The most interesting twist to the show is the retail stars that bid on designs during each episode. They include Caprice Willard of Macy's, Terron E. Schaefer of Saks Fifth Avenue and Erika DeSalvatore of Express. Louise Roe, Glamour magazine's fashion editor-at-large, replaces Macpherson as season two's host.
"This year's 'Fashion Star' will have a new kind of energy and excitement," says Laura Caraccioli, executive vice president, Electus. "The format wasn't changed, but the branding of 'Fashion Star' changed. It will have a new look, new logo and a new stage. We tried to mirror what some viewers might see during New York's Fashion Week at Bryant Park with a very long runway. We have taken out the dancing and other entertainment as we realized, based on audience research, that people just simply want to see the clothes."
Caraccioli explains that the celebrity mentors and retail buyers are also sitting much closer together and placed at the very end of the runway so their immediate reactions can be captured on camera. She says that during this season, the 12 contestants will be grouped in teams with one of the three mentors.
"There will be a lot more telling of the story and drama behind the scenes in the design center, as well as the overall clothing making process," she says. "There will also be more of the celebrity mentors on camera and backstage for the actual fashion shows."
The most important and exciting aspect of the show is the ability to buy products immediately.
"It is an element that has never been done before," says Niemi. "There are so many shows that cover the making of the clothes, but they don't cover how 12 contestants have sold to major retailers and become a working designer."
"The most exciting part to the audience is to actually see what retailers look for when they come down the runway–what's important to them, why they make certain decisions," says Caraccioli. "There will be more focus on that with a lot more money in play and designs being bought and offered to the audience."
Last year's "Fashion Star" winner, Kara Laricks, received $6 million in orders for capsule collections in Macy's, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue stores.