TV Review: House of DVF

What do you get when you cross glorified interns, wrap dresses and an international fashion leader with a television crew?

Because we slave away over a hot keyboard all day and appreciate the value of any and all hard-earned coin, Screaming Back at the Screen particularly enjoys watching reality shows that feature people at work doing what a former co-worker of ours used to referred to as ‘G’ing the R’ (Generating the Revenue). Some of our favorites include Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles, Top Chef, The Property Brothers, Income Property and the various Project Runway offerings.

With that in mind, we decided to tune into House of DVF,  the Diane von Furstenberg offering that pits several wrap dress-wearing  young women against one another for an actual staff position as DVF Brand Ambassador for this powerhouse fashion empire.

dvf.cast.logoLike Donald Trump’s formerly interesting and now extremely boring and tedious The Apprentice, these candidates perform various tasks assigned by Diane’s payroll minions staff then eventually sit down with the big boss for evaluation upon assignment completion.

Because the job/prize requires the winner to use brains, personality and a bit of creativity to appeal to Princess Diane, the weekly loser’s evaluation reminded us of a slice of one of our favorite John Waters films, Hairspray, where a tubby Tracy Turnblad, portrayed by Ricki Lake, is told “that the council will now meet in secret, debate your personality flaws, and come to a final decision.”

Per the tried-and-true competition reality show formula, there are many displays of alleged agony, hand-wringing, forehead-holding (mainly by the big D herself who faux laments starting this in the first place), mean girl tomfoolery and finally, fake friend hugging when the LoW (loser of the week) exits with her gigantic goody satchel of DVF loot. Unlike Project Runway or Top Chef, there are no weekly winners or immunity; only catty girls secretly breathing sighs of relief when there is one more body tossed on the scrap heap of unemployment from the Princess’ fashion palace.

DvF casting ad

House of DVF casting ad

SBATS was fortunate enough to scare up the casting notice for this farce.  In it, we learn that contestants/applicants should be ‘smart’ (mentioned twice) and ‘sophisticated’ (mentioned once) but none of these contestants really seem to be overqualified either way. In their day-to-day lives, their smarts may work for them but here, they seem to be offset by the ‘everything is high drama’ phase that generally plagues 20-somethings and is probably the REAL unspoken qualification to be on a show such as this.

Sophistication is lacking in these contestants and is put on blast by DvF’s already employed minions, who by the way, are seen smirking and looking at some of these girls with a lot of obvious disdain.

And that’s the real problem with this show: the DVF staff is requiring these girls to be something they haven’t yet grown into: really sophisticated, resourceful, MATURE women who appreciate that this isn’t some Carrie Bradshaw/Sex and the City-esque fashion fantasy. It is a real job that, in lieu of a college degree or some genuine work experience in marketing or business, requires some real sophistication, resourcefulness and smarts to sell the goods and ‘G the R’ that is the lifeblood of the House of DVF entity.

Not surprisingly, House of DVF is broadcast on E!, home to endless repeats of Sex and the City most days of the week. Their target audience are 18 – 25 year old young women and gay men who can watch mindless shows such as this and Keeping Up with the Kardashians and think of them as truly superior and infinitely important programming.

The classic Wrap Dress made popular and timeless by Diane von Furstenberg.

The classic Wrap Dress made popular and timeless by Diane von Furstenberg.

This show is really for the audience member who is mesmerized by the fashion business, really wants to be in fashion but probably doesn’t realize that the fashion industry really is a business and not just a non-stop parade of celebrity, parties, and endless glamour. At some point, getting one’s well manicured hands dirty through hard work really is what makes the dollars flow and keeps entities like the House of DVF in business so that 40 years in, they can put nonsense like this on TV instead of just hiring the flavor-of-the-moment celebrity to move the merchandise.


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