| Fashion |

Fashion Star: Do the Clothes Really Show Up the Very Next Day?

Luciana Scarabello's small collection at Saks.

Our very own Christina Uticone didn't hold back on her critique of NBC's new style show, Fashion Star. We have to agree; the fledgling show leaves a lot to be desired. Despite its weaknesses, however, we still wanted to see if it held true to its advertised clincher, that is, whether the clothes modeled the night before actually arrive instantly online at the end of the show and in stores the very next day.

In the latest episode, the ten remaining contestants were put into groups of twos and threes and told to re-create a store window that fused their respective designs into a cohesive statement. The result was half and half; five designers sold to store chains H&M, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's, five didn't and Edmond Newton, whose hastily assembled Oxford shirts made a last-minute stumble into the world of men's fashion dominated by fellow contestant Nzimiro Oputa, was sent home. As soon as the show was over, we checked each store's Web site for the winning designs, and, as promised, they were there, ready for sale. But we wanted more. We had to see the clothes in person.

The next morning, we began our Fashion Star scavenger hunt at the unapologetically expensive Saks Fifth Avenue. Sure enough, we found Luciana Scarabello's mid-length dresses in shades of plum and black hanging on the high-priced racks.

However, the clothes were not where -- or what -- we thought they would be. Instead of a massive display in the front of the store, the Fashion Star pieces -- of which there were few -- were set up on a sad little rack behind the better-known Nanette Lepore and Marc Jacobs frocks. And compared to the way they looked on the catwalk (Models sure can spruce up an outfit, can't they?), the dresses looked pretty drab up close, especially when compared to Lepore's rainbow-inspired summertime blazers and dresses. For a $100,000 winning bid, it was rather disappointing.

If the pieces were hidden at Saks, they were nonexistent at Macy's, the store that bought Ronnie Escalante's sheath dresses for $110,000 and Ross Bennett's double-button vests for $50,000. Perhaps we shouldn't have chosen the downtown location for our search, because we learned from store associates that their Fashion Star choices could only be found at Macy's stores in malls, like the Memorial City Mall or the Galleria.

No worries. We circled back to the Galleria location and finally found what we were looking for. Escalante's backless and sleeveless red dresses were minimalist and fun, turning what would otherwise be boring into the perfect spring/summer look. The flowery prints on Bennett's vests were great for the fashionista who wants to play around with a masculine look without compromising her girly side.

Unfortunately, Houston doesn't yet have an H&M store, so we missed out on Nikki Poulos's maxi prints and Sarah Parrott's reversible blazers. Hopefully the show will still be around when a new H&M store opens in Baybrook Mall this spring, with a second location planned to open in Willowbrook Mall later this year. We'll be first in line.

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