The Telegraph
Tuesday , January 15 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Learn how to dress for the queen, for a beach party and for the red carpet with Ultimate Shopper

If Sex and the City and The Devil Wears Prada guide your inner voice, then TLC’s new show 末 Ultimate Shopper 末 should be up your alley. Week after week, four contestants will lose their mind shopping for a new wardrobe. Each will have 20 minutes to splurge but then comes the challenge.

Fashion guru Brix Smith-Start, one of the judges on the show and owner of Start London, a tailoring boutique and an online store, talks “shop” with t2

How would you describe the show?

Contestants are let loose in a dream departmental store that has everything one needs to style their wardrobe. They get to dress themselves — minus a budget, within their comfort zone and personality to meet the challenges of the show.

What challenges do the participants face?

Each episode has three challenges with themes. The first one is the “posh” challenge. For example, a person has to dress to meet the Queen or for a day out at Royal Ascot. This calls for refined tastes. The second challenge is about high glamour it’s sexy, something like a yacht or a beach party in Miami. The last is the red-carpet challenge. For example, dressing for the Golden Globes. We provide each contestant with a make-up artist and hairstylist.

And what makes it so difficult for a contestant?

The 20-minute time frame! Being allowed to choose whatever you want in departmental dreamland and having less than 20 minutes to do so can be nerve-racking. Contestants go into the store and begin to panic.

What sets Ultimate Shopper apart from other style shows?

Besides that, contestants don’t shop on a budget. The winner of the series gets to keep all the outfits she has put together. It’s like letting a child loose in a candy store!

Any memorable moment from the shop floor?

A really shocking and upsetting one actually. A 20-year-old glamorous girl and a 50-year-old curvy lady had the theme “picnic with your boyfriend”. The older lady put together this gorgeous floral print outfit. The younger girl loved the outfit and felt she would look better in it. At the end of the challenge I said: “Did you replicate her outfit because you thought you would look sexier?” The young girl, however, couldn’t read the message.

And that would be

Older women have been dressing themselves longer. They understand their body type and silhouettes that complement them. It doesn’t matter how young, toned or good-looking you are; it is your ability to understand what suits your body type.

What were some of the fashion disasters?

Inappropriate dressing! One contestant had put together an over-the-top outfit for a challenge that required her to put together a dress to meet the Queen. It was short, scandalous and completely out of line.