NBC has been loading up its upcoming fashion design-compeition reality show, "Fashion Star" with an impressive roster of celebrities like host Elle Macpherson and castmates Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and designer John Varvatos. Now, the show has announced an extra element for the judging panel: retail buyers from Saks, Macy's and H&M.
According to a network press release, Caprice Willard of Macy's, Nicole Christie of H&M and Terron E. Schaefer of Saks will actually be vying against one another to score exclusives on the creations that come down the runway during each challenge. Also part of NBC's new format for the show that seems to blend Project Runway with NBC's latest success, "The Voice," the selections that the buyers make on "Fashion Star" will determine what goes on sale online immediately following each episode.
The trio of retailers was picked among various departments at the participating stores -- and in an interesting twist, industry mainstay WWD actually published a report questioning the judges' buying credentials. As it happens, Willard is the only one who currently holds the official title of buyer, while Christie serves as the North America comunications director for H&M and Schaefer's official title is EVP and chief creative officer at Saks. Christie, for her part, spent eight years as a buyer before being promoted, but the appointments were likely made to factor in a more camera-friendly cast.
"Fashion Star" is itself vying for ratings on the fall lineup against a rash of fashion-focused programming, from The Rachel Zoe Show to "All on the Line" with Elle's Joe Zee, and the interactive retail element being spearheaded by Willard, Christie and Schaefer may prove to be a key differentiator. It will be, after all, the only show that lets you shop after you watch.