LUXURY UNDER THE MICROSCOPE: “Revealing: Extravagance” isn’t your average fashion TV special. There’s no design contestants having meltdowns, sharp scissors, judges or biting criticism. The first of four specials on the Sundance Channel, “Revealing,” which airs Sept. 20 at 10 p.m., examines how modern society has become obsessed with luxury.

Reporter Joe Zee interviews Iman, Zac Posen, Narciso Rodriguez, Carolina Herrera and Valerie Steele, among others. He goes undercover to search for a Bling Ring, a gang of high-end thieves, called the Rainbow Girls.

This story first appeared in the August 27, 2013 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“Revealing” features several social experiments. One involves dressing a suburban soccer mom to the nines in couture clothing, Christian Louboutin shoes and a Birkin bag. Will her new duds serve her well or make her the object of scorn and envy in her community? Another experiment involves tricking up a sample sale with crazy items such as a rubber chicken handbag and grass-lined flip-flops to see if shoppers will succumb to the pressure of staying on trend and buy the planted merchandise.

Zee declined to reveal the themes for the three future specials but said, “They’ll be equally provocative and thoughtful.” Zee, creative director of Elle, said his time is split 50-50 between television and the magazine. “I’m the executive producer of ‘Revealing’ and I’ve been doing a lot behind the scenes,” he said. “I’m getting this up and running.”

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