New York Fashion Week | Celebrity is the new haute couture

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Yesterday at Phillip Lim I heard a videographer complaining "There’s no one here, and whenever someone does show up, they bring them out at the last minute so I can’t shoot them."

Many fashion brands may have been built on the dreams created by out-of-this world haute couture collections, but today, for many brands, this desire is built on the image of celebrity, which can arguably reach more people than the Haute Couture shows ever will. Celebrity is the new Haute Couture. Or, better said, celebrity now plays the dream-weaving and marketing role that Haute Couture has played in the past.

However, in a week when the front rows were supposed to be dripping with celebrities, the paparazzi at New York’s fashion shows were left wanting. Yes, pop star Rihanna made several appearances, as did Angie Harmon, but it seemed the biggest A-list stars had given New York Fashion Week a wide berth.

Until yesterday.

Jennifer_lopez_at_marchesa_2Red carpet darlings Keren Craig and Georgina Chapman of Marchesa scooped the surprise celebrity appearance of the week when a very pregnant J. Lo arrived at the brand’s tableau presentation for Autumn/Winter 2008.

In recent years, Marchesa has become a household name that has graced the same pages as Dior and Valentino, leveraging a media industry that has been built around celebrity fashion. The upstart brand was first propelled to fashion nirvana when Rinee Zellwegger appeared in a Marchesa dress for the premiere of Bridget Jones in London, and since then has regularly dressed major stars for awards shows, film premieres and star-studded events around the world.

We had already left by the time Jennifer Lopez arrived at Marchesa, but Style.com reports that a huge media horde had gathered to mark the occasion as she made her way into the Chelsea Art Museum.  The designers’ hearts must have leapt with joy. They had now managed to make up for some of the missed opportunity to beam images of their red carpet dresses around the world when the Golden Globes were canceled in January. The ongoing Hollywood writers’ strike has brought awards season, the stars’ and Marchesa’s normal stomping grounds, to a virtual halt.

Later on Thursday evening, Gucci threw a party to celebrate the opening of its New York store, with Madonna as their guest of honour and a huge supporting contingent of the Hollywood and fashion A-list. The stars finally came out of hiding.

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But for those not interested celebrity sartoria, you’ll be glad to know that Marchesa was well worth the trip to the Western fringes of Manhattan for the collection alone. It was impeccably executed and the standout look was the delicate armour of a black dress that was perplexing and alluring at the same time, as in, how did they manage to construct that?

The model wearing the dress, one Georgina Stojilkovic, must have read my mind because she asked if I wanted to touch the dress. I managed to resist the urge to do just that as my mind wandered to other questions, like who would be the lucky celebrity to wear this look? And, who would be able to pull it off?

The Business of Fashion

© 2008 Copyright Imran Amed – The Business of Fashion