Exclusive: ‘Fashion Star’ Jessica Simpson Talks Mentoring, Maternity Line & More
TV Powerhouse Ben Silverman is the brains and brawn behind new clothing brand show ‘Fashion Star’ starring singer turned retail mogul Jessica Simpson as a clothing designer “mentor.”
The gorgeous and tall Elle Macpherson hosts and executive produces, and bad girl turned good mom Nicole Richie and designer John Varvatos join Simpson as celebrity mentors.
The series will give 14 unknown designers the chance to win the multi-million dollar prize of launching their collection in three of the country’s major retailers: Macy’s, H&M and Saks Fifth Ave.
Premiering Tuesday March 13, with a special 90 minute episode from 9:30-11p, and returning to its regular 10p hour time slot, Ben and Jessica spoke to the media via phone.
How is this different from Project Runway?
Said Ben: “You know, it’s really so unique, so distinct and like no show that’s ever been on the air before in this immediate accessible ability to not only buy the fashion, but the fashions are being designed with a consumer in mind, not just in a vacuum. We are absolutely trying to build and create a real Fashion Icon and one that will have impact in the stores immediately and on people who will be wearing those clothes.
And so that connection between consumer and audience and designer is so profound and is really unique and part of the broad accessibility of this show that makes it a lot more of a kind of broadcast prime-time vehicle. And the devices within the show, there’s actual game play. These retailers are competing in a kind of game show environment to bid against each other to buy these fashions in real-time. So this show is like no other show you’ve ever seen and certainly nothing like Project Runway.”
How did Jessica get involved in this show and does she truly have a passion for fashion?
Said the mom to be; “Ben actually approached me to do this project and apparently I was on their radar because of being involved with, you know, with fashion and developing the Jessica Simpson Collection from ground up and now it’s got amazing legs to run on and I’ve had such a great time just diving in and seeing what I can do and what I can make of it.
And I really have created more and more of a passion for fashion over the years just being involved with the business and all of the small details and, you know, all of the blood, sweat and tears that go into making a shoe. There’s so much that goes into each item of clothing and so many people that are involved and it’s great to see that unfold and have a successful business.
So I think that me teaming up with this show was a perfect fit. I couldn’t turn it down because I felt like it was great for my collection, but it was also important for me to talk to these up and coming designers and mentor them and kind of show them the ropes and really try and lead them, you know, in the right direction.”
Any musical performances from Jessica during the fashion show?
“No I’m not performing, but I do get to have my very first Jessica Simpson Collection runway show, so that is a huge dream come true and that is the finale, that was part of the finale, so that was a big moment for me and definitely you’ll see me very overjoyed.
I guess instead of singing, we’ll have to settle for seeing Jessica overjoyed.
Lastly said Ben, “But by the way, there were many moments I was thinking, “Why don’t we have Jess sing?” That’s what I say as a producer. But her show that gets put on showing her own fashion and stuff, I think, the impact of that is really big because you realize, you know, how much she’s already done and how many retail outlets she’s selling in and also how diverse a collection Jessica’s already created.”
Can we expect a future maternity line?
“Yes, I’m definitely – I definitely want to do a line of maternity clothes eventually. I mean I’ve started to try and come up with some designs and stuff and I haven’t really loved anything that – I was going to launch a maternity line, but I haven’t – it seems like everything that’s being made is what’s already out there and I really – the point of launching a maternity line, for me, was to do something different, like I’m not buying any maternity clothes. I’m wearing all clothes that, you know, just in bigger sizes, so I really want to make a maternity line that’s comfortable, but really stylish for people because I believe that we all deserve to feel good and look good.
So it’s a little bit harder because people don’t want to spend a lot of money on maternity clothes because you’re only pregnant, you know, for almost 10 months. It’s a harder business, but I feel like it’s something that we will do eventually.”
What’s a hot shoe right now according to Jessica?
“A nude wedge with the fluorescent orange on the bottom and around the ankle and you can wear them with any color.” And where can we get them? “Jessica Simpson Collection.” Of course. Nice girl Jessica was a sweetheart on the phone. She must know something, her fashion brand has become a mega empire. Go to Macy’s and buy some of her shoes.