Madonna. Sarah Jessica Parker. Lindsay Lohan. Jessica Simpson. Jennifer Lopez. Mary Kate & Ashley Olsen. Sean Diddy Combs. Justin Timberlake. Beyonce Knowles. Britney Spears. The list goes on and on.
How many of our most popular young — and not so young — celebrities are also talented clothing designers?
It’s uncanny. It’s outrageous. It’s…Liza Minnelli?
Now I bet you’re expecting me to come down hard on these celebrities for cashing in on their popularity and sticking their names on clothing lines they (let’s be honest) have very little involvement in other than some modeling and personal appearances (and collecting their paycheck).
But I won’t. I don’t see much difference between this and true designers taking credit for the work of their design staff. (We won’t name names)
Most people understand that brands like Yves Saint Laurent, Dior, Halston, and Balenciaga are designed by others. They have to be: these designers have been dead for years.
At this point — when most clothes are made in the far East regardless of brand — does it matter whose name is on the label if you like the clothes? And if you don’t like them, are you going to buy them just because Beyonce is on the tag? (I guess that’s what manufacturers are hoping.)
When did this start, exactly? I know Esther Williams endorsed Cole bathing suits back in the 40’s and later started her own bathing suit company. But that sort of made sense, right? She spent a lot of time swimming.
And people can be multi-talented and have multiple careers. Tony Curtis was also a painter; Ginger Rogers liked to sculpt; Phyllis Diller has her own brand of canned chili. (That’s not a joke; I’ve tried it.)
But singer Jessica Simpson has an entire clothing line: shoes, dresses, intimate apparel, luggage, you name it. She is big business Perhaps busy Jessica does have some creative control, but not even prolific Karl Largerfeld could design the amount of stuff she’s offering in her collection.
Then there are people like Kathy Ireland and Jaclyn Smith. These two women are powerhouse brands unto themselves — clothes, home collections, wigs, make up. It’s mind boggling.
Fashion is a crowded world and a celebrity name obviously helps move the merchandise. But it’s only going to fly if the clothes work, right? And it’s going to have to be competitively priced, especially today. Shoppers are pretty savvy and have a lot of options, after all.
Readers, what’s your take? Would you seek out Britney’s shoes or Jessica Simpson’s because you like the singer behind it or her personal style?
Does the celebrity fashion designer thing annoy you?
Are celebrity fashion designers good for fashion or bad — or just (cynical) business as usual?
Your thoughts, please!
When native New Yorker Peter Lappin bought his first sewing machine two years ago to hem a pair of thrift store jeans, little did he know he was initiating a journey that would bring him fame and fortune. While awaiting his fortune he stays busy writing “the world’s most popular men’s sewing blog,” Male Pattern Boldness, and now contributing to BurdaStyle.
“For more than twenty years I’d lived on the edge of the Garment District without even knowing what a seam ripper was. Now I rip daily!”