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Cameron Diaz has a surprising new role.
The actress has taken a stake in contemporary footwear and accessories brand Pour La Victoire where she will assume the position of artistic director.
Although she endorses watchmaker Tag Heuer, the PLV deal marks Diaz’s first real foray into fashion in a position that will allow her to impact the brand’s collections. “I don’t do endorsements really. This is completely different,” Diaz told WWD in an exclusive interview. “Being influential in a brand and in its [advertising] campaigns interests me. I love fashion. It’s a large part of my life. What I wear is looked at. It influences what other people wear because that’s just the world we live in.”
Diaz, who does not have a background in fashion, jumped at the chance to make her mark on the New York-based label, when a PLV board member and friend Dave Baram invited her to the company’s showroom roughly a year ago. Initially, Diaz’s visit was meant more as a meet-and-greet than a business proposition, but according to the actress, she soon realized there was an opportunity for her.
What will be difficult for Diaz is sidestepping the “celebrity-turned-designer” cliché that can quickly fizzle. While Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen and Victoria Beckham are the strong exceptions, it’s hard to forget Sarah Jessica Parker’s underwhelming stint at Halston or even worse, Lindsay Lohan’s disastrous run as Ungaro’s artistic director. “I can’t speak about anyone else’s work ethic,” Diaz said in response to the Lohan reference. “I know how I work and I know when something is important to me. I’ll try my best and hope for the best. Not everyone succeeds or fails all the time. All I can do is engage with it.”
She also underlined that her role is a “true partnership” with PLV.
Diaz is referring to the fact that she owns an undisclosed stake in PLV Studio Inc., parent company of PLV and its sister brand Kelsi Dagger, a lower-priced contemporary accessories brand targeting a younger-teen-to-twentysomething consumer. PLV Studio, which also licenses bags for French Connection, is owned by VMG Partners, a private equity firm that invested in the company in December 2011.
Even though the A-lister has a stake in PLV Studio, Diaz only has creative control over the higher-end PLV, which sells its wares from $200 to $500. Kelsi Dagger’s prices range from $100 to $250.
“Pour La Victoire gives me the opportunity to create something timeless,” Diaz said, while admitting some trepidation. “There’s a lot I have to learn about the business. I’m interested in learning how collections are created. The word ‘fun,’ I want to say that it’s going to be fun, but it’s deeper than that.”
As artistic director, Diaz will have a hand in the brand’s handbag and shoe collections, in addition to merchandising and marketing and advertising.
For an early sense of Diaz’s style, one need not look further than PLV’s current advertising campaign with Jessica Hart. According to PLV, Diaz was on the set when Terry Richardson shot the campaign, and she provided input. Now that the deal is inked, Diaz will have a larger voice in the direction of upcoming campaigns.
In terms of product, while Diaz’s first collection will not hit the market until the spring, PLV will roll out a fall and holiday campaign called “Cameron’s Picks.” This will essentially take the form of a curated selection by Diaz from PLV’s current collection, and it will be highlighted on the company’s Web site, Twitter and Facebook pages and the e-commerce sites of its retail partners.
Diaz is most looking forward to developing a “functional,” yet fashionable and “quality” shoe collection, first.
“I live in heels 10 hours of the day,” she said with a chuckle. “I know comfort in shoes. There are some shoes you would die to wear but they are painful. When I was younger, it was a fight to the death with my shoes and who was going to win. I want to have really great, functional shoes that are staples of the line.”
Diaz is hoping to do the same for bags by making them “sensible” by adding more pockets, for instance, but also weaving in luxurious touches.
“If you’re spending $500 on a bag, it should be your partner in life,” she said. “That’s what a bag is for women. It holds everything important in your life as long as you’re carrying it.”
She repeated the term “aspirational,” but emphasized the affordable aspect of PLV, which drew her to the brand.
“We want the brand to be accessible for that working girl,” she said. “I work hard for my money. I want it [the collection] to be sensible, whether you have a lot of money or you are scraping together pennies.”