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Fashion Star, Episode 10: And The Winner Is...

The finales of fashion reality shows I've followed in the past have always disappointed. Too often, the judges string along the most talented candidate until the very end—only to choose the underdog with the compelling back story and plucky personality instead. Or, as I thought would happen in this case, the person with the broadest commercial appeal (aka money-making potential) triumphs. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the last episode of Fashion Star yesterday. For once, I agreed with the verdict. Here's what went down:

To help the panel make a final decision, the designers were told to create a mini collection of three pieces tailored for each store's customer base—nine items in all. Instead of bidding on the products, the buyers gave their opinions after each runway show and then met with the mentors to choose one winner to receive the $6 million contract.

There were standout pieces in each range—I really loved Nzimiro's cropped red pants and the flowing floral maxi dresses made by Ronnie—but I felt that Kara Laricks undoubtedly had the most interesting and fashion forward presentation. Clearly, the judges were struck by her innovation as well because, in the end, they choose her designs over safer, more traditionally sellable options from the competition.

As the first ever "Fashion Star," her winning collections (which include some items you didn't see last night!) are available online and in-store now. Click through the slideshow below to start shopping.

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