'Fashion Star' buyers on what outfits get them to open their wallets

Most clothes TV characters wear are store-bought, with costume designers putting together the look. So when viewers want the exact blouse or jeans a character wears, they're usually at a loss as to where to shop.

However, on NBC's "Fashion Star," viewers can immediately own whatever the buyers for the stores -- Macy's, Saks Fifth Avenue and H&M -- pick. The outfits, available online after each Tuesday episode, are also in the stores the next day. The buyers, who seek specific garments that represent their stores, tell Zap2it why they bid on these pieces.

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"What I loved about this when I saw it is a couple of things," says Caprice Willard, Macy's vice president/regional planning manager for women's apparel. "It is right on trend as far as the print direction we will see in the spring: geometric, graphic prints."

The Pucci-like print caftan is "so easy," Willard says. "This is the perfect dress for someone who wants to be pulled together to do a number of things in the day."

When selecting an item, Willard is mindful, she says, that the "Macy's customer is the everyday woman, and we are America's department store, and we try to be sensitive to all of the shapes and sizes."

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At first glance, this may look like the standard black skirt and white blouse. But look closer: That horizontal zipper around the waist conceals an overlay skirt. Under is a plain black skirt. It's such an ingenious addition to a skirt that it's a wonder it hasn't been done before.

Terron E. Schaefer, Saks' executive vice president/chief creative officer, says, "Zippers are one of the trends for spring. This is something I thought was very clever -­-­ to coin a phrase, two for one -- and it had a nice feel to it, the way it swung when walking."

Where would someone wear this? "Hopefully when they depart from Saks," Schaefer says. "They could possibly wear the first layer to work and zip the lace cover on afterward."

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This fitted dress is a little flirtier in the back, with a fun cutout. Nicole M. Christie, H&M's communications manager and a former buyer, immediately knew this was the perfect dress for her customers.

Though turquoise, she calls the dress "the new LBD" (little black dress) and says H&M will sell it in black and in blue. "What is so unique is that design element is so flattering and not too revealing. It made the style feel updated, what I thought customers would relate to."
This particular shade of blue, Christie says, "really spoke to me right on the runway as being right on trend. We always like to bring our designs to the next level. Something about that blue was so commercial."

"What this show will do is give an introduction into the world of retail and how the business works and how decisions are made to put products into the store and how we think about customers," Christie says. "I think the way we packaged it is so appealing. It absolutely revolutionizes the way the customer buys and thinks about retail."
Photo/Video credit: NBC
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