I’ll admit I was inspired by Cathy Horyn’s American Gladiators-esque take-down of Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. collection over fashion week. Others may disagree, but I respect her attempt to take Stefani out of the ‘celebrity designer’ playpen and into the ‘full-time designer’ fire. The difference between the Marc Jacobs show and the L.A.M.B. show is the difference between a Richard Avedon photograph and one of 1,000 postcards of the Empire State building — Jacobs is an artist and Stefani is selling clothes. I say this as someone who’s bought a L.A.M.B. dress in the last two years and hasn’t bought one from Marc Jacobs. It’s not an issue of what you’d buy, per se, so much as it’s a question of what’s great art. With that in mind, I’m bringing the Horyn spotlight to some other celebrities launching clothing lines this year.
Sarah Jessica Parker: BITTEN
Taking a page from Isaac Mizrahi, Parker took the discount route and created a line for Steve and Barry’s that boasts the tagline: “Fashion isn’t a luxury; It’s a right.” With that in mind, one would think there’d be a hell of a lot more fashion involved. Her fall collection is comprised of a lot of “fall basics” — from a houndstooth coat to a cropped jean jacket. Overall, the collection is totally wearable, but must come as a disappointment to fans of Parker’s Sex and the City persona. Like, trouser chinos, Carrie? Really?
Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen: The Row, Elizabeth & James
Regardless of my personal feelings about their aesthetic, these are the Lilliputian fashionistas who single-handedly launched the term “Bobo chic,” armed with Venti Starbucks and super-sized sunglasses, then turned on a dime and started wearing Balenciaga on the red carpet. I mean, even Rihanna’s transformation included a serious stylist. Now these two have launched The Row (an upmarket, boy-tuxedo-esque homage to Savile Row) and Elizabeth & James, a gritty and vintage-inspired line of grungy plaid shirts to disco-era sequined dresses. Could I be developing a small crush? Not one I’m ready to admit, but they do seem to be thinking more like designers than, say, SJP.
Sienna Miller: Twenty8Twelve
Right, so, just to set the record straight here, this girl has been on the cover of Vogue, what, twice? And for… what, exactly? Granted, she’s hot, and she has a distinctive look, but I can’t help but feel that her popularity is a case of “nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd.” Anyway, she and her sister Savannah (yes, Sienna and Savannah, I know) have designed a line that retails at spots like Harvey Nichols but sort of looks like over-priced Topshop. Savannah trained with Alexander McQueen and Matthew Williamson, which explains the super-feminine tailoring mixed with “bad girl” leather jackets and high-waist pants, but $458 for a wrap dress still seems excessive.