Much Ado About Nothing?

Windy Aulia talks about the latest obsession with celebrity fashion

Portrait of Tammy Strobel
Windy Aulia talks about the latest obsession with celebrity fashion
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Fashion obsessed people are a dramatic lot: Their world is ruled by superlatives. Anything designer is Amazing!

Divine! Fabulous! And the creator of these beauties, the designer, the genius behind the fashion, becomes a celebrity in his or her own right. From a fashion point of view, I can see where that comes from—it’s instinctive to coo and gasp when looking at a beautiful dress, a pair of shoes or gorgeous croco bag. But then, there’s this whole other celebrity hullabaloo that I can’t quite get my head around—that of movie stars and music sensations.

I know my Natalie Portmans and Jennifer Lawrences, of course, but I would not gawk or clamour to them if I was face to face with them.

Real life example: Although I have been smitten by Selena Gomez for a while now—longer than I’d care to admit—I was more excited about taking pictures with Nicolas Ghesquière than with the singer at the Louis Vuitton Cruise show last year. But that’s me; the fashion me.

The past few years have given rise to a new kind of trend in designer and celebrity portfolios.

They are starting to look quite alike.

Celebrities have turned designers as the fashion industry has gone into a celebrity-collaboration frenzy.

And why not? Take Rihanna, for example. She constantly pushes fashion boundaries with high-end, fashion-forward pieces with an urban flair—and always wears them with an edge. I have fallen under the Rihanna spell. I adore her front row style. She is on-point, on-trend and a sight for sore eyes amidst a sea of other street style stars who stick to a template (one that works, nevertheless) when it comes to their ensemble: Colour-blocked top, short skirt, vertiginous heels or Nike Air Max and long coat perched on their boney shoulders—I could almost tick these off a list with my eyes closed. Rihanna rules the street style scene in that aspect.

Understandably, this adoration of mine falters when it comes to her recent collaboration with Puma—which includes the Fenty creepers that sold-out instantaneously.

Why are people (myself included) obsessed with these shoes? Is it because of Rihanna or is it because it is truly a kick-ass design? Because when a celebrity becomes a “designer” or “creative director,” it’s hard to separate the celeb’s persona from the design value.

There are two kinds of celebrity clothing lines.

One, when a celebrity with business acumen spots a market and creates a brand to fill that void. Often, the celebrity will create clothes that she’d want to wear. Just take a look at Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B that was all the rage a few years back. Similarly, some others like Victoria Beckham and the Olsens’ The Row have gone from strength to strength creating waves at New York fashion week.

The second lot are the fashion-conscious celebrities, who are simply extending their fame by plastering their names onto whittled-down versions of their fabulous wardrobes—like Kanye West’s Yeezy line, a collaboration with Adidas Originals. It catapulted his fashion credibility overnight, putting him in the same league as Stella McCartney and Yohji Yamamoto, who came before him. Take a good look at Yeezy’s recent fashion presentation-slash-album-drop event in New York City’s Madison Square Garden. It was more like a marketing spectacle than example of when “celeb” jeopardises fashion.

That said, celebrity sells. Fashion collaborations are the closest fans can get to these celebrities’ closets; to dressing like a celebrity at (relatively) pocket-friendly prices. No wonder brands are lapping it up and throwing money at celebrities to endorse a line.

Had Rihanna and Kanye West put in as much effort into their fashion lines as their music, I’d probably start looking at them in a different light. Now, they seem more like creative exercises to massage their egos rather than true fashion collections. Which makes me wonder: Would Nicolas Ghesquière be able to write a hit tune if he entered the recording studio? He just might, who knows. I would still buy Ghesquière’s album should he come up with one. I guess when you are obsessed about something or someone, you would like to wear their shoes and hum their tune.

As for Puma’s Fenty creepers, let’s just say I’m having second thoughts about them. Send me your comments on Twitter or Instagram.