The idea behind Fashionably Late with Stacy London is that every Friday night, we are all invited to a posh party with Stacy. It will be fabulous. We’ll get to rub elbows with celebrities, dish about the latest fads and fashions, learn something new about the art of style and, for a select few, be transformed from the mundane to the marvelous. While the show has all the right ingredients for this ambitious undertaking, it falls just short of the mark for being the great girls’ night out that it promises to be.
The show opens with a great theme song: “I Feel Pretty” sung by the pop rock alternative band Betty. We see Stacy trying on various outfits to wear to her party before catching a cab and arriving, dressed to the nines, on the set. In this episode, she is wearing a gold dress by Tadashi and beautiful shoes by Christian Louboutin.
We also get to meet the hunky bartender who will be fixing the drink of the night, a Crown Royal Manhattan. Great music, a beautiful hostess, fashion, and alcohol being served with a side of biceps — now that’s the way to start a talk show.
Stacy of course begins by complimenting the audience. She immediately picks out this week's lucky makeover recipient, a woman who showed up to the party in her Coast Guard uniform. That’s okay for work, but it’s not the glamorous look that Stacy envisions for her party. So Stacy sent her off to have the magic applied for the big reveal at the end of the show.
The Trend Testers segment was next. Trend Testers is where runway meets real life. Stacy asks three regular people to try out some of the hottest new runway trends. Unfortunately, this is where my grounded, cynical self kicked in.
First were the oxford platform shoes that looked scarily similar to shoes I wore in high school. I don’t know about anyone else, but I refuse to wear something that I threw out over ten (ahem) years ago. It did not help that the model chosen was a young woman with young children. She wore the shoes with a mini-skirt and fishnets to the playground. Not a good idea. The men polled expressed that they thought the shoes were sexy, which reinforced my opinion that those shoes are more appropriate for pole dancing, not for real life.
The second runway trend was a no-brainer. It was a garbage bag dress. To add insult to injury, the woman chosen to try the trend also had a matching outfit for her dog. At least she didn’t need to carry an additional bag for the contents of her pooper scooper. She could have just stripped the dog.
The last trend was a knitted turtleneck hood that was described as looking like a chain mail topper for a knight. It did. It didn’t help that it appeared to be a warm day and the girl wearing it had on short sleeves and long gloves to go with the hat. It was seasonably inappropriate, if not unfashionable. I admit it gave the model a trendy looking silhouette, but unless you are shaped like Audrey Hepburn, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Another segment of the show was a discussion of convertible fashion. There were men’s sneakers that, with Velcro pieces, could become high-tops or loafers, Uggs that had a peep toe for pedicures, a Calvin Tran skirt that could be worn thirteen different ways, and, my personal favorite, transformer shoes that could convert from stilettos to flats with a couple of clicks of the heels. Those shoes could be a god-send!
Next, we had the celebrity segment of the show with the beautiful Rebecca Romijn, from the show Ugly Betty. Stacy and Rebecca have known each other for years and the segment felt more like a conversation between friends than an impersonal interview. They talked about Rebecca’s recent marriage to Jerry O’Connell. She looks and sounds deliriously happy. We also got to see Rebecca’s life in five outfits, including a childhood photo, a cover of Sports Illustrated, and Rebecca as Mystique in the X-Men movies.
After the celebrity segment, we got to tour Lancome with Stacy, who showed us how new lipsticks were made. It was amusing to see Stacy wearing safety shoes with black stocking, goggles, and a hairnet.
There was also a segment called Chic or Shred, where audience participants brought up articles of clothing from their closets for Stacy’s judgment. This section of the show seemed the most unbelievable. I cannot believe that the articles of clothing were anything other than the person’s attempt to bring something hideous for the chance to get a free gift. And gifts were made. One woman got a new suit, another one got a new bag, and another got a free trench coat. All the gifts were to replace ugly, old-fashioned, out-of-date polyester.
Stacy then introduced us to the next big things in fashion: jewelry from Rockras, dresses by Yeojin Bae, and shoes by Madison Harding. I thought that this segment went too fast to get a clear view of what these new designers had to offer. It felt like more of a teaser segment to get viewers interested enough to visit the TLC website or research the items on their own.
The show ended with the coast guard makeover. We did get to see glimpses of the woman’s transformation and she looked stunning when she came out. With a new layered hairstyle by Rodney Cutler and makeup by Joanna Schlipp, she looked ready for a night on the town. She wore a black cocktail dress, which showed off her waist and created a shapely silhouette with its flared skirt. Her heels were stylish and it was quite a change from the way she looked in her Coast Guard clothes.
So, with so much going for it, why do I feel like the show missed its mark? I think it has a lot to do with the fact that prior to the premiere, I was fortunate enough to actually attend a taping of the show. I got to experience the thrill of dressing up in what I hoped were appropriate party clothes. I got to travel and meet with friends, have a cocktail and actually party.
The experience was quite different when watching in my pajamas and sweatshirt, sipping a lukewarm cup of tea instead of a cocktail, and trying to stay awake after a long day with the kids. It felt sort of like I was watching other people having fun, instead of experiencing it myself.
But sadly, that is the nature of real life versus television. I will keep watching though. The interviews are engaging. Stacy is as personable and knowledgeable about fashion as ever. The style lessons are invaluable. And the greatest thing is that at least when my fabulous party opportunity arrives, I’ll have the know-how and the tools to be ready for it.