Hijacking the Runway: How Celebrities Are Stealing the Spotlight from Fashion Designers

A fascinating chronicle of how celebrity has inundated the world of fashion, realigning the forces that drive both the styles we covet and the bottom lines of the biggest names in luxury apparel. From Coco Chanel's iconic tweed suits to the miniskirt's surprising comeback in the late 1980s, fashion houses reigned for decades as the arbiters of style and dictators of trends. Hollywood stars have always furthered fashion's cause of seducing the masses into buying designers' clothes, acting as living billboards. Now, forced by the explosion of social media and the accelerating worship of fame, red carpet celebrities are no longer content to just advertise and are putting their names on labels that reflect the image theyor their stylistscreated. Jessica Simpson, Jennifer Lopez, Sarah Jessica Parker, Sean Combs, and a host of pop, sports, and reality-show stars of the moment are leveraging the power of their celebrity to become the face of their own fashion brands, embracing lucrative contracts that keep their images on our screens and their hands on the wheel of a multi-billion dollar industry. And a few celebritieslike the Olsen Twins and Victoria Beckhamhave gone all the way and reinvented themselves as bonafide designers. Not all celebrities succeed, but in an ever more crowded and clamorous marketplace, it's increasingly unlikely that any fashion brand will succeed without celebrity involvementeven if designers, like Michael Kors, have to become celebrities themselves. Agins charts this strange new terrain with wit and insight and an insider's access to the fascinating struggles of the bold-type names and their jealousies, insecurities, and triumphs. Everyone from industry insiders to fans of Project Runway and America's Next Top Model will want to read Agins's take on the glitter and stardust transforming the fashion industry, and where it is likely to take us next.