Celeb brands: Must-haves marvels or bargepole time?

Sarah Jessica Parker at her new SJP las Vegas store

Sarah Jessica Parker at her new SJP las Vegas store

I never quite understood why people buy celebrity ranges but they do and despite celeb labels and collaborations getting a bad reputation after some of the cheap junk turned out in decades past, consumers will pay some hefty sums for a slice of the celeb pie these days.

And that goes for all product categories. Barely a day goes by that we don’t hear about some celeb turning out a new line of tableware (Casa Zata Jones for QVC, for instance), food, accessories or lipstick.

A few days ago we heard that 20-year-old Kylie Jenner’s beauty company is on its way to being a $1bn brand after having chalked up sales of $420m in the last 18 months. Some people just have the Midas touch and it’s so heartwarming to hear that the Kardashian/Jenner cash machine is nowhere near to running out of steam (yes, that was sarcasm).

Kylie Cosmetics

Kylie Cosmetics

Then there’s Sarah Jessica Parker. She made her name flashing her Jimmy Choos and Manolos across our TV screens but in recent years her SJP shoe label has been her big focus. She’s managed to convince plenty of people to part with serious amounts of cash as her shoes don’t come cheap. And the amazing bit is that she’s done it through retailers that are polar opposites. The line has been sold at luxe retailers like Net-A-Porter and Nordstrom but also more recently through that archetype of the bargain-focused e-store, Amazon.

Now she’s just opened first West Coast standalone store at Bellagio Resort & Casino. Bellagio’s management said the opening “further elevates Bellagio’s luxury retail offerings.” So if you don’t lose all your cash in the casino you can blow it on some expensive shoes instead.

Pia Mia for Material Girl

Ace Tee for H&M

Of course, celeb lines aren’t only about famous names going it alone as big league retailers like to get in on the celebrity act too with H&M having just announced a September collaboration with Ace Tee.

The German-Ghanaian R&B star has hooked up with the Swedish retail giant for an urban streetwear line-up that includes a nod to athleisure, plenty of 90s inspiration and a healthy (or unhealthy, depending on your point of view) dose of double denim. At least this collection will come in at very low price points when it launches early next month.

Demi Lovato for Fabletics

Demi Lovato for Fabletics

And just like Double Denim seems to be having a moment, so Double Celebrity is too. Not content with being founded by Kate Hudson, gym-to-street brand Fabletics has just unveiled a line with Demi Lovato. It’s not the first one (that launched in May) but this second Lovato outing is a reflection of how successful it was earlier this year and features a much wider product line-up.

Even without Lovato, the brand is going from strength to strength and has found a real niche with customers of all shapes and sizes looking for fashion-focused yoga or running gear at affordable (but not cheap) price levels.

Pia Mia for Material Girl

Pia Mia for Material Girl

Madonna’s also doing well on the product front and is tapping into double celebrity too. She’s just unveiled the new ad campaign for her Material Girl line but it’s fronted by Pia Mia, who seems to be doing a pretty good job of it.

That’s no surprise really as Madonna is perhaps just a little too old to front a juniors line, although she’s not taking a back seat with all her product interests. She recently offered up a social media post flagging her forthcoming magnetic mask launch for her MDNA Skin beauty line, The mask has been available in Japan for a few years and only hits the US this autumn. Not sure how much it’s going to cost but it’s probably more affordable than some of the other things she does to her face in her quest to stay young.

MDNA Skin

MDNA Skin

Then there’s Zoella, Alexa Chung, Chiara Ferragni and so very many more all selling us more and more stuff at prices from very low to scarily high..

For me, celebrity doesn’t quite cut it. If I had to choose from this lot, I quite like the idea of the Ace Tee offer. But I much prefer to stick with my Prada, Miu Miu, Marant, Alaia, Christopher Kane, MSGM, Gucci et al. I may only be able to buy some of it when it’s at that 70% off stage at the end of the clearance sale (or maybe from Vestiaire Collective or eBay two years later) but I’m old enough to happily stand aside from the celeb trend and leave it to the young… Or maybe I’m just a label snob. I can’t quite decide.

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