You’ve got to hand it to the folks at Bravo. When they first arrived on the scene it seemed they peaked with James Lipton and the occasional Queer Eye. But somewhere along the line they discovered the power of supermodels. First came Heidi Klum. Then Padma Lakshmi. And now Niki Taylor of Make Me a Supermodel, airing Thursdays.

Of course, we’re not saying that all it takes is a pretty face to make a successful television show, but based on the network’s recent success, it doesn’t seem to hurt. And having a model as established as Taylor adds a certain level of credibility as well.

“Niki is fashion,” says celebrity stylist Joseph Delate, whose clients include Iman, Kyra Sedgwick and Anna Paquin. “When you think of Niki, you think all-American, beautiful, classic.”

The former face of Cover Girl began modeling at age 14 and set a record in 1996 when she appeared on the covers of six major women’s magazines in the same month. She has more than 400 worldwide covers to her credit. And while that success can be directly attributed to her face and figure, it’s her style that has tongues wagging on the set of Make Me a Supermodel.

“She’s established and what the kids on the show are trying to achieve,” Delate says. “It’s really interesting to watch. If Niki wears her hair back, the girls all wear their hair back. If Niki wears a new designer, the kids all know who the designer is. It’s a real compliment to her.”

On the show, Taylor’s natural inclination is toward high-end American fashion.

“She loves Donna Karan, Ralph Lauren and Michael Kors,” Delate says. “Her silhouette is more tailored than experimental.”

She’s also taken a liking to newer designers such as Rachel Roy and Adam Lippes, incorporating several of their pieces on the series — such as a forest green ruffled leather jacket from Roy and a charcoal jacket from Lippes.

When the show invaded the tents at Bryant Park in New York during Fashion Week, Delate put Taylor in a beautifully fitted black Donna Karan dress with a plunging V-neck. Over that he added a simple black crepe trench coat from Michael Kors. He then finished off the look with a pair of amazing ankle boots with peep toes and cutout heels from Chloe.

“The look was pretty eclectic,” Delate admits, “but it was really well-received … . The shoes were an unexpected twist. And Niki’s footwear is very fashion forward — that’s her most important accessory. When she sits at the judging table, you see her shoes. They end up being more important than the clothes she is wearing.”

Taylor’s shoe fetish covers many of the usual suspects, including Chloe, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin, Viktor & Rolf and Galliano.

Posted by:Michael Korb