When friends become foes, the gossip is juicy no matter who is involved. In the case of Katie Holmes and Victoria Beckham, when sides are taken, it happens along the catwalk. Both women will debut their respective fashion lines on the same day - September 9 - during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, in New York City.
To date, there has been no word as to whether or not Beckham and Holmes will be given the same time slots. But nonetheless, the publicity generated by the so-called "fashion stand-off" has resulted in an incredible buzz for Holmes & Yang; the collection created by Holmes and stylist cum business partner, Jeanna Yang.
The line launched in 2009 at West Hollywood luxury boutique, Maxfield. However, for its 2012 fashion week debut, there has been no heavy-handed publicity push. That is, unless you count the news of Holmes' divorce from Tom Cruise as part of the media package. Robert Burke (the former VP of Fashion and Public Relations for Bergdorf Goodman), assured the New York Times, "The way she's getting photographed today, she's in a position to get more exposure than ever before...She's not waiting for fashion editors and stylists to come and pull her clothes."
As Burke cements, there is no shame in playing the fame game. Celebrity sightings during runway shows, editorial spreads for magazines, red carpet appearances and product endorsements have created an ecosystem where celebrities wield almost as much power as lead designers. Of course, licensing your name to selected products (à la Jessica Simpson), and actually crafting original designs, is not the same thing. But as Victoria Beckham has proven, highbrow respect can still be earned.
Now preparing for her 8th season, Victoria Beckham has carefully channeled her Posh Spice celebrity into a career as a bona fide fashion powerbroker. While other designers (who don't have celebrity status or association) are constantly looking for ways to garner attention from buyers, Beckham has been racking in profits. Within the first three months of last year alone, the label cashed in on over £15 million. This winter, Beckham is also set to launch a prescription eyewear collection and, true to form, she is already begun wearing items from the line.
|Katie Holmes and Partner Jeanna Yang.
In an interview with WWD, Beckham played coy, but her marketing-savvy nature is obvious when discussing the new line. "I do need to wear glasses [but] I haven't found glasses that suit me or that I particularly like… I've always been quite self-conscious [about this] so that's why I've decided to do them myself," she said, "I will be wearing my glasses now, and it will be nice to see where I will be going for once."
Holmes and Beckham are not the only celebrities who believe that they too can be designers - lest we forget Kanye West and that other night in Paris. In the last few years, stars have nabbed roles as creative directors (Sarah Jessica Parker and Halston) and collaborators (Rihanna and Emporio Armani). Whilst others - such as Nicole Richie and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen - have created reputable, non-self-titled labels. The decision to step into the ring is, apparently, natural; why just lend your name to a brand when you can create your own?
Fashion has always been a high-risk business. With or without celebrity status, launching a successful label is never easy. But for celebrity-powered labels like Holmes & Yang, the advantage of course, is that garnering the attention of buyers and fashion insiders is often just a phone call away.
Major news outlets have already reported a spike in sales after Holmes announced her split from Cruise. With or without a strut down the runway, merchandisers will undoubtedly stand in line to place orders. An appearance during New York Fashion Week is a mere formality.
Sign up to receive a weekly dispatch from
The Genteel is committed to delivering quality journalism, unearthing the forces shaping international fashion and design, through the lens of business, culture, society, best kept secrets and street style. As multi-dimensional and stimulating as its readers, The Genteel is the inspired destination where informed readers converge with in-depth fashion and design coverage.
A worldwide collective of contributors currently form The Genteel. On a daily basis our team dispatches thought-provoking and insightful articles from the streets of Oslo, Toronto, Beirut, Moscow, United Arab Emirates, Seoul and beyond.