Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's no secret

I'm underwhelmed by the first episode of Emily Henderson's "Secrets from a Stylist", HGTV's newest Design Star's show.

The concept of the show feels too convoluted. That whole 'style diagnostic' biz feels like a contrived exercise from which Emily can hatch a cutesy-clever style mash-up label. The homeowners are quizzed on their favorite and least favorite items from a line up of fabrics and chotchkies and dress up in a favorite outfit with Emily taking notes on a clipboard and then analyzing the results. Last night's couple was found to be hollywood regency-ish (her) and country club chic-ish (him) resulting in a HOLLYWOOD COUNTRY CLUB styled living room.

So much wasted time

Then the room is first styled in full out HOLLYWOOD REGENCY and during the reveal Emily asks "what percentage of the room do you like"? Not surprisingly, since she doesn't include any of the husbands COUNTRY CLUB CHIC style, he isn't about it and is only happy with "25-30%" of the room. No shit. You've already told the guy his style label is COUNTRY CLUB CHIC. Why would he be happy with HOLLYWOOD REGENCY?

But, Emily vows to make the couple 200% happy with the room. The walls are painted, again, and COUNTRY CLUB CHIC is injected to the space.

And now, both husband and wife are happy with HOLLYWOOD COUNTRY CLUB. And I want to know HGTV's secret - why waste time installing a room just for the homeowners to not like? Waste of time.

In the end, we don't get to see enough of Emily's process of styling a room, which, I would guess, is more about intuition and less about labeling styles. I would like to see her doing what she does best - finding great vintage elements, styling and editing. The look doesn't have to be pigeon holed for me to appreciate it. Good design is good design.

Maybe it's because I just naturally have a disdain for labels, but for me, building a show around labeling is a big phooey.

Any thoughts?


  1. I was so excited to watch it this morning on the ole DVR, but now I'm really intrigued. I'll have to check back in and let you know.

  2. Well, I would just rather have seen, especially in a 30 minute show, more of the actual styling of the room, and what went in it, and less of the route that was taken to come up with a cute name for the style!

  3. The show had so much potential, but I was a bit underwhelmed as well.

  4. S, let's hope we get to see more actual design and designing in future episodes, rather than all that "diagnosing"!

  5. PS - may I just say, that after all the quizzing and coming up with a style label and decorating the house the first go round, Mrs Homeowner say, well, she reckons she not HOLLYWOOD REGENCY after all!

  6. okay. i would really like to go straight for the styling too in the first episode.

    and this is kinda crazy, but there were too many things going on in a 30 minute show. the scenes of her gold-leafing or thrifting flew by, but they were far more interesting than the outfit critique. even the speed of conversation was a whiz, and I caught myself thinking, "what did she just say?"

    i love her and actually enjoyed so many things about the final room. the plotline of the show is swallowing her talent.

    p.s. if i had to hear the words hollywood regency one more time, my ears would have started bleeding.

  7. Yes, you nailed it! I love Emily Henderson and think that she has a great eye and loads of talent. I'd like to see more of her choosing pieces and decorating the room. Especially her techniques for layering and accessorizing.

    I think a 30 minute show is only 22 minutes of actual show! There's not a lot of margin in there for monkeying around with the bullshiz.

  8. Oh man, I agree with all of the above! I was so excited to see her show after reading her blog for awhile now (after Julie turned me on to it). I kind of cringed at her attempt to play the peppy host, although she is quite peppy in a good way, but that was lost in the show. Also, it seemed like all she did was go out and buy some stuff, but in fact, I know she is more talented than her label as a stylist. Ah well. Her rooms are still gorgeous, and I will still watch.


What you got for me?