Did we like it?
As fashion is the lowest form of culture and fashion designers rank above only property developers and mobile phone entrepreneurs as the most potent magnet for the worthless, we didn’t have high hopes. However, we were mildly entranced as it became a succession of mangy peacocks strutting about, laughably puffing up their scabby feathers.
What was good about it?
• A number of contestants still seem blessed with some goodness left in their souls – which of course makes them wholly inappropriate for the fashion industry. Christine was the nicest of the bunch, even showing that rare quality in fashion (except when someone licks clean the boots of a deified designer) of modesty.
• Of course, such modesty is an anathema to the fashion industry as much as religious tolerance was during the Dark Ages and so she was cast out straight away. As she was driven away from the house to an inevitably happier life, she reflected that she was “out of my depth” and that the remaining contestants were much better than her. This proved once more that fashion and decency mix as well as oil and water.
• Some fantastic music such as Dare by The Gorillaz, Franz Ferdinand’s Take Me Out, Open Up by Leftfield and Daft Punk’s Da Funk.
• The contestants’ mentor Ben De Lisi seems unique among the fashion industry in that he came across as likeable, in his own way. Rarely did he over criticise the contestants for the benefit of the cameras and offered sound, practical advice.
• Kelly Osbourne rebuking the odious Julien MacDonald after he slated the way Grant had styled his model’s hair. “We’re here to judge the outfit not the model,” she snapped. If she did this every week, we’d be hooked.
• The models, while quite skinny, at least look as though they came from a womb rather than being skeletons exhumed from graves with a blanket of skin tossed over them.
What was bad about it?
• The tagline is: “Fashion has no mercy!” Of course it doesn’t; for fashion to have “mercy” it must first understand basic morality, when in reality it has stalled in its evolution at the same time as single-celled amoeba were just getting the hang of hooking up with their pals to create dual-celled creatures.
• Ben being worried that the “judges are brutally honest”. “Brutally honest” is a cowardly synonym for inherently rude, inarticulate people to justify them being sickeningly unpleasant to people and to court other TV companies to hire them as judges for programmes they are utterly ill-suited for.
• For a night on the tiles the contestants were told: “There are 12 outfits – six tuxedoes and six evening dresses!” They may as well have been slung in manacles there and then.
• The first task of the aspiring designers was to dream up a dress for “one of Britain’s most infamous socialites” Tara Palmer-tomkinson, a dress so stunning in its conception and execution that it would snare her a tabloid front page. It doesn’t hold much promise that the subject of the first task – who apparently “attends up to 12 A-list parties a week” – should be someone who you only consider for a TV programme when everyone else in the world is dead.
• We’ve noticed this trend creeping into many shows recently, the practice of stringing out interminably the recaps after ad breaks and the coming-up clips before an ad break. It either suggests that there isn’t enough content to fill up a whole hour or that they think the viewing public have the memory spans of goldfish with dementia. For instance we saw Kelly Osbourne solemnly declare “please leave the cat walk” to the loser at least six times.
• Kelly Osbourne wasn’t as noxiously vile as she usually is – but this was actually the problem. Someone’s removed her brat batteries and left her to rundown into a droning android of creeping dreariness.
• It’s exposed worst when she has to show compassion and sympathy to the contestants as they are whittled down one by one in the hackneyed style of all reality shows, as she flatly tells each of them how they “just made it”. But you know somewhere at the back of her throat there’s someone with a leash tugging hard to restrain her pit bull personality from charging out, teeth ferociously bared.
• The judges are the usual freak show of puerility, vanity and obnoxiousness. Despite looking like Yoda glazed mahogany and ferrying about a busload of frazzled, cocaine-fuelled maggots atop his head, Julien MacDonald has the demeanour of the most evil man this side of Ming the Merciless. As he surveyed the dresses of the designers on the cat walk, his eyes were bleeding uncontrollably with contempt, and as he came to castigate the worst efforts words slithered from his mouth as though newborn vipers from the nest.
• Paula Reed simpers alongside the stunted ogrishness of MacDonald. She’s the style director of Grazia, which sounds impressive until you consider that there are more women’s magazines in the UK than there are women.
• Palmer-tomkinson was the ‘guest’ judge. Presumably only a guest so that she can be extracted from the ‘spotlight’ of her own egotism like a rotten tooth when she outstays her welcome. For the contestants, being lectured on elegance and grace by Palmer-tomkinson was as abasing for them as working class family being patronised by Margaret Thatcher on the values of community.
• When just three contestants remained, they were the two worst and the winner. As Christine and Tymoor had both been vilified by the judges, there was no tension as Wayne was evidently the winner.