Saturday 16 November 2013

Styled to Rock US: Rihanna Goes Stateside!

When the news broke that Rihanna was launching a reality TV show for upcoming designers, I almost wanted to slap myself to make sure I was reading correctly.

I was an avid fan of the Sky One series, featuring the beloved Henry Holland. What I admired most about the show was the feeling of authenticity displayed throughout the storyline of pressured designers struggling to beat the clock and conquer their inner fears.

There's definitely something special about Styled to Rock... it doesn't rely on heavily-scripted dialogue and focuses more on the natural occurrence of events in the design room. My initial reaction to hearing that a US version of Styled to Rock was in production? I thought it was going to be fake, fake and more fake. I don't know about you but in my opinion, US-produced reality shows have never given me a particularly "real" vibe and I know a lot about reality television. Thankfully, I was proved wrong. Yes, the budget for this series definitely seems to be (cough) a lot higher than the UK series, yet the overall structure and feel of the show is almost the same, if not a lot more realistic.

Pharrell Williams, Erin Wasson and Mel Ottenberg are the main panelists. What a genius collaboration. With Pharrell's down-to-Earth personality and compassionate advice, the dynamic between the contestants and panelists is definitely more positive. Mel and Erin believe in tough love. Understandable considering these contestants entered the competition to grasp the cut-throat nature of the industry.

With the prize of $100,000 and a contract to be part of Rihanna's style team at stake, seeing these ordinary people compete to fulfil their dream is heartening. To see raw talent manifest itself into beautiful designs worn by upscale celebrity clients is 100% worth watching.

One of my favourites is Sergio. A contestant who was actually entered late in the competition but proved his unbeatable skill by winning two challenges in a row. In the latest episode, his design for Miley Cyrus was absolutely gorgeous. The combination of a floaty, white blouse compared with a rough, biker-chic patent leather skirt fit the brief incredibly well. You could see where Hollywood met downtown club.

Another talented favourite of mine is Autumn. Her motif whilst designing is her unconventional use of zippers. I wish I could have included images of her work but surprisingly, they don't seem to be posted anywhere! She hasn't won a challenge yet but her vision is so inspiring to me. The way she takes a minor detail such as a zip and uses it to replace hemlines or normal forms of stitching creates a beautiful aesthetic.

Styled to Rock US airs on Bravo TV at 8/7c on Fridays. If you're not in the US, I'd suggest watching the episodes on

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