tuned into fashion: fashion television

September 25, 2013 in stop look & listen by editor


Show: Fashion Television
Host: Jeanne Beker
Network: CityTV
Circa: 1985- 2012

I Want My FTV “Fashion for the uninitiated” is how ‘Fashion Television’ was described at its inception. Launched as an irreverent younger sister-type to the more scholarly ‘Style with Elsa Klensch’, FT began as a modest, 15-minute clip show fronted by television personality, Jeanne Beker. Inspired by MTV and its quick-witted jockey/ music video set-up, Beker played the FT VJ role, providing commentary over mini vignettes and traveling all over the world to cover the latest in fashion, art and design. FT’s imprint grew exponentially in the 1990s, landing in the US in ’93 and eventually becoming syndicated in over 130 countries. Like that other legendary Toronto-based fashion program, ‘Fashion File’ (yeah, those stylish Canadians had foresight), FT served as a pre-internet window into the exclusive fashion industry for those of us who didn’t live in NYC, Milan or Paris. Each episode of ‘Fashion Television’ opened with the 80s new wave hit ‘Obsession’ by Animotion and even today, a few notes of the song bring back happy memories of late-night FT watching on VH-1.

We Dream of Jeanne Born in Toronto, Ontario, Jeanne Beker had years of on-air experience before fronting ‘Fashion Television’. Her theatrical background made her a perfect fit for the small screen, where she produced and presented segments for several different entertainment programs on Canada’s CityTV network. Beker made the jump into fashion while FTV was in pre-production, convincing the producers that she’d be a better host than any of the models that had been auditioning for the gig. Incredibly committed, she stayed with the show throughout its entire 27-year-run. Beker chronicles the ups-and-downs of her stylish life in the book Finding Myself In Fashion

Cable Vision In 2001, the show’s success prompted the creation of “FashionTelevisionChannel”, a 24-hour cable network devoted completely to fashion and design. However, as the Internet rose up, delivering instant gratification and access to fashion fans in a few simple keystrokes, FT just couldn’t keep up with the ‘Fashion Police’ of the world. In April 2012, the official demise of the show was announced by Jeanne Beker — somewhat ironically — via Tweet: ‘So surreal. This dream is over: After 27 glorious years, FT production ceased today.’