December 2, 2009

'Launch My Line' Looks to Fill Fashion TV Void

In another attempt to fill the sew-to-the-death vacuum created by Project Runway's move to Lifetime Bravo prepares to debut its latest show Launch My Line tonight at 11pm. The thing that sets Launch My Line apart from its predecessors is that the contestants are not the typical fashion fare -- They're business people from other professions hoping to start their own fashion line.

(l-r) Desingers Kevin Black Collins, Louanna Rawls, Vanessa Gonzalez, Katherine Rose, Dan Karaty, Merle Ginsberg, L. Marilyn Crawford, Patrick McDonald, Eric Cubeechee, David Applebaum [Bravo Photo: Pete Tangen]

So what does a journalist, an architect, a choreographer or an event planner know about fashion design? Nothing more than any of the big-name celebrities who come out with clothing lines every year. So due to their lack of construction knowledge the wannabe designers are teamed up with "experts" who cut, sew and create the actual garments the designers drum up.

The concept is pretty realistic when it comes to the world of fashion design (do you think the big-name designers or celebs are cutting their own fabric?) but makes it much less impressive than Runway, or even Bravo's ill-fated The Fashion Show. While it's fun to watch nobody's create and produce their own garments, it's not nearly as entertaining to watch semi-nobody's tell other nobody's what to make for them. While I will say that it is a completely different show from Project Runway (it's actually more like shows like Dancing With the Stars where "celebs" try out a new skill) the comparisons are impossible to avoid.

The other jarring thing about the show is the vast number of cast members who appear on the screen at any given time. There are 10 designers, who are each teamed up with an expert, there are 2 hosts/judges (twin designers Dan and Dean Caten of DSquared) and two other judges, so at one point there are 24 people on the screen at once -- not to mention the models who show off the clothes. Casting is so important when it comes to reality shows, but it's hard to figure out who to love or hate when there are so many people to choose from.

Overall I think Launch My Line will be as entertaining and mindless (in a good way) to watch as all the other competition reality shows out there. Do I think it has the potential to make it to a second season? Probably not in its current form, but perhaps if the series is able to get greater semi-known names to join the cast (again, like Dancing With the Stars) it might actually have a shot at being quite interesting.

Launch My Line premieres tonight on Bravo at 11pm then returns to its normal 10pm slot every Wednesday night. Are you going to watch?