'Rip the Runway': fashion for the rest of us


If Fashion Week, with all of its skinny, pale girls in muted gauze, feels a little too uptown and staid to you, let us recommend the seventh annual "Rip the Runway" special, airing Monday, March 21, on BET. Hosted by Victoria's Secret supermodel Selita Ebanks and actor/Calvin Klein underwear model Mehcad Brooks (The Game), the special is a fast-paced hour of music and fashion from some of today's hottest performers and top designers.

"This is a TV show where the whole idea is that fashion is fun," Stephen Hill, president of music programming and specials at BET, says. "This is not a fashion show for people who sit in the front row of Fashion Week three seasons ahead. We purposely are showing spring/summer -- the stuff you can go out and buy right now."

The relationship between music and fashion is undeniable, but rarely is it presented in such a way that makes you actually enjoy it. Hill and his team seem to know a secret formula that makes people wish they were able to hang backstage during commercial breaks. But only for the breaks -- because with a duo as beautiful as Ebanks and Brooks handling the emceeing, music by the likes of Keri Hilson, Wiz Khalifa, Fabolous, Lloyd, Melanie Fiona, Miguel and New Boyz, and models wearing styles from Rachel Roy, Tennille White, LaQuan Smith and others, you won't want to miss a second of the action.

Where else but BET could you find a runway willing to share space with hoodies, high-tops and hip-hop without forgetting the high fashion? Nowhere. This special happily breaks the traditional rules of fashion by embracing curves, facial expressions and coed runways.

"Again, that's all part of making it accessible," Hill says.

"We have the 'Size Sexy' section featuring bigger-sized models and the 'High/Low' section where we take an item that might be a little high for your budget and pair it with items that are lower priced."

That's all well and good. But the women in the office just want to know if Brooks takes his shirt off during the show. Tune in and find out.

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