'Fashion Star' Season 2: Buy online while you watch and more

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In case the wait to buy clothes the day after they debut on NBC's "Fashion Star" is too long, the fresh designs will now be available online during the show.

The sophomore series, which marries marketing and reality, returns Friday, March 8. Mentors Nicole Richie, Jessica Simpson and John Varvatos work with 12 teams as buyers bid on the designs.

This season features Express, replacing last year's H&M as the less expensive shop catering to a younger crowd. Macy's -- as the more middle-of-the road department store -- and Saks Fifth Avenue, as the higher end, remain the same.

Another change this season is that "as mentors we wanted the opportunity to spend more time with the designers," Richie says, adding that each mentor now works with four designers.


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This dress, with a red top and black bottom, and in champagne, features a bias hem, a cinched waist and a squiggle trim. Brooklyn-based designer Daniel Silverstein is the contest's youngest participant.

"This dress is something I think is extremely original," Richie says. "It is not something that screams commerciality, and that is Daniel's biggest challenge as far as creating something and standing out. I think he did an amazing job not just about being an artist and being commercial -- it is a fine line."

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The relaxed fit and muted colors mark Cassandra Hobbins' work, and her designs are sold at American Rag. Richie describes her clothes as "kind of cool, slouchy loungewear. And she is somebody I could see more in Urban Outfitters." Though a harem cut with a low crotch, they are not "an in-your-face harem pant," Richie says.

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Milan-based Sylvia Arguello's jacket is the showcase here, with - and who would have ever thought these two words would go together? - elegant studs along an exaggerated collar. The signature jacket is exquisite against a simple black dress, which was put underneath it so the jacket would pop. "This is probably much more of a specialty piece worn by a woman who knows fashion, knows about different construction and stepping out of her comfort zone," Richie says.

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"These are two of the same dress," Richie says of the short-sleeved, airy minidress by the competition's only team, JesseRay Vasquez and Garrett Gerson. "I personally felt that this dress did read a little bit younger definitely for someone a little more girlie, a very flirty dress."

This season "is very different," Richie says. "You are definitely not going to feel like you are watching the same show. The level of talent has been raised, and our participation with the designers has increased. The show is still big, exciting and has fantastic clothes. And the opportunity to watch clothes go down the runway and the opportunity to have them in your hands the very next day -- I would tune in for that alone."
Photo/Video credit: NBC
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