What do you do when you have a face and body like that of International fashion icon, model and businesswoman, Elle Macpherson? Stay in front of the camera.
Among her many jobs, projects, philanthropic commitments, and motherly duties, Elle signed on as a host on NBC’s new alternative series Fashion Star, which will be searching to discover America’s next big brand in fashion.
In a recent interview, Elle Macpherson shared with Daedrian McNaughton her personal style, what works for a woman over 40, and why Fashion Star is nothing like Project Runway.
Casting calls will be held in New York, Atlanta, and Seattle this week and continue in Chicago, Miami, and Dallas next week. For more information, visit www.KASSTINGINC.COM.
Why this show, why now?
Elle Macpherson: I love this project because it is really – the subject matter is something that I’m passioned by, which is building brands through marketing, advertising, and through creative design. And that’s what I’ve tried to do for myself with my lingerie brand. We’ve been in business for 20 years and we made a difference in the type of design we started creating together, bringing it into markets where lingerie wasn’t particularly prevalent, in the U.K. market particularly. And in the American market, when we started doing lingerie it was a very utilitarian-type of just bras and knickers that you need to have, not fashion statements as we’re doing now. We did it through creative advertising, through creative marketing. We tapped into a market trend before it was really obvious, and so we were able to get great position in department stores. So this is partly my own journey and it’s just so wonderful to have this project that kind of isolates this part of the business that people don’t really see. And I think it’s going to be exciting for America to watch, and then having the added bonus of being able to buy immediately the products that you like. And so that it’s very interactive to the public and it’s not kind of fantasy world, it’s very real. And I think program is going to be quite education, but also inspiring and very tangible for the American public.
Can you define your role?
Elle Macpherson: I would say I’m hosting and mentoring, is probably..the better position. Our judges will be major retailers. We can’t say who they are at the moment, but if you think of the major American retailers we’ll have representatives of those department stores.
Is your job on the Fashion Star similar to that of Tim Gunn on Project Runway?
Elle Macpherson: Completely different program and completely different take on our program, so I think you’ll have to just tune in and check it out, and then you make your comparisons.
You said this show is not another Project Runway, do you feel the public will see it otherwise?
Elle Macpherson: It’s not another Project Runway. It’s something completely new. We haven’t seen a show like this on American TV, which is so immediate where Americans will be able to buy the designs that they see straightway. But it’s not only about design, it’s about brand and marketing and business, and that’s what’s exciting for me. It’s how do you present these brands to America? What does a billboard look like? What does your logo look like? How is your advertising campaign? How do you touch the heart of America with a product that you think is really good? So this is my specialty. There’s no point just having a good product, it’s how you present that to America. And I think that it’s much more – it’s more well-rounded, it’s going to be sexy, it’s going to be exciting, there’s going to be many elements from the fashion element, but also business and branding and advertising and marketing and is very visual, and I think it’s just going to be incredibly exciting. We’re going to be doing things that we’ve never seen on American television and this type of show.
Brands like Juicy, among others have become interactive with extremely popular with creative marketing and fashion that appeal to the masses. What will this new star have to bring to create such an impact, and will there be a continued push to support the star after the show?
Elle Macpherson: Well, I mean that’s really great question. This is what the show is about, actually. You’ve totally understood, you know, where the challenges will be for the contestants, and it will be actually discovering what it takes to be a brand, what it takes in marketing and advertising to be a brand, what it takes in design to be a brand, and what vision it takes to be a brand in this American market. So this is what the show is going to be about, all the challenges that you will see be set for these young designers, will be – this – the challenges that will uncover, you know, the questions you’re asking.
Paul Telegdy, Executive Vice President, Alternative Programming of NBC praised your fashion sense and style, what makes you the one to host this show?
Elle Macpherson: Well, it’s a really exciting project for me because I’m fascinated by brand building. In fact in 30 years of being in the fashion industry what I have sought to do myself is to build a brand and – through marketing and advertising, and through attaching myself with – to partners that specialize in the areas that I love. For example, lingerie or body products, to name a few, or you know I have other relationships like my long-standing relationship with Revlon as Global Spokesperson. But, my experience is in brand building and in business, and that’s what excites me, so I’m very pleased that NBC has chosen me to be Host and Executive Producer’s project. It’s exciting for me, I’m really motivated, and I’m excited to see some of the great new designers and brands that America has to offer. And that’s why we’re doing the casting at the moment to find our four contestants.
What do you look for when you are selecting clothing items for an event, etc.?
Elle Macpherson: Well, it depends what I’m looking for. If I’m looking for a red carpet or if I’m looking for something that’s going to be hosting a TV show, or I’m looking for something that’s going to pick my kids up from school. I have different (tastes) for different things. And what makes this show really interesting is that the kind of designers and kind of contestants we’re casting for at the moment, the people that are making very accessible products from lingerie to swimwear to denim products that are very accessible America. We’re not looking for somebody to kind of create a couture dress for the red – for the Oscars; although, they may be a contestant as well. But really, what we’re looking for is somebody who is great product, easily accessible, and something that relates to most of America. And in this vein for me, I like well-made products that are quite classic, but have a bit of a twist on it, eclectic – eclectic mix of things from the 70’s style to, you know, rock-and-roll. It just depends on what mood I’m in.
Any plans of having your sons follow in your footsteps?
Elle Macpherson: Well, I don’t have dreams for them actually. They have their own dreams and I encourage them and support them and nurture them into finding what other types of things that they’re interested in. You know right now, I have a 13-year old and a 9-year old and one of them wants to be a pilot and the other one wants to be an actor, so – and they’re both incredibly good at math and they’re father’s in finance, so who knows. But for me the most important thing is that I encourage them in their individual talents, and that I try to give them the most well-rounded education and try not to impose my dreams on their life.
What would you recommend for women over 40 in terms of wardrobe choices?
Elle Macpherson: Oh, gosh. Hmm, I think a big smile is about as good as it gets. No matter what you wear, as long as you’re smiling it works. It changes everything.
What is your favorite wardrobe piece or pieces?
Elle Macpherson: Listen, I have the biggest collection of jeans you could probably ask for. You know whether they’re skinny jeans, boyfriend jeans, flare jeans, jeans that I wear with heels, jeans that I wear with motorcycle boots, jeans that I wear with ballet shoes. I mean, it’s – I’m a jeans girl, as opposed to a dress girl or a – or any kind of tailored suits or anything like that. And then, I have tops – t-shirts from – or blouses or shirts or whatever’s kind of happening at the time. I mean, I do think jeans and heels always work. I do think jeans and flats always work.
How do you maintain your good looks?
Elle Macpherson: I don’t feel like that sometimes, particularly when I put my glasses on and I get a close up sort of glimpse of everything that’s going on. It’s quite nice being actually older and not being able to see as well because it all kind of looks okay from a distance. But I have to say, and to encourage women, as to the – my generation, is that I’ve matured I’ve understood what works for me. I’m not so experimental in having to define myself through my clothes or through my makeup or through my hairstyle. I kind of keep it really simple. I know what works. Fortunately in my business I have really access to great hair and makeup and lighting people and makeup, and photographers, so that really helps me as well. But, in my day-to-day life it’s sort of like – it’s – I don’t stress about it anymore. I just – I know what works, I keep to what works, I have a sense of humor when I want to try something new, I allow myself that freedom from time-to-time because sometimes it really works for me. Often it doesn’t, and believe you me, I know about. But it’s keep it light, keep it bright, keep it real, and be at peace, you know? And that’s something that comes with age, I think, wisdom, age, time, and lack of time because being a busy, you know, mother of two boys I just really don’t have the time to fret about the exteriors. I’m much more interested in working on what’s going on in the inside.
Are you looking forward to hosting another show?
Elle Macpherson: Well, I’ve had a really wonderful year because I’ve been producing and hosting Britain’s Next Top Model and we have a very different spin to the Americas Next Top Model. And if ever you get a chance to tune in on it it’s a very – it’s a really fun program because you see a lot of behind the scenes and sort of on the road stuff. I – you know, it’s a big challenge for me. America hosting a – in major NBC ten part series is a huge honor and it’s an unusual kind of next step for me, but I’m really looking for to it. Hopefully it’ll be fun, but it’s not really – will not really be about me, it is – it’s about the wonderful contestants that we’re looking for at the moment that will be a part of this series. With watching their journey and watching them grow, watching them blossom, and going on that voyage with them. That’s what I’m looking forward to more than anything else.
Tuesday April 26
The Art Institute Of New York – The Gallery Room
11 Beach Street
New York, N.Y. 10013
4 p.m.-7 p.m.
Tuesday, April 26
The Art Institute of Atlanta-Decatur- The Gallery Room One West Court Square, Suite 110 Decatur, Ga. 30030
1 p.m.- 4 p.m.
Wednesday April 27
The Art Institute of Seattle / School of Fashion Room 509 2600 Alaskan Way Seattle, Wash. 98121
1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Monday May 2
The Illinois Institute of Art
350 N. Orleans Street
Chicago, Ill. 60654
5 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Monday May 2
Miami Art Institute- International University of Art & Design
1501 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, Fla. 33132
1 p.m. – 4 p.m.
Monday May 2
The World Trade Center – Wade College
2050 Stemmons Freeway Suite 158
Dallas, Texas 75342
1 p.m. – 4 p.m.