By Laura Medina
Left, Kara Laricks, the winner. Right, Caprice Willard.
What is the winning pattern for NBC's "Fashion Star," Kara Laricks?
In a phone interview, Macy's West Coast Buyer and "Fashion Star" judge, Caprice Willard, explains the winning formula.
Kara knew the Macy's customer, what she is looking for and what she is willing to pay. Most importantly, Ms. Willard noticed that Kara did not lose or surrendered her personality in order to please the judges. She kept her identity yet managed to translate her personality into each store's market and consumer.
That is the problem Ms. Willard saw during the contest, either the contestant was willing to give away her or his personality to win or did not consider the store's customer.
Kara did a very difficult balancing act. She kept her personality in each collection, letting people know it is her; yet her collections fit each store's brand identity. A hard feat.
As the West Coast buyer and Vice President /RPM for Women's Apparel for Macy's, Ms. Willard said that, for a chain of department stores, the products have to be the best possible quality for the Macy's shopper, yet within the right price point and be accessible.
Kara won the competition with her winning collection for Macy's. It was built on the solid foundation of "day to night," "office to cocktail" everyday wear for the career girl.
Her first ensemble is the retro classic, the tie-front blouse paired with slouchy trousers. She commented this entire collection has a running theme of menswear inspiration in feminine tailoring.
For this tie blouse and slouchy pants pairing, Kara said you can slip on a slinky pair of high heels then you're ready for cocktails directly from the office.
The second piece is Kara's favorite silhouette, the A-Line Dress. Again, she calls this "day to night" and incorporated menswear details. Chest pockets on the front. Welt pockets on the back.
The third piece is a singular halter-neck romper with a racerback. She said that, this is all a girl needs to buy. For her, the simple silhouette is sexy. She added menswear details, such as the belt and cuffed shorts on the bottom. For day, Kara suggested throwing on a blazer at the office then removing it at night for that carefree but sexy look during Summer.
This is how Kara Laricks won "Fashion Star," temper the sexiness with menswear-inspired details for the office during the day. Soften it up with simple but feminine silhouettes and fabrics for night. These give the working girl double the leverage in her wardrobe and double the size of her wallet.