This morning’s WWD has an excellent article that illustrates how the affair between Hollywood and the fashion industry has moved beyond dressing starlets and into the realm of finance. And as my forthcoming Manifesto will illustrate, while I am certainly in favor of financing designers and fashion labels born of the vision of designers, I am a bit hesitant and suspicious about the Hollywood dollar. While the article claims that the influence of the "cinematic eye" can do wonders for the brand, I am left guessing why Tom Ford finds mention next to Diesel (?)– and this is a huge problem.
And don’t misunderstand, the issue not about some "sanctity" of the "real" designer and some mythical world where no one "sells out", nor is it about limiting anyone’s creative potential just because their face is on a screen. However, when Hollywood is involved, so are individual egos and the hubris associated with the money backing celebrity branding. Mandy Moore is not a designer. Her name should not be on any label. The people who actually design her clothing should have their names on the label. Period. If she likes their designs she can offer financial means for them to establish their own label– sans her name.
But Hollywood is about the blockbuster– and even it’s just a one hit wonder the goal is to take is to break the bank, not cultivate creativity. And this might be fine, for Hollywood– but is this really the direction for fashion? Stay tuned for Monday’s Manifesto– Joanne Molina for Second City Style
Welcome to the third stage of fashion’s romance with celebrity and entertainment.
hiring celebrities as their faces in ad campaigns and on the red carpet
was phase one, followed by the celebrity-as-designer (a phenomenon that
shows no signs of abating — pick a star and she’s bound to be talking
of launching her own fashion collection because, of course, every woman
wants to dress like her).
But, observers say, it’s now a new
world and entertainment bigwigs are emerging as brand owners, backed by
powerful investment funds.
Recent transactions include Harvey
Weinstein’s acquisition of Halston, backed by Hilco Consumer Capital,
and "American Idol" and "Pop Idol" mogul Simon Fuller’s partnership
with Roland Mouret, who plans to unveil his new RM collection during
couture week in Paris in July, as well as his deal with Victoria
Beckham to launch her own fashion line, DVB.
And a host of other
Hollywood-fashion deals are brewing, according to sources, suggesting
there’s no business like showroom business.
a more critical role in driving brand awareness than ever before," said
David Baram, president of Beverly Hills talent management company The
Firm. Previously, Baram served as chief executive officer of Pony after
The Firm became one of the first entertainment players to acquire a
fashion brand in 2001, flipping Pony less than two years later.
took it from zero to $50 million and it became a situation where the
company started to grow faster than our infrastructure allowed, so we
sold it," he said in an interview.
Baram is also managing
director at VMG Equity Partners, a private equity fund looking to make
acquisitions in consumer-product companies. "We are looking at some
fashion companies right now," he said, declining to name them.
sources indicate a "major celebrity manager" is corralling investors to
relaunch several historic fashion brands, similar to what Weinstein
plans to do with Halston.
Observers said they’re not surprised Hollywood has deemed fashion ready for its close-up.
certainly have an advantage in terms of getting exposure, and we all
know the right celebrities help sell fashion. Managed correctly,
[fashion] can be a very profitable and successful business. There’s
also a certain allure and sexiness to buying fashion that you’re not
going to get from buying a cement company," said Robert Burke of Robert
Burke Associates, a luxury consultancy in New York.
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