In the constant quest to add hyphens to their job titles, stars of both the big and small screen and musical charts are following in the steps of Jennifer Lopez and others by picking up sketchbooks, swatches and deals to
create clothing and accessory lines. In the past few years, a growing number of celebrity designers have chosen the MAGIC marketplace as the venue to unveil their sartorial statements. This season is no exception.
“It is a great place to go and network with store owners and other designers, see what new things are happening in fashion and show off what you have created in hopes of getting the industry’s movers and shakers interested in your product,” said “American Idol” host and radio DJ Ryan Seacrest, who is launching his first collection in Las Vegas. “It also gives me a great opportunity to do a little shopping for myself before everything hits the public. I need some new clothes for this season of ‘Idol.’”
Here’s a roundup of A-list designers expected to turn up the wattage on the Sin City show floor.
Tabloid-filling socialite, sister of Paris and sometimes E! Network personality Nicky Hilton is making another trip to WWDMAGIC on behalf of the Benvin Industries-licensed Chick by Nicky Hilton, which is based in New York and available at better specialty shops and department stores starting this month.
Chick’s spring offerings include denim jeans and jackets that wholesale from $31 to $58.50, tanks and Ts that wholesale from $12.50 to $23.50, tunics that wholesale from $29 to $32 and activewear that wholesales for $48 a set.
“I have always loved clothes and I grew up going to fashion shows across the globe,” said Hilton. “Those experiences molded my design style and creative flair. We’ve been working around the clock to launch this brand.”
Her work won’t end in Nevada, either. In April, she’ll set out on a cross-country department store tour with stops in St. Louis, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Atlanta and more.
Hilton feels her line stands out from other celebrity lines because becoming a designer has been a dream since she was a little girl and she actually studied design at Parsons and the Fashion Institute of Technology.
“I didn’t just lend my name to a brand, she explained. “I am completely hands on from concept to completion. I just hope that women have as much fun wearing it as I did designing it.”
It’s not chicken or fish. It’s new clothing and accessories collections from everyone’s favorite bubbly blonde, Jessica Simpson.
“I have always been able to express my creativity in the entertainment industry,” Simpson said. “Now, with my own brand, I will be able to share my lifestyle and love of fashion with my fans. I am loving this new part of my life.”
At the convention, she is launching three lines called Sweet Kisses, the Jessica Simpson Collection and Princy, which include a wide range of products from denim, casualwear and lingerie to watches and handbags. Tarrant Apparel Group is the denim and sportswear licensee. Delta Group is the lingerie licensee. E. Gluck Watch Co. is the watch licensee. Chateau, meanwhile, will handle licensing for her handbags.
Andrew Kirpilani, chief executive officer of JS Brand Management, which oversees the brand, has high hopes for the singing-sensation-turned-MTV-reality-star’s creations thanks to her wide appeal.
“Jessica is admired for her glamorous girl-next-door representation of American ethics and is a role model for women of all ages and lifestyles. These lines are an ideal outlet for her to manifest her creativity.”
The not-so-new-newlywed hopes the sales are as high for her designs, which will wholesale from $35 to $85, as they are for her CDs and concert tickets. Her brand management company anticipates doing $100 million at retail in the first year. The lines will be sold at May Co. and Federated stores.
To promote Sweet Kisses, the Jessica Simpson Collection and Princy, Simpson will appear at the company’s booth in the women’s young contemporary section and will host an invite-only cocktail party on Tuesday.
Ryan Seacrest was extremely bummed when his “TRL”-type afternoon TV show was canceled last year, but at that moment he chose to look on the bright side, declaring, “I loved doing the show, but its end will give me time to look into other opportunities.”
He, of course, returned to Fox’s reality talent show hit “American Idol” and also began to further explore his first love, fashion.
“I have always been the guy that would rather go shopping than watch a football game,” he said. “I have loved clothes since I got my first pair of Bugle Boys as a young child. I wanted to work in fashion long before my success in entertainment.”
The R is made up of men’s and women’s stylish and colorful T-shirts (coproduced by Jem Industries) and cashmere sweaters (coproduced through The Raw 7 Group).
“I don’t proclaim myself to be a fashion expert,” Seacrest said, “but I do know what I like to wear. I created these shirts and sweaters with that in mind. I was concerned about the cuts, shapes and materials, and I had to educate myself. It helped that experienced companies embraced my ideas and helped me make it happen.”
Seacrest said some of the Ts feature images “inspired by my likes, like my love of cooking and music.” He added, however, “Don’t worry. It’s not my face. I wouldn’t force that on anyone.”
The metrosexual emcee, who will man his booths at the trade show and perhaps stage a fashion show or broadcast his radio show live from Las Vegas, said the details regarding distribution and price points were not yet ready to be disclosed.
R&B retro-funk singer Macy Gray, who burst onto the music scene in 1999 with the soul-stirring single “I Try” and later got rave reviews for her acting turn opposite Denzel Washington in “Training Day,” may live the good life now. However, she hasn’t forgotten where she came from. In fact, she relies on her less lavish roots for inspiration for her new contemporary women’s clothing brand, Ghetto Line by Macy Gray.
“The ghetto has a rep for being about poverty and danger, but it is a beautiful place. It influences everything in life, like fashion, literature, music, art, even the way we speak,” Gray explained. “It is such a powerful culture and I find inspiration in that power to create the pieces.”
But don’t get the wrong idea. She assures the department stores and trendy boutiques she hopes will carry the Los Angeles-based line, which wholesales from $20 to $350, that she hasn’t scrimped on quality.
“We use a lot of high-end silks, tweeds, wools and cottons, and we spent a lot of time getting the fit right,” she explained. “I have always had a hard time finding clothes to fit me since I was never a size six. The clothes are comfortable but slimming, and they will be available for voluptuous size-14 girls as well.”
The ghetto-fabulous pieces include coats, two-piece pant and skirt suits, denim jeans and suits, sweatsuits, dresses, trousers, blouses, knitwear, scarves and even a three-piece tuxedo. Gray describes the style as “classy, but cool for modern girls.”
She added, “I have always had a hard time finding clothes I liked off the rack because I had very specific tastes. So I got stuff tailored or added details or mixed and matched pieces from different stores and designers to come up with something fresh. I had all these clothes starting to stack up so I figured why not put them out there for people to appreciate.”
Former “Baywatch” babe Pamela Anderson is becoming a MAGIC VIP.
A year ago, she stopped in to launch the Pamela Anderson Collection, an upscale contemporary line sold at boutiques like Planet Blue, Kitson and Lisa Kline. Last August, she introduced the less-expensive junior version of the line, which has been sold at Goodies stores, and a lingerie line known as Pamela Anderson Intimates. Now, the Playboy playmate is coming back to talk about all three, which are licensed through the Beverly Hills-based United Licensing Group, and work on her wishes to expand her brand into department stores like Macy’s.
“It’s been a learning experience for sure from licensing and designing to learning who your customer is,” Anderson reflected. “I think people are getting it.”
Despite what one might assume about having a Malibu-residing superstar at the helm of the brand, Anna Rudy, ULG creative director, confirms that Anderson gives 110 percent to the job.
“Pam comes in once a week, bringing everything that inspires her, including clothes from her closet, art books and photos from magazines,” she explained. “She wants to discuss all the details about fit, texture and colors.”
All of the designs are “inspired by what I like to wear and what my friends like to wear with tongue-in-cheek sexiness,” Anderson said of the denim minis and knit tank tops that are typical items. The juniors’ line wholesales from $26 to $36 for a graphic T to $60 for a jogging suit and $85 for jeans. At press time, the cost sheets for the contemporary items were being reevaluated.
Anderson wants to constantly add elements. She has plans for jewelry, belts, scarves, handbags, teeny-weeny bikinis and shoes.
“My shoe [concepts] are coming along. It’s still a battle, but sexy non-leather shoes for everyone will be worth it in the end,” said Anderson, who is a die-hard supporter of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Anderson will stage a fashion show and party to support the lines at The Palms on Wednesday.
What should one expect from the new line created by will.i.am, the fashion-forward mastermind behind the Black Eyed Peas and their Grammy-nominated genre-splicing hit album “Elephunk”? Well, hopefully something a bit diverse and fresh. From the sounds of it, he might just deliver.
“It’s Oliver Twist meets King Louis with an urban touch,” he said. “It’s vintage but now. It’s wool, silk, leather, tweed. It’s all the things I wish I could buy, but can never find in stores, and the kinds of things I like to see on women that highlight their curvy shape or give them one if they don’t have it. These are pieces you can get respect in at work, but still look good in at the club.”
He even admits to finding a smidge of inspiration in old-school brown UPS slacks, but reiterates that the line isn’t as bizarre as it might sound.
“I had to tone it down from the crazy stuff I wear,” he explained. “I realize I’m an entertainer and you can be a lot crazier in that arena. Most dudes do not have the balls to rock culottes or chaps like I do, but they can appreciate a fine tailored suit with silk lining in the pockets or embroidery. Besides part of the fun of clothes is finding pieces and then putting your own funk into it. I’m not going to tell people how to rock this line.”
He didn’t want anyone to tell him how to run his new endeavor, either, which is why he chose to self-finance his L.A.-based men’s and women’s collections. “I didn’t want to do the standard hip-hop line of sweatsuits and jerseys,” he explained. “I didn’t want lots of investors or licensees to answer to. No disrespect to other hip-hop labels, but I wanted something different. I wanted to spend the time and energy to grow the company. Fendi, Gucci and Vivienne Westwood didn’t license out their designs. They built whole houses from nothing and I’d prefer that path.”
However, will.i.am is not completely starting his line, which comprises mostly slacks, three-piece suits, blazers and skirts, from scratch. After high school and before his music career, he attended L.A.’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, albeit for less than a semester. “You can’t teach style,” he explained. “You just have to feel it. Plus, the music was taking off and I had to choose.” He also often serves as stylist for his group. “For the first MTV Awards we went to, I got everyone up early that morning to go to Barneys and find outfits for that night,” he said.
The new line has already had a successful test drive at L.A.’s Fred Segal. “They sold out of most of the limited run very quickly,” he said. “It gave me a chance to figure out what details and styles worked and who the audience was.”
Wholesale price points range from $105 for scarves to $180 for skirts. Blazers can go up to $590. Will.i.am is targeting the line toward finer department stores and trendy boutiques for delivery this upcoming fall-winter.
He’ll be boothing it at MAGIC in the South Hall’s streetwear section. He also will hold a launch event, featuring performances with BEP and fellow fashionista Macy Gray, at Rain in the Desert at The Palms Feb. 15. Following the event at 11:45 p.m., there will be a fashion show in The Lounge at The Palms.