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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the biggest concerns in this reality competition series are an obsessive focus on fashionable brands and an overall message that says style trumps substance. Looks are essentially everything, and the show practically serves as a running commercial for Elle magazine; contestants are competing for a paid position there, and they're also being judged by the magazine's top brass. There's some mild swearing, too, plus occasional social drinking.
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What's the story?
With an eye on a paid editorial gig at Elle magazine and a package of other cushy prizes (including a paid lease on a Manhattan apartment and a sizable clothing allowance at H&M), 11 young fashionistas and fashionistos compete for the ultimate title of STYLISTA on this reality show executive produced by Tyra Banks. Standing in as the Miranda Priestly-esque judge (with a nod to The Devil Wears Prada) is Elle Fashion News Director Anne Slowey, who decides who to cut each week with help from Elle creative director Joe Zee.
Is it any good?
The show's premise was clearly inspired by Prada (which itself was inspired by Lauren Weisberger's best-selling book). And, much like both the book and movie, Stylista sounds exciting, glamorous, and chic. But after an initial rush of exhilaration, the show reveals itself to be a lot like so much other fashion-centric reality fare, with the same assortment of eccentric "characters" who are trying to make their dreams come true -- and are willing to do just about anything to make them happen. As for how much the show plays up Slowey's persona to make her look like an impossible-to-please ice queen? Well, no one but a real Elle staffer could say for sure.
The most interesting aspect of Stylista is that it offers audiences a look at the business of selling style. To that end, the show doesn't hide the fact that fashion magazines like Elle have considerable influence over the way we dress and, in turn, the things we buy. Quite the opposite: Stylista seems to relish that power with unabashed glee.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the show's opening statement about the influence of fashion magazines like Elle: "They have the power to make you want things like the new 'It' bag, the hottest must-have shoes, or the latest designs off the runway." Do you agree with that assessment? Have you ever thought about print publications having "power" over their readers? And, if they do, is the inverse true as well? Are we, as readers, power-less? What other messages does this show send? How does it make you feel about yourself and your own style?