Page Six reports that after 18 cycles, Tyra Banks has dismissed creative director Jay Manuel, photographer Nigel Barker and runway coach J. Alexander from America’s Next Top Model. The three long-time cast members were notified yesterday that their contracts would not be renewed for cycle 19.
The dismissals are said to be part of a major shakeup at the show that will reportedly see “bloggers and fashion insiders with a strong Web presence” added to the show. Blogger Bryan Boy’s name is being thrown around, though he says “nothing is in the works as of now.”
Executive producer Ken Mok said in a statement: “Nigel Barker, Jay Manuel and J. Alexander have been an integral part of the ‘America’s Next Top Model’ brand and they helped turn this show into the household name it is today. They have been amazing assets to the show and will always be a part of the ‘Top Model’ family. We will continue to actively work with each of them on future projects.”
I’m gutted. How could you do this to me, Tyra? Miss J, Mr. Jay (who wrote a blog post about it) and Nigel have been fixtures in my life over the past 9 years (has it really been that long?!) of ANTM viewing. Where will I get my weekly Nigel fix from now on?
How do you feel about the firings, my fellow ANTM fans – are you as devastated as I am?
Image via Styleite
Remember that time I met Jay Manuel? Well, we became pen pals after that, and just days before his second LG Fashion Week outing – for ATTITUDE by Jay Manuel, of course – he sent me a note inviting me backstage to witness the pre-show magic, and I accepted.
OK, I made all of that up. I was backstage before his runway presentation, but I invited myself. If not for some lovely readers of The Backseat Stylers, who happened to be the volunteers manning the dressing area and who were too nice to tell me where to go, I wouldn’t have these behind-the-scenes shots to share. So a shout out is in order (you know who you are), and I hope you get called back for the volunteer gig next season, despite me throwing you under the fashionable bus in this here post.
So why the sneaking around anyway? Well, it’s Jay Manuel, first of all, and I’m a long-time ANTM fan. Second, I’d heard that last season’s stylist, New York-based June Ambrose, had been replaced by none other than Canada’s own big name stylist, George Antonopoulos, and I wanted to see him in action. And third, the clothes! Manuel’s Fall 2011 collection featured some very covetable pieces, namely classic outerwear in vibrant colours, and I was anxious to see how he’d follow that up. The verdict? Manuel has some equally lust-worthy designs in store for Spring; the fuchsia snakeskin-print blouse, one-shoulder loose-knit sweater, and short, coral-hued jacket are all on my radar.
See complete runway show photos at Toronto Life. What’s your verdict - will you be paying Sears a visit come Spring for a piece of the ATTITUDE action too?
Jay Manuel loves my style. It’s true – he told me so; we obviously share a love for grey office attire. Never you mind that he probably says this to all the girls…I’ll take it! This little exchange between ANTM star and fangirl (i.e. me), by the way, occurred during a media cocktail at the Sears flagship in Toronto earlier this week. Manuel and his 1000-kilowatt smile were in town for a personal appearance in support of his Fall 2011 collection for ATTITUDE, Sears’ in-house label.
But did I love his style back? I browsed the ATTITUDE by Jay Manuel racks and found classic, office-ready separates, coats in punchy colours, and even some chic bags and shoes. The offerings were as I remembered from the runway show at Toronto Fashion Week – pleasantly surprising in their trendiness and overall appeal. And well-priced, too.
The standouts in the collection were the vibrant coloured outerwear pieces by far. “There’s no reason we should look drab on the outside for the whole winter!” said Manuel, and he’s absolutely right. So in the name of doing what Mr. Jay says, I’m heading back to Sears for that indigo collarless jacket that first piqued my interest at the runway show. What about you – will you be sporting ATTITUDE this winter?
I’ve been an America’s Next Top Model follower since before Cycle 1 winner Adrianne Curry married the dad from The Brady Bunch and before seasons were dubbed ‘cycles’ by the one name wonder Tyra. When a Canadian version was created and ANTM‘s photo shoot director Jay Manuel, one of my favourite ANTM personalities, took over in Season 2, I became hooked on that show too. I’ve always been a fan of Mr. Jay, so when it was announced that he’d signed a multi-year deal with Sears Canada to become the Creative Director of their private line, ATTITUDE, my interest in the department store chain was piqued for the first time in…well, ever.
Manuel’s first collection for ATTITUDE, for Fall 2011, was presented during LG Fashion Week. The hype that built up in the days leading up to the show, fueled by (false) rumours of appearances by Tyra Banks and Gwen Stefani, led to a runway room filled to the rafters. By the time the show started an hour late with an oversized Jay Manuel photo as the backdrop and a video montage of the man himself busily working on the collection, most audience members, including myself, had lost all patience. When a stunning Yasmin Warsame rounded the corner in a white pant suit, however, all was forgiven; she looked incredible (so much so that I temporarily forgot to take photos and missed snapping the opening look). From then on, a stream of Top Model alumni, including past ANTM winners Danielle Evans and McKey Sullivan and CNTM winners Rebecca Hardy and Meaghan Waller, walked the runway in an impressive array of colourful winter outerwear, chic office-ready separates and fun evening pieces.
So has Jay Manuel done what I thought was impossible and made Sears a legitimate destination for cool clothing and accessories for the fashion conscious? As I tweeted that evening, a big question mark remains until the collection hits stores this August. Jay Manuel fan or not, until I can actually feel the fabrics and assess the quality and fit in person, the verdict is out on whether these pieces will be worth the $12.97 to $139.99 price points Sears will be charging. If it passes the test though, I look forward to adding a certain blue military-inspired coat to my Fall wardrobe!
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