A freelance stylist, a fashion grad, a visual merchandiser and a military analyst? No, it’s not the first line of some wacky “walked into a bar” joke, it’s the contestants for the new CW series Stylista!
Aspiring to Elle
Eleven self-proclaimed fashionistas will be vying for the position as a Junior Editor at Elle magazine. It’s Ugly Betty meets America’s Next Top Model as the contestants compete in a series of challenges that not only test their editorial talents, but their fashion sensibility and their ability to think on their feet.
At the end of it all, the last assistant standing will walk away with a paid editorial position at Elle magazine, a paid lease on a great apartment in Manhattan, and a clothing allowance at H&M, all for one year, valued at $100,000. The season premiere was last night on The CW and I am totally hooked.
Like most reality competition shows, it’s all about the personalities and these cats started scratching long before they even moved into their new digs.
Reality always has trouble
The biggest troublemaker is Megan. Twenty-two years old from Vail, Colorado, she was handed the money to open her own boutique but now she’s “bored” with it and is looking for something more interesting. She had her claws into Devin, the nineteen-year-old NYU college student the moment she laid eyes on the poor girl.
And then there’s Danielle, she’s ignored by every one of the Gossip Girl-wannabes when she tries to introduce herself. (But don’t worry, she’s got the others eating crow later on when she’s praised for her sense of style on two occasions.)
Time to begin! The contestants are told that they’ll have to begin at the bottom as lowly assistants to the editorial staff. Megan moans over this, complaining that she’s too much of a somebody to make coffee for her boss. So imagine her chagrin when she finds out that their first task is to not only fetch coffee, but a full breakfast for Anne Slowey, Elle’s Fashion Accessories Editor.
Anne, channeled Merle Streep as if her life depended on it, never cracks a smile as she dismisses each contestant for offenses such as mixing melons on a plate! (How dare they!) Ashlie (22, Production Assistant for Calvin Klein Dresses) wins the round, which is ironic since she was lost and confused during most of it. Turns out Anne liked her simplicity – which really amounted to the best she could do with only a few minutes to get it done.
As if that wasn’t enough to break their spirit, Joe Zee, Elle’s Creative Director, lined them up to critique their personal style. Actually, Joe wasn’t as harsh as I thought he might be and his complaints, unlike Anne’s, were rational ones.
William (26, out of work fashion assistant from Boston) took the most heat for his quirky, Clockwork Orange style getup. Kate (22, legal secretary from San Francisco) was called out for too much cleavage and Arnaldo (24, freelance writer from the Bronx) was deemed to be dressing too safe.
How it works
Time for the elimination challenge. Each team will have to choose three, work appropriate, stylish looks which they will model in front of the Elle crew. They also have to design a contributors page (remember this is an editorial job) with photos from their fashion show.
But first it’s the obligatory trip to the communal house. Megan and DyShaun (24, Freelance Stylist from Newark, NJ) form their only little mean girls club while Kate has a total meltdown over the idea that she must cover her boobs from now on.
Insert shopping montage and then it’s back to Elle for the runway show. (And incredibly, even though they were shopping at a trendy store, Danielle had no trouble finding clothes to fit her plus-sized frame.)
Team One, Ashlie, Cologne (22, recent college grad from Newport Beach), Dyshaun and Johanna (28, military analyst from Washington DC) does a nice job with their clothing choices and their page layout.
Team Two, Megan, Arnaldo and Danielle do a good job with their fashion choices but Megan totally screws up a great layout but not following the rules (and incredibly, her teammates don’t throw her under the fashion bus.)
Team Three, William, Devin, Jason (25, fashion designer and model) and Kate gain points for Williams amazing transformation, but lose points for Kate’s choices. She covered up, but in the wrong way and professing her hatred for the new clothes didn’t help. To top that off, their page layout was childish and all over the place.
Tough choice, but the editors chose Team Two as the losers for plainly screwing up the directions. Arnaldo is sent packing mostly because he played it safe yet again in his runway choices. So long pal, we hardly knew you.
My favorite thing about these shows are the themed ways in which people are eliminated. This time it’s “you’re not the right fit. Please pack your desk and go.” Then they’re given a cardboard box with which to carry out all of the pencils and Post-it’s they’re stealing on the way out and into the elevator they go.
Not quite as dramatic as being set adrift on the ocean as they used to do in that pirate show, but it works.
Did you miss the show? Watch it online at www.cwtv.com. Then tune in next Wednesday, after America’s Next Top Model for more Stylista!