NICOLE RICHIE AND JOHN VARVATOS JOIN NBC'S "FASHION STAR" AS CELEBRITY MENTORS ON THE NEW REALITY COMPETITION SERIES
UNIVERSAL CITY, Calif. - July 7, 2011 - NBC announced today that philanthropist, actress, author and creative director Nicole Richie -- along with admired American menswear designer John Varvatos -- will serve as celebrity mentors on "Fashion Star," the new reality competition series that will search for the next big brand in fashion. They join previously announced celebrity mentor Jessica Simpson and host Elle Macpherson.
The announcements were made today by Paul Telegdy, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming, NBC and Universal Media Studios.
"NBC could not have asked for better additions to the celebrity mentors than John Varvatos, one of the most well-known menswear designers in the nation and international style icon and creative director, Nicole Richie," said Telegdy. "Both are trendsetters and tastemakers and their design skills and expertise will be invaluable to our contestants on the series."
"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 and founder of Electus.
Multi-media studio Electus, an operating business of IAC (Nasdaq: IACI), Emmy Award-winning 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.
Richie soared to fame in the hit series "The Simple Life" and has since appeared in numerous television series such as NBC's "Chuck" and "American Dreams." In keeping with her love for fashion, Richie conceived, launched and acts as creative director for her fast growing, internationally recognized fashion brands. In 2008, Richie unveiled her House of Harlow 1960 jewelry collection, then later branched out into footwear, eyewear, and handbags. In 2010, Winter Kate, a women's ready-to-wear collection debuted to critical and commercial success, with support from top retailers such as Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, and Shopbop.com. In the midst of launching the two collections, Richie also has created a limited edition collaboration with the maternity line, Pea in the Pod.
Detroit native, Varvatos got his start designing collections at Polo Ralph Lauren and Calvin Klein. He launched his own company that represents an entire men's lifestyle brand in 2000. The designer has been recognized three times by the CFDA with an American Fashion Award for New Menswear Designer (June 2000) and Menswear Designer of the Year (June 2001 and June 2005) and was honored as GQ's "Designer of the Year" in 2007.
At an early age John was exposed to defining musicians including The Who, Led Zeppelin, Alice Cooper and The Stooges. The creative spirit, electricity and edginess intrinsic in the personal style of these rock 'n' roll icons inspired Varvatos and influenced the evolution of his eclectic sensibility. This can be seen as a unifying theme in his design and it is deeply ingrained in every expression of his brand, including his famed 315 Bowery boutique in New York City, formerly the seminal underground music club CBGB's, where Varvatos pays tribute to the music heritage of this legendary site. With this unique brand position that unites a rock n' roll sensibility and old world craftsmanship with modern innovation, Varvatos has become one of the most well-known menswear designers in the country.
"Fashion Star" will give 14 unknown designers the chance to win a multi-million dollar prize 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 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 three 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 Macpherson, one of the world's most famous fashion icons.
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 design school graduate who just landed his or her first job at a design house. The contestants will be coming to the competition with their own existing lines and challenged to take their brand to the next level.
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 all three retailers.
"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 Ben Silverman (NBC's "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 (a full-service production company in an overall production and distribution agreement within the Electus studio system), Macpherson, and Johnston & Deutch of Global Fashion Association. Electus/Engine Distribution will retain all international distribution rights.
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About NBC Entertainment:
NBC Entertainment develops and schedules programming for the network's primetime, late-night, and daytime schedules. NBC's quality programs and balanced lineup have earned the network critical acclaim, numerous awards, and ratings success. The network has earned more Emmy Awards than any network in television history.
NBC's roster of popular scripted series includes such critically acclaimed comedies Emmy winners as "The Office" and "30 Rock," starring Alec Baldwin and Tina Fey.
Veteran, award-winning dramas on NBC include the "Law & Order" brand, and "Chuck." Unscripted series for NBC include the hits "The Voice," "The Biggest Loser," "The Celebrity Apprentice," and "America's Got Talent."
NBC's late-night story is highlighted by "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno," "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon," "Last Call with Carson Daly" and "Saturday Night Live." NBC Daytime's "Days of our Lives" consistently finishes among daytime's top programs in the valuable women 18-34 category.
On Saturday mornings, the network broadcasts Qubo on NBC, a three-hour block that features fun, entertaining, and educational programming for kids, including the award-winning, 3-D animated series Veggie Tales.
For more information visit www.nbc.com.
Electus is the first integrated multimedia entertainment studio to unite producers, creators, advertisers and distributors under one roof and produce all forms of content for distribution across a variety of platforms around the world. Headed by Ben Silverman, in partnership with IAC [NASDAQ: IACI], the company connects advertisers, distributors and content creators early on in the development process, enabling marketers and advertisers to be a true partner in campaigns and content creation. For more information on Electus, visit www.electus.com.
About Magical Elves:
Magical Elves is the award-winning production team behind some of the highest quality reality programming on television including "Project Runway" and "Top Chef." The Elves, comprised of Dan Cutforth and Jane Lipsitz have won one primetime Emmy and have been nominated an additional 11 times.
They are the first recipients of a Peabody Award presented to a reality television program ("Project Runway").
Most recently, Magical Elves transitioned to feature films by producing "Justin Bieber: Never Say Never," currently the third highest-grossing documentary of all time.
Other notable television credits include "America's Next Great Restaurant," "Work of Art," "Top Chef Masters," "Top Chef Just Desserts," "The Real L Word," "Project Greenlight," "Last Comic Standing" and "Bands on the Run."
About 5x5 Media:
Five by Five Media ("5x5") is a full service television and film production company in an overall production and distribution agreement within the Electus studio system. 5x5 Media develops and produces both scripted and unscripted television programming and feature films. Our principals have won multiple primetime Emmy Awards, and have produced such titles as "Survivor," "The Amazing Race," "Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution," "Super Nanny," "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition," "Smash Lab," "Monster Garage," "Mythbusters" and "Wired Science."
About Global Fashion Association:
Since launching in 2007, the Global Fashion Association (GFA) has built an international reputation as one of the most capable and connected networks for all things fashion.
From high-profile runway shows around the world to development and production of fashion television programming and international designer exchange programs, GFA provides opportunities for fashion talent to reach a global audience. GFA's principals have created and produced television programming for networks including E!, Bravo, CNBC & MTV.