House of DVF: Fashion 101

House of DVF (Photo: Timothy White / E!)
House of DVF (Photo: Timothy White / E!)

E! has fashioned itself a compelling competition/docuseries taking place at the House of DVF (DVF standing for the fabulous Diane Von Furstenberg).

Show

House of DVF, which airs Sundays at 10pm on E!1

Premise

Diane Von Furstenberg, the originator of the wrap dress and the princess of prints, is on the hunt for a brand ambassador for her fashion empire House of DVF. 10 women have been invited to take part in the company’s internship program in the hopes of becoming America’s Next Top Fashion Brand Representative.

Lineage

DVF has been part of the NBCU family for a while, thanks to her participation as a guest judge a couple of times on Project Runway during the Bravo era. E! has been shifting its brand into more of a fashion outlet than the E! True Hollywood Story days of yore, and this show is the right step.

Who is House of DVF For?

Expats of America’s Next Top Model and The Apprentice, especially if they were into those shows for the industry/procedural aspects rather than the competition and elimination antics.

What Works

How can you not love Diane Von Furstenberg? From her Belgian accent to her business savvy, she’s both charming and disarming. My favorite moment of the first episode happened in the first three minutes: Diane arrived at her office and an assistant was doing that reality show exposition thing where she recounts appointments and other scheduled items as if this is new information. After the first item, Diane says “I know,” in a polite but dismissive way. No reality show tropes in the House of DMV, s’il vous plaît.

The cast of candidates also had their bonafides. None of these women were picked up at a mall by a casting agent: some are already professional stylists, FIT graduates, bloggers, and other fashion-based careerists. They also do not engage in ANTM name-calling or shade-throwing: most criticisms lobbed at one another involved age in relation to experience and varying levels of professionalism. Only Diane used the term “bitch” to refer to candidates during one-on-ones, but she was using it in a value-neutral way.

What Doesn’t Work

My only concern at this point is that the show’s format has not been defined. This isn’t a competition of the “teach-challenge-bottom three up for elimination” style, but there isn’t a ton of structure that has been made immediately apparent. Presumably one of these candidates will earn the job of Brand Ambassador, but it is conceivable that the process will reveal that none of the candidates meet the job requirements. Saying this doesn’t work is a bit much—it’s more that I would like to withhold judgment until a couple more episodes air.

Verdict

Diane Von Furstenberg says her brand is about freedom, empowering women, and selling confidence. The first episode ending with two candidates excused from the program. They were provided gift bags personally selected by DVF and their eliminations were not framed as rejections but rather an acknowledgement that the job and the candidate were not a match at this time. House of DVF feels so incredibly authentic and the candidates show incredible potential for growth over the course of the season. We’ll be watching, and so should you.

  1. Emphasis theirs.  

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About Mike McComb 656 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: mike@whatelseison.tv