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Published:April 27th, 2011 22:03 EST
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Supermodel Elle Macpherson Wants to Know: Are You the Next 'Fashion Star'?

By Paulette Cohn

Do you have what it takes to be the next Fashion Star? That`s what Elle Macpherson wants to know and she`s casting a wide net to reel in not just the next top designer, but the next designer who has what it takes to become a brand.

ellemacpherson_headshot_225Casting calls are being held in New York, Atlanta, and Seattle this week and continue in Chicago, Miami, and Dallas next week to discover 12 unknown designers, who will then be given the chance to win a multi-million dollar contract to launch their line in America`s largest retail stores.
 
Famous designers and buyers from America`s largest retailers will serve as the judges, making on-the-spot decisions as they bid against each other, dipping into their own wallets to purchase the work of these up-and-coming designers. 

Then, at the end of each episode, America will have the chance to immediately purchase the winning designs showcased on the episode that week. 

Now, Macpherson, who is best known for her record six cover appearances on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, talks about how she morphed from supermodel to a brand and why she is excited about this new endeavor.

What makes you the one to host this show?

Elle Macpherson: 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 through marketing and advertising, and through attaching myself to partners that specialize in the areas that I love: for example, lingerie or body products. I also have other relationships like my long-standing relationship with Revlon as Global Spokesperson.

How is to be a host?

Elle Macpherson: 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 America`s Next Top Model. If ever you get a chance to tune in, it`s a really fun program because you see a lot of behind the scenes and on the road stuff.

[This] is a big challenge for me. Hosting a major NBC 10-part series is a huge honor and it`s an unusual next step for me, but I`m really looking forward to it. Hopefully, it`ll be fun, but it`s not really about me, it`s about the wonderful contestants that we`re looking for at the moment that will be a part of this series. 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.

What will this new star have to bring to create an impact, and will there be a continued push to support the star after the show?

Elle Macpherson: That`s really great question. This is what the show is about, actually. You`ve totally understood 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 will be set for these young designers, to uncover [the answers to] the questions you`re asking.

How would you describe this show to somebody that just looks at the title and thinks, "Oh, it`s another Project Runway."

Elle Macpherson: No, it`s not another Project Runway. It`s actually something completely new. We haven`t seen a show like this on American TV, which is so immediate where America 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? This is my specialty. There`s no point just having a good product; it`s how you present that to America.

And I think [Fashion Star] is more well-rounded. It`s going to be sexy, it`s going to be exciting, and there`s going to be many elements from fashion, but also business and branding and advertising and marketing. We`re going to be doing things that we`ve never seen on American television and this type of show.

Out of all the projects you`ve done thus far in your career, what about this project has really fascinated you?

Elle Macpherson: I love this project because the subject matter is something that I`m passionate about, which is building brands through marketing, advertising, and through creative design. That`s what I`ve tried to do for myself with my lingerie brand.

We`ve been in business for 20 years and, you know, 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.

I think it`s going to be exciting for America to watch, and then having the added bonus of being able to immediately buy the products that you like. That it`s very interactive to the public and it`s not kind of a fantasy world; it`s very real. I think the program is going to be quite an education, but also inspiring and very tangible for the American public.