Fash­ion life­line

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - TV - By FIONA HO en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

Style guru Joe Zee helps strug­gling de­sign­ers re­fo­cus and build up vi­able busi­nesses in the new re­al­ity fash­ion se­ries.

ALL On The Line (AOTL) is the Kitchen Night­mares of fash­ion. Much like the lat­ter, in which celebrity chef Gor­don Ram­say spends ev­ery week try­ing to re­vive fail­ing restau­rant busi­nesses, AOTL host Joe Zee guides strug­gling de­sign­ers to re­fo­cus their cre­ativ­ity into ca­reer-mak­ing hits.

But ex­pect none of Ram­say’s showy bru­tal­ity from Zee, who is a noted fash­ion guru and the creative di­rec­tor for Elle mag­a­zine. In place of fry­ing (and fly­ing) pans, Kitchen’s fash­ion coun­ter­part fea­tures the im­mac­u­late and ar­tic­u­late Zee in a crisp, fit­ted suit on al­most ev­ery oc­ca­sion.

And un­like Ram­say’s fiery ten­dency to whip up a storm, Zee ra­di­ates fi­nesse and sen­si­bil­ity while at­tempt­ing to add some styling piz­zazz into fash­ion flip-flops.

The comely 42-year-old, who has ap­peared in re­al­ity TV shows like The City and Stylista, takes audi- ences through the in­tri­ca­cies of the fash­ion busi­ness, from the de­sign­ing process to mak­ing smart busi­ness de­ci­sions.

In the pi­lot, he helps a hus­ban­dand-wife team make an im­pres­sion with their flail­ing col­lec­tion in an al­ready sat­u­rated mar­ket.

The New York Times calls Zee “fash­ion’s ap­proach­able am­bas­sador”. In­deed, Zee is known for his af­fa­ble de­meanour. Here, he as­sumes the role of a sup­port­ive men­tor rather than the quin­tes­sen­tial fash­ion slave-driver.

His un­con­ven­tion­ally mild ap­proach stems from his strug­gles in the in­dus­try, he says. “When I first started in­tern­ing in this in­dus­try, I worked with peo­ple that were hor­ri­ble, ab­so­lutely ter­ri­ble,” he tells The New York Times.

“I thought, when I be­come a boss, I’m never go­ing to be that per­son where peo­ple are go­ing to work for me out of fear.

“I’ll roll up my sleeves and pick up a trunk, and I’ll roll it down the hall with my as­sis­tant.”

That said, Zee re­duces an as­pir­ing In­done­sian de­signer to tears when he de­mands that she speak up about her brand de­spite her lim­ited com­mand of the English lan­guage.

Even a more ex­pe­ri­enced de­signer like Kara Janx, who ap­peared on the sec­ond sea­son of Project Run­way, isn’t spared from the brunt of Zee’s bla­tancy when her line faces a mo­ment of cri­sis. Jug­gling the roles of busi­ness con­sul­tant-cum-shrink, he helps Janx re­vamp her stalled col­lec­tions so they may be picked up by de­part­men­tal store buy­ers.

It’s not a drama-free spree, but Zee does get his points across, even if they get in the way of the de­sign­ers’ egos. It’s a feat that the charm­ing host man­ages to pull off by strik­ing a rare, del­i­cate bal­ance be­tween churn­ing con­struc­tive crit­i­cism and em­pathis­ing with his sub­jects while he at­tempts to res­cue their ca­reers.

I par­tic­u­larly like how Zee takes the time and trou­ble to talk to the ev­ery­day man and wo­man in the street, or at the gym to find out about the kind of out­fits they want to wear. Not all of us can pull off that bizarre, barely-there look that run­way mod­els can, af­ter all.

The Hong Kong-born de­signer, who first stepped into the in­dus­try at age 22, also speaks flu­ent sar­casm. “This looks like cock­tail on a bud­get – when you’re on a bud­get, you don’t go for cock­tail,” he says as he ad­dresses a rather shabby-look­ing party dress in one episode.

Most no­tably, AOTL en­cour­ages as­pir­ing de­sign­ers to push the bound­aries of fash­ion and to dare at­tempt greater things. Even for some­one who has never been par­tic­u­larly geared to­wards re­al­ity shows of this na­ture, I’ve not been bored thus far.

Sure enough, AOTL has al­ready been picked up for a sec­ond sea­son in the United States af­ter the sea­son’s fi­nale in May. The sec­ond cy­cle will de­but in Novem­ber.

Af­ter all, what’s not to like about a good un­der­dog story with laugh-

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malaysia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.