By and  on September 15, 2005

NEW YORK — St. John has landed Angelina Jolie at last.

The Irvine, Calif.-based company will announce a multimillion-dollar deal with the 30-year-old actress at a press conference at noon today at the New York Public Library — smack around the corner from the fashion week tents of Bryant Park. The announcement will confirm a report in Tuesday's WWD.

And if that doesn't create enough hubbub, ad executives said the deal could raise the stakes for actresses appearing in fashion ad campaigns. Speculation raged Wednesday over how much Jolie will receive from the deal, with amounts stretching up to $12 million for a multiyear agreement. Some sources also claim she may be given a stake in the company and a seat on its board. The deal was reportedly struck by Jolie's agency, CAA, and Starworks, which worked on behalf of St. John.

The agreement also could be structured the way actors negotiate deals with movies, giving Jolie a percentage of St. John's revenues, which last year totaled $395.6 million. There also could be a contribution made by St. John to Jolie's various charitable endeavors.

St. John representatives said Richard Cohen, chief executive officer, was not available for comment Wednesday because he was en route to New York for the press conference. David Lipman, chairman of Lipman, St. John's ad agency, couldn't be reached for comment, either.

The pace of celebrity involvement in fashion is increasing at breakneck speed, from launching their own lines to appearing in ad campaigns. Elizabeth Hurley and, most recently, Gwyneth Paltrow each have received a reported $3 million for appearing in ads for Estée Lauder; Charlize Theron received an estimated $3 million to $5 million in a multiyear deal to be the face of Dior's J'Adore, and Nicole Kidman is said to have been paid $5 million for doing the campaign, including a film and TV commercial, for Chanel No.5.

For a celebrity to get a stake in the business is unusual, but not unheard of.

"It's not unprecedented," said Peter Arnell, chairman and chief creative executive officer of the Arnell Group. "She might receive the revenue as if she had a stake in it; she'll take a percentage based on sales," he speculated, adding that it would make her more committed to the project. "She'll have a much more personal interest, which will make it work better."

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