The best scene in the last season of The City (and quite possibly the whole series) was when Anne Slowey and Joe Zee critiqued Whitney’s collection to her face and articulated so well what was wrong with the clothes she allegedly designed. Slowey had the balls to tell her she’s not a “real designer” and has no business comparing herself to Alexander Wang. Zee told her what she presented was “not really a collection” but “just items.” And though Slowey’s critique was that much more forceful, Zee is the one Elle is thrusting in front of the cameras for its next television show on the Sundance Channel, called All on the Line, in which the creative director will consult young designers “in crisis” to ready them for “make-or-break” meetings with buyers. Zee is in the process of casting the eight designers, who will each appear in one episode.
Sundance has produced great fashion television, especially in its The Day Before series that has followed designers like Jean Paul Gaultier in the hours leading up to their Fashion Week shows (the next season will follow Alexander Wang and Versace, among others). And we would love to see Zee in an environment where he can be honest rather than forced to treat the lollygags who work in his office like children of uptight parents in a day-care center. So yes, we will watch this new show even though it’s so easy to forget Sundance exists. But sadly, this venture throws The City’s fate into more uncertainty. Sources have told us it’s not likely MTV will renew the series and that the staff at Elle is fed up with the show’s inane scripts. If Elle has signed up for a new series, does that mean they’re really done with The City?
Elle seems to be shamelessly grappling for as much television time as possible, having already appeared on Bravo (Project Runway), the CW (Stylista), and MTV (The City). Being in bed with Sundance now may be the mature direction the magazine has needed since Project Runway ended — a little more chest hair, a little less visibility. Stylista was an embarrassing rebound, and The City was better, but it didn’t make the magazine look professional. But Elle should find a way to also get Slowey some airtime in a capacity that doesn’t force her to critique scared children who fetch her breakfast.
ZEE’S FASHION ZOO [WWD]