The Delebrities

What do you get when you cross a designer with a celebrity? This year saw the answer.

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WWD Year In Fashion issue 2007/12/11
-Also in June, Ashley Judd jumped into the celebrity designer pool when she inked a deal for a collection with moderate-price retailer Goody's Family Clothing Inc. The three Judd-designed labels — AJ; Love, Ashley, and Ashley Judd — feature such looks as organic and knit T-shirts, sweaters, blazers, blouses, cardigans and denim. And rapper-actress Eve relaunched her young contemporary "Fetish" sportswear collection that included leather jackets, oversize cozy sweaters, high-waisted denim jeans and skirts, leather pants, wool plaid shorts and a few logo T-shirts, from about $50 to $300 wholesale.

-Cavalli unveiled the designs for his H&M guest gig in November. In typical Cavalli manner, the 40-piece line was glamorous and festive with animal prints, Lurex, ink-blue denim, fake fur and metallic accents. It was available at 200 H&M stores worldwide, including 10 in the U.S., with prices from $59 to $198, and supported by an advertising campaign that Terry Richardson photographed.

-Throughout 2007, Target continued on its quest to bring fashion to the masses, offering collections by Proenza Schouler, Patrick Robinson, Libertine and Erin Fetherston under its Go International initiative. Each collaboration included heavy TV and print advertising, which helped raise the designers' profiles in markets their upscale runway clothes wouldn't necessarily reach.

-Similarly, Japanese chain Uniqlo brought in the likes of Alice Roi, Phillip Lim, Lutz & Patmos, Jones and Maruyam to create special limited edition lines for its stores.

"It's a reality that's not going away, but it runs the risk of having some backlash if there is too much," Robert Burke, founder of fashion consultancy Robert Burke Associates, said of the "delebrity" phenomenon. "The consumer wants to know that there is some authenticity to the collaborations. If it's not authentic and not genuine, the consumer can sense that and it will not be popular."

Burke said these celebrity lines are appealing because turning an unknown name into a brand can be a lengthy and expensive prospect. "Introducing a celebrity collaboration can offer a much faster growth and a wider range of distribution," he noted. On the flip side, he added, guest collaborations like Karl Lagerfeld or Cavalli at H&M can help the designer gain recognition and visibility.
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