The place where the worlds of fashion and celebrity intersect is a land of blurry lines.
Who gets paid to sit front row at a fashion show, and how much? Who is a designer and who isn’t? And what is the benefit of hitching your brand to a celebrity?
So it’s some comfort that “Hijacking the Runway: How Celebrities Are Stealing the Spotlight From Fashion Designers” (Gotham Books, $28) comes from the pen of Teri Agins, who has spent decades on the fashion beat for the Wall Street Journal.
In pulling back the curtain on celebrity fashion brands, Agins starts in 1858 with Empress Eugenie of France (whom Agins calls “the world’s first supermodel”) and runs right up to Kanye West trying his hand at launching a clothing line in Paris.
Along the way, she delves into hits, including Rene Lacoste’s preppy alligator shirt and Jessica Simpson’s eponymous brand that saw $1 billion in retail revenue in 2012.
She also cites misses (Lindsay Lohan’s short-lived stint in 2009 as “artistic advisor” to the Emanuel Ungaro label), looks at the lure of celebrity fragrances, discusses how Macy’s decided to double down on star wattage and tackles the juggernaut that is the Kardashians.
“A celebrity’s name on a label effectively fast-tracks a new fashion brand — shaving off as much as 10 years to develop widespread recognition,” Agins says.