Designer Duds: When Celebrity Collaborations Go Wrong


These days, loving fashion is as much a requisite of celebrity culture as lending your face to a charity, or dodging claims of plastic surgery. Whilst we applaud a well-dressed star, we get somewhat irate when some of them take it too far, believing that their acquiescence to the clutches of a stylist translates as raw artistic talent in the fashion business. What’s worse, many design houses are willing to not only put up with this charade but endorse it, believing that a collaboration with Mischa Barton/Jessica Simpson/Miley Cyrus (who all have careers that, to outsiders like us, have nothing to do with fashion) will attract highly-desired publicity or a new demographic to a brand. To that end, we decided to bring you the best and the worst fashion/celebrity collaborations of recent years. BE WARNED: some of it ain’t pretty…

The Best Whilst many rumored collaborations don’t see the light of day (and we’re hoping that’s the case for the latest whisperings about Lindsay Lohan consulting for Ungaro) of those that do, few are worth the inevitable publicity that their launches garner. Yet, amongst the chaff, there are some hidden gems. Actress Chloe Sevigny’s line for Opening Ceremony dropped last fall, and by all accounts was bang on trend and a smashing success. The Olsen twins have been working it and clearly working hard — their first stand alone designer line, The Row, won rave reviews and their more recent project of contemporary casuals Elizabeth & James, is following suit. The Miller sisters (Sienna and Savannah) could almost have fooled us as real designers with their line TwentyEightTwelve and a surprise hit has been the ubiquitous Peaches Geldof, in her collection for PPQ last year . In an evidently intentional and witty juxtaposition, the line was pared down and rather tasteful, unlike Ms Geldof herself. Finally, we’ll always have a soft spot for Victoria Beckham’s starring role in Marc Jacobs’ ad campaign last year — it was the perfect fashion in-joke, and showed that Beckham isn’t quite the humorless troll that the paps portray.

The Worst Oy, where to start? Brace yourselves — the selected designs and designers featured in this camp wound up here by being either truly horrific, a match between design house and celebrity made in hell, or ultimately ridiculous. First up in the latter most category is K-Fed’s range of children’s wear (no, we had no idea either) for Otzi. We’ll assume that whilst K-Fed evidently used his own sons as inspiration, those baggy pants don’t come with a large sum of alimony. The Hills star Lauren Conrad’s clothing line is pretty uninspired and reportedly not even designed by the D-lister herself; co-star and frenemy Heidi Montag’s trashy line, Heidiwood, has reportedly been given the axe, proving that thankfully, there is a limit to this madness. Kanye West’s Louis Vuitton sneakers are fairly hideous, and Avril Lavigne’s AbbeyDawn label for Kohls, with its generic punk offerings, is about as daring and original as the singer herself. We’re really dreading the advent of the Jonas Brothers’ preppy line for tween girls and the latest news that Pete Wentz and Nicole Richie teamed up their respective fashion lines for a show in Hollywood yesterday makes the city of Angels look like hell on earth. Pseudo-celebs Angela and Vanessa Simmons (daughters of Rev Run) have launched a line of sickly pastel-colored sneakers and accessories under the brand name Pastry — truly enough to make anyone swear off baked goods for good.

Yet, by far our favorite, and in a move that we feel must have been at least inspired by Flavor Flav, Jermaine Dupri has launched a range of gaudy, oversized, funky, frankly hilarious-looking watches. With these weighing the fashion crowd down, we can expect every S/S 10 show to run on time (for the first time ever) and to never again hear those fateful words, “What tiiiiiiiiime is it?”: truly a sad moment for style as well as pop culture.

Okay, now it’s your turn. In this abyss of celebrity dross, we’ve undoubtedly missed some treasures and some toxic offerings — care to share your finds?