"Fashion Star" Episode 9 Report: Three Contestants Get the Ax and the Stella McCartney Copycat

"Fashion Star" Episode 9 Report: Three Contestants Get the Ax and the Stella McCartney Copycat
From left: Orly Shani, Ronnie Escalante, Luciana Scarabello, Nikki Poulos, Nzimiro Oputa and Kara Laricks
(Tyler Golden/NBC)

Six designers were left in the second-to-last episode of NBC’s “Fashion Star” and this time, half got the ax — regardless of whether or not they made any sales. The challenge this week was buyers’ choice, and the buyers stepped into the studios to give the remaining contestants their input on what pieces would make their collections shine.

The first pair to go up was Kara Laricks and Nzimiro Oputa. At the advice of the buyers, Laricks went in the opposite direction of her menswear aesthetic, going for a sexier look with a breezy dress and a trench coat. Oputa gave in to the buyers’ suggestion as well, reluctantly making the safari jacket they wanted, along with a pair of travel pants. Laricks finally expanded outside of Saks Fifth Avenue, selling the dress to H&M for $60,000 and the trench to Macy’s for $60,000. Oputa failed to sell either item, even though both were nicely designed. He did, however, get a consolation prize — “You made it very clear that you’ve got what it takes to design a full collection,” Macy’s buyer Caprice Willard told him.

Next up were the two pretty princesses of the group, Luciana Scarabello and Orly Shani. Scarabello decided on a wrap skirt and a cropped jacket and shorts combo. “Would I wear it?” Scarabello asked herself as she modeled her jacket in the mirror. “Yes I would!” Shani was rather annoyed at Scarabello for bringing the jacket back. “You’re recycling designs you did a couple of weeks ago,” she said to the camera. “What the f*ck are you doing?” Scarabello’s choices didn’t impress the buyers either – she did not receive any offers on her pieces.

Shani, whose two-fer turned into a no-no and who has been inconsistent in her designs so far, created a fitted backless dress with panels on the sides that gave an optical illusion of a more flattering figure. We’ve seen this dress before on Kate Winslet, who last year donned a white Stella McCartney version at the “Mildred Pierce” screening at the Venice Film Festival and a red one at the Paris premiere of “Carnage.” A similar Calvin Klein dress was also available last fall at Macy’s. Can we call you a hypocrite, Shani? At least Scarabello didn’t recycle somebody else’s design. That didn’t bother Saks’s Teron Schafer, though. He bought Shani’s piece for $60,000, following a thoughtful pause after Macy’s and H&M declined. Her other ensemble, pants and a blazer with a lace back, was well-made, and H&M took it for $100,000.

The final twosome, Ronnie Escalante and Nicky Poulis, also took a departure from their usual styles. Escalante created an edgy suit with double lapels and wide-legged pants, and a short, sleeveless menswear-inspired dress. Mentor Jessica Simpson loved both. “You are one classy dude,” she told Escalante. H&M and Saks went head to head for the dress, and H&M won with a $110,000 offer. The suit went to Macy’s for $50,000.

Poulis created sailor suit pants against Simpson’s advice, and a blouse for her first look. The second was a one-shoulder diagonal striped dress. No offers were made on the pants (she should have listened to Simpson) and Saks bought the dress.

At the end of the show, the mentors saluted the group and the contestants broke down in tears before the eliminations. Talk about an emotional bunch! Escalante, Oputa, and Laricks (our faves!) made it to the final episode. We’re not sure if the retailers produced a higher quantity of goods or if viewers are suffering from “Fashion Star” fatigue, but all items are still available online, so go get them now!



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