Stylista
Debut

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Lady Lola: A- | Grade It Now!
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Personal Shoppers

We open on footage of couture shows as a Disembodied British Narrator (Nigel Barker?) explains the three elements of the fashion industry -- models, designers, and editors. Editors, he intones, must live and breathe style. The top ones -- like ELLE's Anne Slowey -- even get to play puppet master as they cherry pick each season's newest "it" items. Now Ms. Slowey is giving 11 desperate wannabes the chance of a lifetime -- to become her minions in a painstaking low-rent recreation of The Devil Wears Prada. Their judgment and taste will be tested through menial tasks and editorial challenges.

Morning breaks over New York City, we meet 21-year-old Berkeley student Cologne, who babbles like Valley Girl Barbie. Next is William, 26, a freelance fashion assistant, who espouses ELLE's hugeness with a dreamy British accent. Jason is a 25-year-old aspiring fashion designer; he's bland. Next up, Kate is a former law student at the ripe old age of 22. She claims she has no fashion background, but I can't imagine she has much law school background, either. Was she there for, like, 13 and a half seconds? I mean, even Elle Woods finished Harvard -- and she had a fashion background. Kate says she feels super-lucky, but I am entirely too distracted by her huge, bouncing rack. Then we meet Devin, who, at 19, is an NYU fashion student and the school's fashion publication editor. She declares she would give up her left arm to be an ELLE fashion editor. I really hope Anne Slowey takes her up on that. Johanna, 28, is a military analyst-slash-Chinese linguist. She says she's risked a lot but fails to mention the risky nature of taking hair cues from Katie Holmes.

Before we meet the rest, all the contestants convene at ELLE and are directed to the "bull pen." Would a receptionist really tell someone to go to the bull pen? Degrading much? Kate is excessively bubbly but gets the ball rolling on introductions. Danielle, a homely, plus-sized girl, introduces herself. Everyone stares blankly. One of these things is not like the other. We learn that Danielle, 22, a clothing store manager from Long Island. As the pretty bitches shoot their looks askance, Danielle TH's that she's not blind to others' feelings about her weight.

Then, an as-yet-to-be-introduced girl gets into it with Devin, insulting her for being a 19-year-old with an attitude. This mocker of 19-year-olds is Megan, a boutique owner, who has lived a long and august 22 years. She sighingly TH's that she "was given a chunk of money" (by whom, I daren't ask) to open a boutique, but it bored her. Jesus, pop some bonbons, honey. She says some see her as a spoiled rich girl, but that she actually has a brain. Obviously not enough of one to reconsider wearing a plunging, sleeveless dress to a job interview. Megan slings another supposed zinger, informing Devin she's going to call her "Hat Girl" due to Devin's netted, '30s-style hat. Devin's couldn't care less.

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