When a branded web series comes back around for a second season, you know something is working. We weren’t sure what to make of Haute & Bothered when it first bowed to Teen.com’s faithful over a year ago, with lead sponsor LG Mobile on board the project from Alloy Media + Marketing.
Now with the premiere today of the fashion drama’s second season—and LG Mobile once again leading the charge—it’s worth looking deeper at Alloy’s first web original to come back for more.
Watching the opening episode, it’s clear that Haute is making no apologies for being essentially a scripted version of Project Runway. Swap out the 30 year-old designers with high schoolers attending the fictional Manhattan Fashion Institute’s (MFI) exclusive Design Studio program. There’s no Tim Gunn, but master teacher Marie Helen is a passable Heidi Klum, even nailing the German supermodel’s deliberate reality TV diction. The top student in the design studio even gets to show their collection at, surprise, NY Fashion Week.
The drama that unfolds is your typical Mean Girls fare, only at MFI it’s not just the girls that team up and get caddy. “Clander” is a sharp tongued duo of Clay and Alexander, who think they run to the roost. Taylor Gildersleeve plays the new girl Clare, an import from LA completely green to the NY fashion scene.
Created by young writers Amanda Harlib and Laura Sandler, the 11-ep second season rolls out new episodes every Tuesday, though there’s also a slew of “True MFI Stories” that serve to set up the characters—and give them some hands-on time with LG’s phones. Samantha, the dim but adorable fashionista, even digresses into showing off an interactive music app on one of LG’s touch phones in middle of her interview.
With distribution through Alloy’s own in-house digital network, which reaches over 50 million (primarily teen) consumers, according to comScore, the series has a healthy dose of fuel in its tank to deliver a win for LG. And there’s enough on site “engagement” inducing extras, like a virtual tour of the neighborhood of Haute & Bothered world, that the company behind Gossip Girl and Vampire Diaries might be teeing up for even more.
The digital arm of talent agency UTA, which has a content partnership with Alloy Media + Marketing and its newly created digital division, Alloy Digital, helped develop the series and anchor the deal with LG.
Clarification: Though Alloy Media + Marketing is the parent company of Alloy Entertainment which produced the Private series, Haute is not an AE production.