Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Review: Rihanna for River Island: Celebrity hit or miss?

Victoria Beckham wearing her own fashion line
In a celebrity obsessed climate, fashion will follow celebrity. And after such a celebrity has spent many years as a clothes horse, exploited to promote items and labels beyond their own merit, why shouldn't the horse turn designer? Or at least turn head of their own designer label.

After all, once a celebrity is born they must ruthlessly convert every opportunity for self-promotion if they are to stay within the public's gaze. Their own clothing line is a self-seeking must, from P.Diddy to Victoria Beckham, from the Olsen Twins to Katie Holmes, celebrities who's first talent is to seduce the public eye, now have the opportunity to dress the public body.

This does seem like just another super-human ability of the celebrity to surpass millions of struggling mortals, endlessly learning, interning, and finally entry leveling - all in one go. Do I sound bitter? I am aware that every celebrity has their tear-jerking struggle to contend with, but originally in the music industry, rather than fashion. It seems that conquering the music charts, entitles one to conquer all creative industries (no wonder X Factor has such allure). And while the genuinely talented cross-overs do exist, these are surely jaded by their origins - a whispered famous nepotism always hangs on their head - 'they did not get this on talent alone.' 

I am aware this article is hideously unfashionable in the fashion industry - for how can a magazine that relies on celebrity endorsement itself, criticise their favourite clothes horses? Only designers such as Karl Lagerfeld and Vivenne Westwood can be relied on for a pinch of honesty in these times, designers who's reputation does not rely purely on celebrity.

Meanwhile as the public democratically elects their own leaders, so too do they elect their fashion trends and labels. We all know that Rihanna's label for River Island will boost sales, reputation and sell out almost immediately. Similar to Lily Allen's label for New Look, Kate Moss's label for Topshop, Kardashian's up and coming label for Dorothy Perkins, the personality of the celebrity is converted to clothes then to cash. Celebrities make fashion fashionable. 

Rihanna's River Island debut
Am I a puritan to worry that fashion is ultimately corrupted by these first famous, then style celebrated, designers? Why shouldn't we all dress in clothes that are personally endorsed by models and singers, not to mention firmly affordable, compared to the unaffordable designers celebrities actually wear? They are only taking it one money-making step further, by accepting the responsibility we gave them as our style icons.

Then it is up to each consumer to question whether they would have bought that badly made viscose dress if it wasn't for Kate Moss choosing it, whether they would have truly liked the Rihanna for River Island 'I've got an STI' styling and 90s grunge throwback, if it were not for her famous face. It is up to each of us to question whether fashion innovation is lost, truth is over-shadowed by endorsement and whether designers who aren't famous musicians get the attention they deserve? I personally did like one or two of the cropped tops from the Rihanna for River Island show and I would have worn the red dress five years ago. However in terms of actual fashion, I was certainly not blown away. It was your every-day cheap-looking youthfully-inclined clothes which although has a place on the high-street, can it debut next to high-fashion?

Interested in some innovative designers who actually design their own clothes? Look out for Helen Storey, Ada Zanditon and Cynthia Rowley.

We have Storey and Zanditon dress and corset at affordable prices here! 

By Rosalind Kendal

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