Elle Creative Director, celebrity stylist and fashion maven Joe Zee believes that although “There’s been great stuff about fashion on TV, there’s never been a genuine, authentic depiction of the process of how it all works.” Until, that is, his “All On the Line” debuts March 29.
The show, which has been likened to a “Kitchen Nightmares” of fashion, has Zee working with talented designers who have had some degree of recognition and success — but who now find themselves in dire professional jeopardy.
“After I packed my bags and moved from Canada to New York to make it in the fashion world, there were some hard times — but I never had to risk being homeless for my business as some of these people have done,” says the personable Zee, speaking of the designers who’ve put their houses on the line and borrowed up the hilt from friends and family members trying to make good.
“Those are real stakes. To love your business so much you’d go to those lengths, well, them being that passionate drove me to work hard with them, mentor them and guide them,” notes Zee. “Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t I’m proud of them all for different reasons. It’s hard to let an objective person come in and tell them to redo something or abandon it. You’re always invested in your own work, so that’s a tough immediate hurdle. But I have to be honest. I’m not there to pass everything off and give compliments. That’s not going to help anyone.”
Designers had to “do a real, tangible thing which was they had to create a collection using whatever resources they already had” for the Sundance Channel show. “I did not write a check. There was no smoke and mirrors,” he says. They do, however, get meetings with powerful department store buyers.
Fresh from Oscar fashion commentating for E! and a whirlwind trip to Paris, Zee is just now getting a chance to catch his breath following the rush of awards season. As for his favorite famous fashion standouts these past few months? “Mila Kunis has become such a star lately, and she hit a home run every time on the red carpet,” he points out. “I love seeing the next generation of girls coming up. Emma Stone of ‘Easy A,’ who’s now in the new ‘Spider-man,’ is another one that young girls can look up to.”