Celebrities At Design Houses: Is it Only About the Halo Effect?


If you’re a fashion geek and don’t live under a rock, here’s assuming you’ve read plenty retweets, excited reposts and bashful comments on Pharrell William’s appointment as the Men’s Creative Director for Louis Vuitton. Social media and high fashion newsletters are ablaze with conversations either lauding or condemning celebrities for the same. And this is not the first time that an A-lister has taken the reins of a fashion brand – notable instances include Posh Spice and her namesake label, Gigi’s fresh dabbling into the knitwear scene with ‘Guest In Residence’ & the cult favourite label ‘The Row’ by the Olsen Twins.

Whilst most people stand divided on the issue, the whole celebrity shebang permeating into the design scene is something that seems to have now presented itself as a recurring motif.

Do Celebrities = Fresh Perspective?


Lacking formal training in a trade but also being good at it aren’t mutually exclusive. You can build a unicorn startup without an MBA. You can also run a successful bakery without Cordon Bleu’s stamp on a fancy paper. Similarly, fashion as an industry has always welcomed folks from varied backgrounds with open arms, because creativity knows no bounds. And you certainly don’t need a degree for what it’s worth.

But if you can, does it mean you should? While we’re no authority to put a damper on the fashion focused entrepreneurial visions of celebrities, this is a highly niche, exceedingly competitive post we’re talking about. But when talking figures, an appointment of such sorts is bound to come bearing profits and by extension, cause the cash registers to get ringing. Call it a PR stunt or a marketing gimmick, it all boils down to sales. And this secures the bag tight, we reckon. But would it be only because of the halo effect of the stardom? And more importantly, is an alignment of ethos considered by either party?

The Curious Case of Pharrell Williams For Louis Vuitton

Not many know of William’s long standing tryst with fashion and design-related explorations. Having previously collaborated with Adidas, Murakami, Uniqlo, LV, Chanel and the likes, it’s safe to say that he’s anything but an amateur. Now set to play chief designer for the menswear wing of LV, last headed by Virgil Abloh, his first collection is set to be displayed during the Paris Men’s Fashion Week in the month of June.

Gigi Hadid For Guest In Residence

Supermodel and now founder / creative director of Guest in Residence – Gigi Hadid’s direct to consumer cashmere brand is a timely pivot, given the resurgence of casual, lightweight knits in the mainstream market. Having designed a few capsule collections with leading fashion brands and designers, her prior designing experience was bound to be instrumental in building GIR from the ground up, while also benefiting from the PR value of her celebrityhood anytime the paparazzi spotted her out and about. The surge in searches for the brands Rihanna sported is proof that you’ve the consumer invested if it’s seen on the right people.

The Olsen Twins & The Row

The Row was originally started by celeb twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in a bid to create the perfect T-shirt that’d flatter all body types. The offering has now evolved into a minimalistic, no frills, high-fashion brand revered for its tailored precision. The celebrities cum designers have also brought 6 CFDA awards home, corroborating their aptitude for fashion aptly.

Victoria Beckham’s Namesake Label

Posh Spice can juggle well. From music to fashion, her indelible mark on both the industries warrants a case study into her caliber. Having cemented a strong design signature for her eponymous label Victoria Beckham, the now 15-year-old label is favoured by celebrities to this very day, despite the financial deficits. Maybe it’s time for a new sales team.

Jury Is Still Out


What of young creatives shelling thousands of dollars on fashion school? What of seasoned designers with decades of experience under their belt who’ve been unfortunately trampled by favouritism and corporate politicking? Is it fair to foist celebrities just because they’re a familiar face and posses the penchant to separate their Gaultiers from Gabbanas? Whilst there’s plenty room for debate, one can only hope for a respectful continuation of the legacy left behind by the ex-creative powerhouses. One of them being Virgil’s vision for LV. Pharrell’s got big shoes to fill.

Also Read: 90s Models Who Championed The Era Of The Supermodel With Their Majestic Sashays

- Digital Fashion Writer


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