Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water (or store for that matter), comes this news from the Financial Times…the celeb-designer hook-up trend may have a longer shelf life than thought (or wanted). Know what that means? Expect a clothing line from Paula Abdul, lingerie from Tara Reid, frocks by Melissa Minnillo and shoes by Heather Mills. This is going to get ugly.
As pictured above, today’s much anticipated launch of the Kate Moss clothing line for Top Shop, has had the build-up and hype of a Hollywood blockbuster that would make any marketing firm salivate. This will only further the trend that allows celebrities to move from mere faces in fashion to creators of their own labels.
There is obviously tons of money to be made in the celebrity retail market. In the US, Jennifer Lopez’s brand generates a reputed $300m annually; P.Diddy’s Sean John range boasts sales of more than $450m (both figures include licensed products such as fragrance), and Elle Mac-pherson’s Intimates underwear range has an annual turnover of $76m worldwide.
And the list keeps growing: Lily Allen has a deal with New Look; Scarlett Johansson with Reebok; Kylie Minogue with H&M on swimwear; and Sienna Miller with Pepe jeans.
But are these collaborations just a fad or are they likely to go out of fashion as quickly as they came in? While fashion commentators may be increasingly cynical (like me), analysts believe they will endure because the pay-off for retailers remains strong (money talks and b.s. walks).
Celebrities have long been "an acceptable part of fashion and the selling of prestige fashion", says Christopher Everard, analyst at Interlife, the luxury industry analysts, and there is no reason this should not apply to less exclusive sectors of the market.
Teaming up with a celebrity name – whether a cult designer or a superstar – helps to mobilize customer awareness, highlight a brand in the fashion consciousness and get customers to drop serious coin.
Yet, when the M by Madonna line for H&M failed to sell out on the first day, critics were quick to suggest it was a sign that the celebrity tie-up was losing its hold. The store was quick to refute the allegations. It suggested that, unlike the limited "drops" it planned for collaborations with designers Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Viktor Rolf, Madonna’s range was intended to remain on shop floors for the duration of the campaign.
Celebrity clothing lines appear to do best when they come with at least an illusion of unattainability (through price or limited production). Even though there were long lines at Top Shop last night, Kate Moss has incorporated plenty of limited-edition pieces to fashionistas content.
Read: "Celebrity tie-ups look set to have long shelf life", by Edwina Ings-Chambers