Last night, a new season of The Fashion Show aired on Bravo. They've gotten rid of the inexplicably cast Kelly Rowland and replaced her with another black lady — one who actually moves in high-fashion circles — Iman.

How is the show different from Project Runway, you ask? Oh, it's very similar. Except the designers are split into two teams — fashion "houses," and have to create "the ultimate collection."

The casting is as per usual for this kind of thing — the 21-year-old newbie, the 40-something highly experienced looking-for-a-break professional, the straight guy, the men whose hair and makeup regimens are more extensive than mine. Isaac Mizrahi presides over encouragement, Tim Gunn-style. And Iman is She Who Must Be Pleased. Tougher than Nina Garcia, sassier than Heidi Klum, unamused and over it! She is clearly the star.


Is she being fed her lines, or playing a "role" dreamed up by producers? I don't care. This is what high fashion all about! Harsh, haughty, untouchable, gorgeous. Genius casting, really.

Also genius casting: contestant Calvin Tran, the bitchiest bitch who ever bitched. J'accuse!

The good news: If you love fashion TV and miss the old Project Runway, you'll enjoy The Fashion Show. Rachel Roy was a guest judge on the premiere, and a Harper's Bazaar editor is involved with the judging. Upcoming guests include Rachel Zoe, Dita Von Teese, Johnny Weir and the one and only Mary J. Blige. You know, A-listers known for being fashionable! Unlike ProjRun's recent guests.

And now for the bad news:

  • You may have severe deja vu, since this concept has been around so effing long. Does the world really need another contest show about fashion?
  • One designer jokingly insulted another by calling him "fat" and "plus size." Everyone laughed and laughed.
  • One team named themselves The House Of Emerald Syx. See, there are six of them and they're the green team. Get it? Why Y? I don't know. Hopefully not sheer stupidity.
  • When using Iman as a muse for their collections, the contestants used words like "exotic," "wild animal," "jungle" and "tribal." If only I were fucking kidding. Yes, she is from Somalia. But do you know what the city of Addis Ababa Mogadishu looks like? It looks like a city. The winning design was a leopard print dress, but Isaac Mizrahi made sure to point out that it won because it "celebrated her figure" and not because animal print is for black people, who are animals from Africa.

I'd be lying if I said I didn't get sucked into the drama and snottiness, but if I continue to watch, it will be for Iman. As Ginia Bellafante wrote in the New York Times :

…On "The Fashion Show," where [Iman] now appears as judge in chief alongside the co-host Isaac Mizrahi, she has permitted herself to be turned into a reality she-wolf: a denigrator of paltry ambition, an angry and insistent muse.

TV could use more she-wolves.

The Fashion Cop Is On The Beat [NY Times]