Celebrities moonlighting as models or designers isn’t exactly a new phenomenon, but this year the trend kicked into high gear, with a plethora of major names striking deals as well as a few from the reality set breaking in.
Julia Roberts; Natalie Portman; Katy Perry; Team Kardashian; Madonna and her daughter, Lourdes; Jessica Simpson; J.Lo and hubby Marc Anthony; Nicole Richie; Mariah Carey; Alexa Chung; Sarah Jessica Parker, and Selena Gomez are among the scads of notables who have jumped into the design world. But unlike other VIPs who crashed and burned on Seventh Avenue, this regime seems to mean business. Simpson’s collection is expected to generate $1 billion in sales next year — up from this year’s tally of $750 million. The songstress, of course, will bank considerably less, since she sold the worldwide rights to her name for a fraction of that sum to the Camuto Group.
Chung’s capsule collection for Madewell has been such a boost to parent company J. Crew that chief Mickey Drexler gave her a shout-out during a recent earnings call with analysts.
Perry launched her first fragrance, Purr, with a “Purr Parade,” selling directly to folks on the streets in New York out of a personalized milk truck.
Even Justin Bieber got into the game with a women’s fragrance that will hit stores next summer, innovatively packaged in wristbands and dog tags.
Given VIPs’ knack for publicity, not to mention their screen time, it is no surprise they have taken to merging the worlds of fame and fashion. For example, Parker, who has a deal with Halston, opted to wear the brand and strategically place a few items in the opening scene of “Sex and the City 2.”
Other celebs are cashing in on endorsement deals as cover girls without ever visiting the design studio. Roberts joined forces with Lancôme, Portman landed a Christian Dior deal, Megan Fox teamed with Armani, Taylor Swift signed with Cover Girl, Diane Kruger is on board to be the face of Calvin Klein’s new fragrance Calvin Klein Beauty and Angela Lindvall was recently tapped as the newest face of John Hardy. Given their commercial clout, it’s a sure bet more notables will pose for a close-up.
But it is reality-star-turned-designer Kim Kardashian who leads the charge in terms of exposure, and that nonstop treatment quite possibly will be ratcheted up a notch next month when “Kourtney & Kim Take New York” makes its debut on the E network. “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” after all, has been uberpopular, averaging 4.7 million viewers an episode. Her family’s Dash, the SoHo boutique they opened with their sister Khloe last month, has quickly become a hit. The trio plans to launch a lifestyle line next year complete with swimwear, lingerie, ready-to-wear, denim and home products. K-Dash by Kardashian, another line of denim, jackets, tops and bags, launched on QVC in September.
Earlier in the year, the threesome started collaborating with Bebe for the Kardashians by Bebe line and they cooked up PerfectSkin through a deal with PerfectScience Labs LLC. Kim Kardashian has proven to be the family’s overachiever in terms of inking deals. Fronting cosmetic products for Fusion Brands Inc. and introducing a signature fragrance exclusively at Macy’s were two other tasks she checked off her to-do list this year.
And as long as the cameras are running, her family’s interest in fashion keeps churning. Kardashian told WWD last month, “We’ve been around for five seasons so far. I don’t see it slowing down any time soon.”
That might not be a universally held belief, however. Bebe president Emilia Fabricant said so far, the trio’s draw is keeping up with their growing bank accounts, but she didn’t seem too sure about how long it will last: “The sisters do still have relevance, but at Bebe we need to move with fashion and we want to be first in the fashion world with everybody else and not fall behind. We are definitely assessing the situation.”