The Rolling Stones are in town this week for a few nights of concerts, but Mick and the gang’s interest in fashion week here isn’t about checking in on the locals strutting the catwalks.
Well, not entirely.
There will be plenty of leggy models, even a few celebrities among them, in Chrome Heart leathers, Agent Provocateur lingerie and Buddhist Punk Ts, all custom designed and licensed as Rolling Stones Rockware and being unveiled Sunday night in a VIP tent on the Trader Vic’s lot in Beverly Hills.
The two-year deal between the Stones and the trio of brands known for their higher-end, edgy apparel and accessories marks a new level in rock merchandising for the band.
Ant Hill Trading Inc., the entertainment merchandising and licensing company, is responsible for the Rolling Stones and many other major rock acts.
Sunday’s VIP event, which is apparently drawing a Stone or more, is called "Fashion and Licks 2002," a nod to the the current "40 Licks" compilation album and "Licks World Tour," which opened in mid-August in Toronto and continues through September 2003, ending, possibly, in Dublin. The three Los Angeles shows open Halloween night and end Monday.
Tour revenue alone for officially sanctioned merchandise is expected to reach $135.9 million. Since 1989, The Rolling Stones Inc. has raked in $1.5 billion in total revenues.
It wasn’t lost on anyone in the deal that Stones fans — many of whom have followed the group for four decades — may be as willing to shell out $200 a ticket as they are to take home better quality, albeit still logo-laden, products.
"The stuff rock bands usually have on sale to commemorate a tour is really horrible crap. We felt it would be great to offer something that’s really desirable," said Agent Provocateur’s Joseph Corre, in town from London with partner and wife Serena Rees for the event (they also marked their Melrose Avenue’s two-year anniversary Monday night with a party).
It’s still being worked out whether the products based on the Stones’ "tongue" logo will be available at any concert hall.Fans will be able to find all of it in the coming months, however, on the Rolling Stones Web site; and the brands each will carry their own goods in their respective stores internationally and on their Web sites.
Still, the designers involved insist the deal is more about collaborating with the rock ’n’ roll legends than any financial windfall.
"We may do $10,000 off this deal or $10 million. It’s really hard to tell what the deal is worth. But we did it because the Rolling Stones asked us and because we can," said Richard Stark of Chrome Hearts — who could easily pass for a rocker himself. The Los Angeles-based brand known for its luxurious, Gothic-flavored leather fashion and home furnishings has already designed 75 pieces — more might be on the way — for the runway and for production ranging in price from $165 to $100,000.
"This is definitely limited, collectible stuff," he added. Chrome Hearts has ventured into rock merchandising before, having produced T-shirts, jewelry and other items for Japanese rock stars Kyosuke Himuro.
The U.K.-based Buddhist Punk, which could not be reached for comment, has reportedly created Ts, jackets and a surfboard for the show.
Agent Provocateur, which, like Chrome Hearts is keeping mum on the details of the collection until Sunday, expects "the kind of skimpy, sexy pieces you’d find under rock ’n’ roll leather," Corre said. "We’ve all come at it with this attitude of it being rock ’n’ roll from the outside layers all the way to what’s under it all."
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