutch.
Lipsitz and Cutforth opted to leave Project Runway when The Weinstein Company, Runway's owners, struck a deal to move the show from Bravo to Lifetime in 2008. Instead, they signed an exclusive first look development deal with NBCUniversal, the parent company of both NBC and Bravo.