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10-12-2004
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maarit's Avatar
 
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(mod: feel free to move this to a more appropriate section)

I'm a celebrity - let me design for you


Jennifer Lopez is putting on her own show at the next New York fashion week. Hadley Freeman ponders the advantages of celeb style

Friday December 10, 2004
The Guardian

Hold on to your ponchos, people (or don't - surely you've realised your error by now?): a bit of a world exclusive this week. Yes, we've gone a bit Woodward and Bernstein, although I'm not asking for a Pulitzer (yet), but a bit of a mental drum roll wouldn't go amiss. In the upcoming autumn/winter shows in New York, in February, alongside the usual roster of Marc Jacobs, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren and so on, a new designer shall be showing her wares on the catwalk. And here's a clue: I'd bet my last designer tracksuit that the closing song will involve, in some order, the words "block", "Jenny", "the" and "from".
Yes, Ms Jennifer Lopez, dancer/ actress/singer, can officially add another career after her name because she will be on the New York fashion week schedule next season, as if the New York fashion shows aren't enough of a celebrity scrum already, but more of that later. Lopez launched her clothing range, JLo, nearly three years ago, but there's a whole (Louis Vuitton) trunk of difference between just slapping your name on the back of some cropped tops and flogging them in a department store, and offering them up for official inspection in a fashion show.

Nowadays, a celebrity without a fashion range is like Paris Hilton (another rumoured aspirant designer) without her bite-size pooch. Kylie, Atomic Kitten (RIP), Nelly, even Madonna - all have launched, or are rumoured to be soon launching, their own style ranges. But increasingly celebrities are using fashion as more than an easy and lucrative sideline. So aside from Lopez proffering up her wares in a fashion show (and the image of Anna Wintour imperiously inspecting JLo hotpants is, admittedly, delightful), there is Andre 3000 who, according to rumours, is wisely planning to play on his dapper dandy appeal by launching his own clothing range which he is - shock! gasp! - designing himself. And Gwen Stefani, whose recent solo album seemed little more than an advert for her clothing range, seeing as the former, whaddya know, shares the name of the latter - Love Angel Music Baby, or L.A.M.B.

Funnily enough, the man who arguably started all this off was Lopez's ex, Puff Daddy/PDiddy /Sean Combs, the producer / singer /whatever, respectively (you almost have to love a man who has a different name for each job. Almost). He last showed his label Sean John in New York a year ago, but it has proven a nice little earner, of the multi-million variety, with the majority of his sales coming from jeans, of requisite bagginess.

Now, leaving aside scepticism about a celebrity's belief that they can design clothes just because they know how to wear them, there's something in me that cheers at this trend. Designers and the fashion industry in general have taken it for granted that they can use the paparazzi-bait to promote their own wares. Louis Vuitton, for example, has sought the services of singer Pharrell Williams to design their sunglasses for the coming season, a man better known for his mass youth appeal than his eyewear-design skills. Equally, celebrities have increasingly realised the power of fashion to further their own brand potential: fancy consolidating your image in the public's mind as a stylish, if red-blooded, sexy kinda lady? Why, help yourself to some Versace, Catherine Zeta-Jones. Or are you more of a hippy dippy sorta gal? The Missoni rail is just over here, Sienna Miller.

But now canny celebrities are cutting out the middle man: why promote someone else's handiwork with your image, when you can promote your own? And what better way to create a brand image than to create your own clothing line? Far less tedious than press junkets, and a half-decent streetwear line will do more for your cred with the kids than another embarrassing half-baked romantic comedy.

Because that, really, is what this is about: brand image, and celebrities' increasing canniness at manipulating it on their own terms. If Audrey Hepburn were around now, she would probably have designed her own sodding prom dresses instead of waiting around for Givenchy. Looking at the J-Lo advert campaign, Ms Lopez seems to be taking the Donatella Versace approach (a woman who could just as easily have been a rock star as a designer) by modelling the models on, well, herself, which takes the idea of brand image one step further.

There are other advantages. Earlier this week, one tabloid made the frankly astonishing claim that the waiting list for Victoria Beckham's jeans (£250 a pair) is already filled to capacity. It must be heartening, and instructive, to the lady that her clothes seem to be getting better press than her music ever did.

So for the moment, the celebrity really cannot lose in this venture: fashion purists might sneer, but there are plenty of folk out there willing to buy a JLo hoodie or Sean John jeans, as the success of those lines has proven. And it's a better deal all round, really. After all, it's far preferable for Lopez to keep herself busy making hotpants and woolly berets than subjecting us all to another Maid in Manhattan. A brave new day, my friends - but also a lesser evil.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1370493,00.html

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10-12-2004
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helena's Avatar
 
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oh god this is sooo depressing. I didn't know JLo was doing a show in NYC in FEB. Why is integrity such an undervalued thing these days? tFS'ers please don't buy jLO clothes if you care about fashion.......

thanks for the article Maarit.x

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10-12-2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by helena@Dec 10 2004, 06:28 AM
tFS'ers please don't buy jLO clothes if you care about fashion.......
[snapback]459707[/snapback]
you can depend on my cooperation there

thanks for posting maarit

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10-12-2004
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Oh dear god
Obviously money can buy you a spot under the tents. No wonder the indies are having such a hard time during Fashion Week.

I can't wait to see what Faust says about this article....

Thanks Maarit

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10-12-2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by purechris@Dec 10 2004, 10:28 AM
I can't wait to see what Faust says about this article....
[snapback]459895[/snapback]
lmao.

What can I say. I'm not angry anymore. That stage is passed. Depressing stage passed too. Blaming the celebs stage passed too. Look who's buying their clothes. All answers are there. Kitsch, kitsch, kitsch. Figuratively speaking, when you take a philistine peasant and transport him into a king's palace - this is what will happen. Sad.

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10-12-2004
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purechris's Avatar
 
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I knew you would be right behind me.

There was an article in the paper the other day about celebrity obsession that I forgot to post. It was from The LA Times. Will look for it. Basically it talked about them being so in our face that now we feel we have the right to lash out at them for complaining about their lives when we all know how much they are making and yet we still go to the movies, games, concerts, etc....started out talking about the basketball barbarians.

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10-12-2004
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Quote:
Originally posted by purechris@Dec 10 2004, 10:50 AM
I knew you would be right behind me.

There was an article in the paper the other day about celebrity obsession that I forgot to post. It was from The LA Times. Will look for it. Basically it talked about them being so in our face that now we feel we have the right to lash out at them for complaining about their lives when we all know how much they are making and yet we still go to the movies, games, concerts, etc....started out talking about the basketball barbarians.
[snapback]459928[/snapback]

Exactly. People have so much power, if only they would do things collectively. Look how much good the labor unions and the consumer organisations have done in the last century - they really improved our lives. But when it comes down to kitsch, most people won't boycott it, because they are so fvcking bored, ignorant and miserable that the celebrities are their blessing and salvation. As for me, I quitely and naturally boycott it. Naturally, because I wouldn't watch the insipid TV shows and Hollywood films if you paid me. But there are harder things I've been boycotting. I love hockey, for example - but I refuse to pay $50 for a crappy seat that will contribute to making a bunch of grown men into millionaires.

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10-12-2004
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This is so sad.

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10-12-2004
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maarit's Avatar
 
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You are welcome!

helena, I promise I won't buy anything JLO, and god knows I haven't
I'm sick of celebrities.

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10-12-2004
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I saw pics of them. They look horrible!

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10-12-2004
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18-12-2004
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oh my god...

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18-12-2004
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Meg
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spacemiu
I echo space's sentiments.

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18-12-2004
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SCBl0ndie
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I saw "J-lo" "fashion show next week" and "ponchos".

I didn't bother reading on.

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19-12-2004
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... ah man, not another Kimora.

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