Celebrity lines are making a scene at WWDMAGIC.
Whether piloted by a bevy of blondes with their own reality TV shows, a teen songstress or a male rapper who’s behind some very women-friendly denim, celeb lines are threatening to steal the limelight at WWDMAGIC.
“[The show] is obviously a reflection of what’s going on in the marketplace, and there are just more celebrity lines out there than ever before,” said a MAGIC spokeswoman. “Companies have seen the success of celebrity-powered lines in the streetwear market, so now people in other categories are launching them as well.”
The spokeswoman said she’s confident that star-powered lines have already proven to have staying power. “Sean John, Phat Farm, JLo…those are all formidable powers in the apparel industry, and that’s showed people that celeb lines aren’t just a fad. We haven’t reached the saturation point yet. People assumed we have, and we haven’t — we’ve just seen lines with a broader reach.”
Vendors using the show as a launchpad say WWDMAGIC has certain star qualities of its own.
“MAGIC serves as a great platform for exhibitors to showcase their brands. There are a number of key buyers, media and industry insiders and influencers on-site throughout the duration of the show,” said Randi Shinder, president and founder of Dessert Beauty, Jessica Simpson’s cosmetics line, which bowed at WWDMAGIC’s February edition.
Here’s a roundup of the celebrity lines — and in some cases the celebs themselves — slated to be on the show floor.
OK, so she’s not quite a celeb herself, but as the daughter of glam-o-rama romance author Jackie Collins and the niece of actress Joan Collins, Tiffany Lerman does have a certain amount of Hollywood cred.
Lerman’s line of diaper and cosmetics bags, called Chester Handbags, will feature honeysuckle and sweetpea prints, as well as multicolored stripes and Fifties-inspired florals and graphics. Silhouettes range from a basic makeup bag at $11 wholesale to a vinyl and nylon diaper bag that packs bottles, a cosmetic bag and a changing pad, among other goodies, into a compact 12-by-13-inch frame, at $62 wholesale.
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“In terms of cosmetic bags, there was nothing between really expensive French froufrou ones and those cheap drugstore numbers,” said the Los Angeles-based Lerman, whose line is six years old but is only just now making it to WWDMAGIC. “We’re ready for a show now. I can fulfill demand at a quicker pace and am more prepared.”
Nicky Hilton, girl-around-town and, it must be noted, former Parsons and Fashion Institute of Technology student, will introduce her Chick by Nicky Hilton collection, featuring turquoise-stitched dyed denim, cherub-printed minis and oxford shirts and various layering pieces, including mesh tanks, chiffon hoodies and the odd chain-mail top.
The contemporary-leaning junior collection, co-produced with New York- and Hong Kong-based licensing firm Ben Bin, wholesales from $25 to $150. Nicky herself will host a party at Skin at The Palms Hotel & Casino tonight from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m., perhaps with a certain even more notorious sibling in tow, and is expected to appear at a 2 p.m. press conference today in N254 at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
A new line competing for the hearts and wallets of Teen People readers is actress-singer Mandy Moore’s T-shirt collection, Mblem. Wholesale priced from $26 to $32, it features silhouettes from standard short-sleeved crewnecks to ribbed V-necks to a daring scoopneck, in colors like dusty rose, wine, cucumber, berry and basic primaries. Some of the Ts feature sprinklings of Moore’s favorite song lyrics by such artists as Cat Stevens, Carly Simon, Janis Joplin and Marvin Gaye, some of whom Moore pays tribute to on her latest album, “Coverage.”
Mblem is already sold at Canal Jeans and Lounge in New York, Kitson and Fred Segal in Los Angeles and Active Endeavors in Chicago. Parent company 2 Love enlists celebrities to design limited-edition T-shirts, with a percentage of sales going to the star’s charity of choice. For Mblem, 10 percent of proceeds are benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, an organization dedicated to funding cancer research and education.
“She’s the dream buxom blond,” said Chris Detert, marketing director for the Los Angeles-based Von Dutch Co. and the de facto spokesperson for reality starlet Anna Nicole Smith, who is launching her first apparel line with Von Dutch. Called Tex-Sex — “a play on Tex-Mex” and a reference to Smith’s hometown of Mejada, Tex. — the line is strongly denim-based, with a focus on rhinestones and studs, fake fur, velvets and pink — “very much the kinds of details you’d expect Anna Nicole to be interested in,” Detert said. Expect skin-baring tanks and camisoles to match the denim.
Smith herself will be on hand from 1 to 3 p.m. today, Tuesday and Wednesday, said Detert, and plans for a party and a news conference were in the works as of press time.
Christa Hastie, a former castmate of “Survivor: Pearl Islands,” will tackle the wilds of Las Vegas with her Christa Hilda contemporary dress line. Hastie has been sewing all her life, but her hobby came in particularly handy when she whipped up outfits for herself and fellow survivors using a sewing machine and fabric won during one of the show’s challenges.
Now, several of Hastie’s ex-castmates will repay the favor by modeling her looks at a party to be held at the Las Vegas Planet Hollywood, Wednesday from 8 to 11 p.m.
The dresses are made mostly from crinkled silks and a triple-weave chiffon, with plenty of floral prints, pinks and fuchsias. Silhouettes are often strapless or spaghetti-strapped, with low waists and what Hastie called “feathers” — narrow panels of fabric extending down the skirt. “I love ‘Lord of the Rings’ and fantasy-type things,” said Hastie. “The line is very flowy, almost fairy-like, as though you’re walking through a forest.”
The dresses wholesale between $50 and $180, and Hastie is aiming for distribution in such stores as Nordstrom, Macy’s and Neiman Marcus.
Pamela Anderson will launch a junior-oriented version of her signature contemporary line, the Pamela Collection, which bowed at MAGIC in February. “We’ve accomplished being in stores like Planet Blue, Lisa Klein and Kitson, and now we’re ready for a different, more mass market,” said Anna Rudy, creative director for the Los Angeles-based Pamela Collection.
The junior line, priced about a third less than the contemporary collection, will primarily target department stores. “People assume that the line’s going to be spandex with rhinestones all over it, but then they find it’s not at all what they expected,” Rudy said. The junior line’s emphasis is on well-fitting,
low-cut denim in acid washes and knit tops that lend themselves to layering, such as T-shirts, camis and hoodies in white and in complementary shades of mango, pink, green and aqua. Anderson will also launch the Pamela Anderson Intimates line of vintage-inspired lingerie at MAGIC.
Cat Bags, a collection of funky but functional laptop computer cases from Christine Baumgartner, is a reverse play on the well-trodden route from celebrity to handbag designer. Bag designer Baumgartner became a red carpet regular after stepping out with husband-to-be Kevin Costner. Now, her famous fiancé will be by her side when she launches her line of colorful fake fur cases at WWDMAGIC.
Bubbly chanteuse and reality TV star Jessica Simpson will unveil her Taste collection from Dessert Beauty. The fragrance, body shimmer powder and lip gloss are based on her fave flavors: Tahitian vanilla, white chocolate, coconut cream, apricot and honey. The merchandise will be sold via dessertbeauty.com, as well as through Sephora, Nordstrom, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Ulta, QVC and Holt Renfrew.
Another celebrity relative with a not-quite-brand-new line: Chiara Hardaway, niece of Stevie Wonder, will present her Lula B. collection of mostly tie-dyed jersey-knit cotton T-shirts in various silhouettes. Wholesale prices run from $18 for a solid ribbed tank to $28 for a long-sleeved tie-dyed shirt.
“I really wanted to put a fresh, modern spin on tie-dye,” said Hardaway. Spring looks include rhinestone-studded T-shirts, a polo dress, a ruffled miniskirt and Seventies-style jogging shorts. The year-old Los Angeles-based line is sold in specialty boutiques and department stores, including Tres Jolie in Los Angeles, Fred Segal in Santa Monica, Calif., and Henri Bendel in New York.
The other bad Boy in the bunch is George O’Dowd, better known as Boy George. He is launching three mostly unisex collections — B-Rude, Really Rude and Rude Core. The line is mainly T-shirts, some with graphics of Boy George in drag or masquerading as an evil clown, that are designed, silk-screened and hand-dyed by BG himself.
Miniskirts, some spattered with paint and/or sequins, feature confrontational sayings like “You Should Have Said That A Long Time Ago” and “I Just Don’t Love You Anymore.” The line’s antifashion underpinnings are summed up by a crimson wool miniskirt with a green appliqué that commands “Don’t F***ing Tell Me What To Wear.”
Wholesale prices were not available at press time.
The London-based line’s appearance in the edge at MAGIC marks its U.S. launch, and Boy George, with notorious club kids Richie Rich and Annette Lapore along for the ride, will DJ in the edge Lounge Tuesday afternoon to promote the effort.
Chart-topping rapper Nelly will herald the return of Apple Bottoms, a denim collection that garnered great industry buzz for its superior fit for women with lush figures, but suffered from distribution problems. Sixty new styles are bowing at MAGIC, many of them tracksuit-based active groupings in bright colors. In addition to the brand’s staple denim jackets and jeans, there are snug cotton and Lycra spandex “catsuits,” cotton and Lycra paneled miniskirts trimmed in satin ruffles and shiny polyester-blend baseball jackets with a figure-hugging cut. Wholesale prices range from $13 for T-shirts to $41 for jeans.
A reality series on a yet-to-be-named network that will chronicle the search for an Apple Bottoms spokesmodel will be officially announced at the show, and an accompanying party is in the works, as is a live interview with Nelly via satellite.
“We want the public to know about the line, not just people inside the trade,” said a spokeswoman, noting the company wants to get the word out that it is Nelly’s line, “but also that it’s a really good pair of jeans, and fashionable, too.”