Auntie Fashion

I’m the fashion world’s most-enduring muse.

Posts Tagged ‘Fashion File

Fashion File RIP

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Adrian Mainella

Danielle Meder just emailed me a Twitter update from journalist Craig Silverman announcing that Fashion File has been cancelled.

A few months back I wrote the CBC whose Audience Relations department assured me that Fashion File would be back this April.  Of course I was skeptical, but I’ve been the show’s most-vocal critic since Fashion File Host Hunt premiered.  Except for my friend Greg, who was short-listed as a contestant and let go at the last possible moment, there probably isn’t anyone in Canada who has spent more time bitching about the unrealized potential of the reality show that was created to find a replacement for Tim Blanks when he left the CBC for

Fashion File Host Hunt was a mess.  It could have been better than Project Runway if it was creatively cast, but they loaded up the ranks with filler.  Then instead of picking Mary Kitchen as the host, they chose Adrian Mainella.  At first I thought I he wasn’t the worst choice that the producers could have made, but once I saw his version of Fashion File hit the airwaves, I was mortified.  What happened to my favorite show?

The only thing worse than the retooled version of Fashion File was the CBC’s insistence that it was coming back.  They could have cancelled it a year ago, but they didn’t want to admit that their shortsighted, uncreative production staff had made a terrible mistake by entering the reality show market with such a stinker of a show and an unwatchable follow-up program.  And these are people who are being paid with your tax dollars.  Way to go, jerks.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to call my friend Greg who was devastated when the show’s producers strung him along up to the very last minute of the casting process.  If I’ve ever met anyone who was born to be a reality TV star, it’s him.  I’m sure he’s going to put on a red suit and dance around like he’s doing a jig on Fashion File’s grave.  I won’t be doing the same, but only because I knew Fashion File was DOA the moment the retooled version premiered.  File this one under I for “It’s about freakin’ time.”

ETA: Danielle just sent me a link to a bonus tweet from Shinan Govani that reads:  “CBC’s Fashion File just got canned. Had lost its “voice” with the new host, methinks. Was like going from Noel Coward to Ryan Seacrest.”  And I thought I was being bitchy!

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March 10, 2009 at 6:38 pm

A little bird told me . . .

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I’ve had a few little birdies chirping in my ear since I asked why Fashion File was still showing repeats from last season.  Fashion Television and In Fashion have already aired episodes reporting from backstage at last month’s L’Oréal Fashionweek.

Audience Relations at CBC told me that the show “is currently in production and will air in Spring 2009.”  Another little birdie told me that “the Canadian release of the new season has been delayed — something to do with international broadcasting?”  Huh?

Anyhow, neither of those explanations tell me why I’m watching repeats of shows that were produced last year at this time.  I don’t care about S/S 2008.  I barely care about F/W 2008 and the season has just begun.  I want to know what’s happening NOW.  In fashion terms, than means next summer.

I’ve ranted and raved about the amateur hour (or half-hour, really) that was titled Fashion File Host Hunt.  The CBC blew its chance to get into the fashion/reality show market well ahead of Stylista (and those other dozen shows that are currently in production at Bravo and the CW) by not capitalizing on the relationships formed between the contestants.  Then they cast the program with some of the dullest people in the history of the genre (with the exception of Mary Kitchen and Henrietta Southam).  Worst of all, they absolutely desecrated Fashion File after the host hunt by lobotomizing television’s smartest show about style.

Now I want to know if they’re retooling the show again, or if they let Adrian Mainella go after his contract was up.  The Fashion File Blog on the show’s site is being updated by people whose names I don’t even recognize.  If there’s another little birdie out there who can let me know something, I’d appreciate hearing from you.  If I dig up enough dirt, I can probably turn this story into a magazine feature called “How Bumbling Incompetency and Reality TV Allowed the CBC To Put My Favorite Show into a Coma.”

I like the sound of that tune!

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November 15, 2008 at 5:41 pm

Out with the old?

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Rebecca Hardy

One of the perks of winning Canada’s Next Top Model is the opportunity to appear in a real fashion layout in a real fashion magazine.  Last season’s winner, Rebecca Hardy, got an editorial spread in FASHION.

However, CNTM is moving to CTV.  FASHION Magazine is somewhat connected to the now-wretched Fashion File.  Does that mean that CNTM is going to look for another magazine to collaborate with?

Just last week, Lisa Tant of Flare told me that she wasn’t really interested in reality TV (read the interview here), unless the show had something to do with Zob.  Still, I wouldn’t blame her if she teamed up with CTV if they asked her to award the CNTM winner a layout in her publication.  She could be the Canadian version of Seventeen magazine’s Ann Shoket, who gets to show up at all those fun modeling challenges to give the contestants half-baked advice.  What a gig!

But what would Ceri Marsh do if that plum was snatched away from her?  Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself, but I see the beginnings of an epic battle forming here.  No matter what Ceri Marsh and Lisa Tant say about their mutual respect for each other, I don’t believe it.  The pair of editors reminds me of Meryl Streep and Goldie Hawn in Death Becomes Her.

Speaking of death, I wonder what’s happened to Fashion File?  I don’t recall seeing a new episode in quite some time.  Don’t get me started about Fashion File Host Hunt again, but I have to say that the casting on that show was the first nail in FF’s coffin.  Anyway, I would appreciate a reliable status update on the program — if anyone knows anything.  Any other idle gossip would also be appreciated.

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November 11, 2008 at 6:28 pm

Fashion File: Part Three

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The last time I posted about Fashion File, I mentioned that I was satisfied with the outcome of Fashion File Host Hunt.  I believed that Adrian Mainella would become a competent host, even though I wasn’t blown away by his performance on the reality show.  Considering the other men who were cast on the show, however, he was the cream of the crop.  To this day, I can still hear the voice of wannabe Justin echoing in my head: “People are going to like me because I’m real.”  No, Justin.  People are going to like a host who knows the name of a fashion designer or two.

Anyway, my opinion regarding Mr. Mainella changed the moment the retooled Fashion File premiered.  What happened to the wit?  What happened to the candor?  What happened to the winning format?

Fashion File has become Fashion File for Dummies.  An episode that repeated yesterday glossed over the entire Marc Jacobs debacle from his S/S 2008 show, including his trip to rehab shortly afterward and his now-legendary fight with Suzy Menkes.  A spot that compared videos from Mariah Carey and Paula Abdul had half-baked fashion criticism and lame jokes that made the fashion pages of The Star look as erudite as a Cathy Horyn blog.  The only bright spot on the show was a Bronwyn Cosgrave bit from the closet of Allegra Hicks.  Peering into the wardrobe of a truly fashionable woman is the sort of aspirational fare that Fashion File used to deliver every week.

In fact, Fashion File was the most sophisticated show about style on TV.  Tim Blanks was clever and playful, but never mean-spirited or smarmy.  The show itself packaged its how-to segments in a manner that never came off as condescending.  And it never stooped to the lowest common denominator by offering the sort of fashion criticism that the tabloids thrive upon.

Now it’s nearly unwatchable.  Considering that I was at the auditions to witness the caliber of talent that the reality show attracted, I can only blame the CBC for derailing Fashion File.  Adrian Mainella is as boring and uninspired as it gets, but the producers chose him, and the CBC chose them.  It makes me wonder what they’re going to do next?  Change the theme music for Hockey Night in Canada?  Oh, never mind . . .

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June 9, 2008 at 5:35 pm

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Project Runway Canada Season 2

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It’s the news we’ve all been waiting for!  Project Runway Canada has officially begun casting for its second season.  The good news is that the show is moving to Global where it will undoubtedly have a much higher profile.  The bad news is that the show is moving to Global, which is notoriously cheap when it comes to creating its own content.  Believe me — I’ve cashed a lot of puny cheques from CanWest Global.

I don’t understand why Canadian networks took so long to jump on the reality show bandwagon with knockoffs of hit American shows.  The genre of reality TV is tremendously appealing to network executives because it’s cheaper to produce than scripted programming.  So you would think that shows like PRC would be plentiful, wouldn’t you?

CTV has done its part to produce a few knockoffs.  Canadian Idol is a huge success, and the upcoming Canuck version of So You Think You Can Dance is destined to become a big hit.  CBC has tried to get a foot in the door with Fashion File Host Hunt and few other boring ventures, but most of their original programs are smothered by the network’s attempt to give the shows a strong Canadian identity — as if having a show with Canadian contestants on a Canadian network isn’t enough.  Blech!

Global has tried to get into the game with their Debbie Travis vehicles.  However, with shows like Survivor and The Apprentice airing on the network, it seems as if the only thing that’s holding them back from producing a hit is the fact that they don’t want to embark on any venture that might cost them any money.

That doesn’t bode well for PRC 2.  Hopefully, they’ll spend whatever it takes to get Iman back, because a show without it’s star is like a day without sunshine.  Even Slice was able to sign the supermodel, so if I wake up one morning to read that Cheryl Hickey is taking over the role, I’ll renounce my citizenship.  Even the CBC wouldn’t be that hare-brained.  Oh, who am I kidding?  They’d cast Justin Trudeau and fire Brian Bailey because the word on the street is that he was born in Alberta.

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May 20, 2008 at 4:37 pm

Henrietta Southam

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Henrietta Southam

Henrietta Southam (upper center)

When Fashion File Host Hunt revealed its cast, I saw Henrietta Southam’s name on the list and immediately thought “What a ridiculous example of stunt casting!”  Auntie Fashion has been around long enough to know how much weight the Southam name carries in Canada.  I presumed that Ms. Southam was put on the show simply because her family name gave her credence as a socialite: They figured that she was the kind of woman who could walk backstage at a fashion show and fit in with the beautiful people.  At first glance, I assumed the same thing, too.

Then the show premiered.  Henrietta entered the studio in an adorable fedora and I said to myself “Ooh!  I love a broad who can wear a hat!”  On the second episode, she crushed the competition during a quiz of past and present fashion knowledge, spelling “fedora” correctly along the way (unlike a certain someone).  Suddenly she was legitimate competitor.  I was rooting for her to win.

Unfortunately, the producers weren’t going to let that happen.  During a subsequent challenge, Southam made a crucial error.  She thought that Fashion File was looking for a reporter when they were really just looking for someone to schmooze with the crowd.  A source close to the show told me that she offended the designers of Bustle and Bustle when she didn’t blow smoke up their asses as required.

Southam threw in the towel after that incident.  She knew that the producers weren’t going to let her win, so she gave up on FFHH.  Who could blame her?

In retrospect, it appears that she left a sinking ship.  A little voice inside her head must have been urging her to go.  I’m sure that it was the voice of Zob.  Zob works in mysterious ways, speaking to the truly gorgeous when they are in need.  And when I look at Henrietta Southam, I know that she has been blessed by Zob.  You don’t get to be that fabulous without a little divine intervention.


Edited to add: My photo of Henrietta seems to have vanished.  I can’t find another one.  Maybe I’ll have to ask Danielle at to draw one.

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May 3, 2008 at 3:51 pm

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Fashion Magazine’s Blogger Search

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Fashion Magazine

I should probably review this magazine, but I’ll save that for another day.  Danielle at finalfashion mentioned this contest a while ago, but I didn’t actually visit the contest site until yesterday.  It seems like a fun idea.  Fashion Magazine is looking for ten bloggers to keep Canada updated on their local fashion scenes.  The winning bloggers will get $1200 for twenty-four posts that will run bi-monthly over the next year.  It’s not much, but since most bloggers work for free, it’s enough to buy a shiny, new computer or a nice pair of winter boots at Gucci.

I was going to enter, but I don’t believe Fashion magazine would make me a semi-finalist.  I’m too much of a know-it-all, and some people find that threatening.   I can’t say that I blame them.  I shake in my own presence when I think about how fabulous I am.

I also can’t shut my trap when it comes to how much I loathe Fashion File since Adrian Mainella took over the hosting duties.  Because the magazine and the TV show are in a partnership, I imagine I’d get into a little trouble if they realized that Prunella Crudsworth is Auntie Fashion.

So I’m just going to stick to this blog.  My post about Behati Prinsloo has seen about fifteen-hundred hits so far, and a few others have got a lot of attention, too — especially my interviews with CariDee and Simon Doonan.

I’m happy to be blogging for free, anyway.  It allows me to be the rebel that I want to be.  Getting paid to write a blog about antifashion would be sort of hypocritical, anyhow.  If I’m trying to protest the commercialization of the art that is fashion in this blog, I’d be an idiot to ask for a paycheque to do it.

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May 3, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Fashion File: Part Two

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I first found out that Tim Blanks was leaving Fashion File when the CBC began to advertise that they were jumping on the reality show bandwagon with Fashion File Host Hunt.  I wasn’t concerned that they were going to choose a new host on a reality show.  I figured that it would be a good way to search all of Canada for Blanks’ successor.  Without the Host Hunt, Fashion File would have likely posted the job within the CBC, hiring one of their own (as is the custom at Canada’s most sycophantic organization).

So I had high hopes for the show.  But I knew that something was amiss when the first episode of the Host Hunt premiered.  After crossing the country and spending Zob-knows-how-much money to conduct a coast-to-coast talent search, the hunt began.  There was a brief montage of a few auditions, and that was it.  They conducted American Idol-style tryouts, then declined to share that footage with their viewers.

However, that wasn’t as alarming as the cast that they had chosen.  After dragging their so-called fashionable asses across Canada, they only managed to choose three candidates who didn’t hail from central Canada’s largest cities.  One of those candidates was a Maritimer living in Toronto.  Two others were from the west, and remarkably unqualified for the position.

A few of the hopefuls showed some promise.  The fabulous Henrietta Southam ate her competition alive in challenge that quizzed the candidates on their knowledge of the fashion business.  Other wannabes fell to the wayside when their substandard performances proved that they never should have been selected in the first place.  Southam asked to be eliminated when it became clear to her that the judges were looking for someone who could stroke the egos of designers when she thought they were looking for a reporter.

Eventually, only Mary Kitchen and Adrian Mainella remained.  Despite Kitchen’s annoying habit of wrinkling up her forehead until she looked like a Klingon whenever she was nervous, she was approachable and enthusiastic.  Mainella seemed competent, even if he lacked in joie de vivre.  I was satisfied with the outcome when Mainella won the job.

Then I waited a few months for the newly retooled Fashion File to debut.  I couldn’t believe what they had done to my favorite show . . .

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April 15, 2008 at 3:55 pm

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Fashion File: Part One

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I have a lot to say about Fashion File, so I guess I’ll start at the very beginning.  The moment Fashion File premiered, I was hooked.  Here was a show that didn’t dumb down the world of fashion whatsoever.  There was no effort to translate the vocabulary of high style to the masses.  There were no “how-to” segments designed to attract the style-challenged.  It was a journalist’s view of the business, peppered by the occasional editorial comment by the show’s wry and charming host, Tim Blanks.

The program existed for about seventeen years in a status quo format that was nearly perfect.  Changes to the program included a few fun segments where people on the street were asked to answer questions, but the tone of the show remained the same.  Unlike it’s closest competitor, Fashion Television, Fashion File was about the clothes.  It never tried to be anything more than a television news magazine about the apparel business.

Unfortunately, that format become unfashionable to TV executives.  Despite the fact that Fashion File was airing on networks like CBC Newsworld, it’s producers decided that it was ready for a retooling when Tim Blanks decided to leave the show to work at

And that’s when everything fell apart. . .

Stay tuned: There’s plenty more to come.

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April 6, 2008 at 3:14 pm

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