The recent appearances of celebrities during Fashion Month appeared to be reported more than the fashion labels and models themselves.

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Anjelica Huston, Debra Messing, Paula Patton, Amber Heard and Jessica Alba at Michael Kors (Business Insider Australia 2012).

Fashion Month is highly prestigious, alluring and attracts people from all over the world. A broad range of celebrities from all disciplines like Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, Dakota Fanning, Sarah Jessica Parker, Parker Posey, Miley Cyrus, Whoopie Goldberg and Martha Stewart as well as many more attend designers’ shows. As seen above, the stars come dressed in their best, draped in jewellery. They select flattering and bold choices in hair, make-up, dress, shoes and accessories. Keeping up with the fashion trends in their own styling choices, the celebrities emit that glowing and confident aura (Business Insider Australia 2012).

Some celebrities are contracted to attend, other stars are graciously offered a Paris holiday and some are paid thousands of dollars to appear front row as reported here (Business Insider Australia 2012).

However, should we as followers of the contemporary fashion world be calling for a greater focus on the designers and models themselves? Or is there more to the celebrity appearances than simply ‘rocking up’?

Elizabeth Wilson, author on the subject offers great insight and presents fresh perspectives regarding celebrity glamour.

Yet glamour is not about consumption in the consumer society, although the word has come to be continually misused to suggest that it is. Nor is it simply about luxury. The sociologist Georg Simmel saw how fashionable dressing sought to extend the ‘force field’ of the individual’s personal aura, making it wider and more striking; fashion as an adjunct to power (Simmel 1971). Dress did not simply indicate power in the obvious sense of a uniform; nor was it about mere wealth. More subtly, it brought the combination of person and clothing to a pitch at which that person created glamour by means of daring departures from the conventionally well dressed, combined with an aura of defiance (Wilson 2007, 98).

Wilson drew on the authoritative support of sociologist Georg Simmel, concluding that glamour in fashion inspires people to be more daring in their approaches in how they dress and how they present their identity.

It’s great when anyone (celebrities included) take an interest in high fashion. However, it raises questions when these celebrities are being paid to attend shows. Are designers paying celebrities to attend their shows because they are afraid of underwhelming the audience or that their shows aren’t exciting enough to attract the average person without them? Perhaps that’s what Fashion Month is about? Rather than celebrating, critiquing and embracing new and different brands in high fashion, Fashion Month is using celebrity appearances to merely advertise the labels, boosting cultural capital and appealing to consumers’ desires to be as glamorous as the celebrities.

That may be the case for individual brands, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps it’s a win-win situation; brands get their names out, celebrities score easy paychecks and the viewer feels empowered from seeing those they admire exuberayting confidence. Despite the hundred-thousand dollar deals, the appearance of celebrities at major global events such as Fashion Month is boosting confidence and self esteem in viewers, encouraging people to be bold in how they express themselves and ‘strut their stuff.’

Written by Sarah Channer.

 

References

Business Insider Australia. 2012. Here Are The Crazy Paychecks Celebs Get To Attend Fashion Shows. Updated 29 September. http://www.businessinsider.com.au/here-are-the-crazy-paychecks-celebs-get-to-attend-fashion-shows-2012-9?r=US&IR=T.

Wilson, Elizabeth. 2007. A Note On Glamour. London: Routledge.

 

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