Former schoolteacher turned New York-based women's wear designer Kara Laricks (pictured) took home the whole shebang on last night's finale of "Fashion Star" on NBC. In the season one finale, Laricks presented three individual (but cohesive) capsule collections pegged toward three different retailers (H&M, Macys, and Saks Fifth Avenue) to a panel of consumable fashion industry veterans (Nicole Richie, John Varvatos, Jessica Simpson) and each of the stores' respective buyers. Ultimately (and one pair of drop-crotch capris later), she managed to out maneuver her fellow finalists, Ronnie Escalante and Nzimiro Oputa.
Are we thrilled? (Sort of.) Do we think that Laricks's awkward geometric print collection will fly off the shelves at Macys? (No.) But do we think her luxurious day-to-night seasonless workwear for Saks will? (Absolutely.)
Did the judges and buyers make the right decision in the end? In case this season of "Fashion Star" was lost on you, let us simplify: the end goal was for the winning designer to create a collection that can be sold to different consumers at different retailers with very different price points (budget, moderate, and luxury) while maintaining a consistent design vision. In other words: create fashion that sells. Something Jessica Simpson, John Varvatos, and Nicole Richie happen to do very well. They might not be the most innovative, revolutionary, or even avant garde designers in the world, but they've become household names to a myriad of consumers through their respective lines. In the end, Kara Laricks came out on top. Was it because she followed the rules? Or because her designs were actually the best?
Regardless, Laricks walked home with a grand prize worth $6 million in buyer purchases. At least now she might be able to afford to buy one of her own designs at Saks.