Starry Eyed Comes at a Price

For some, the opportunity to even set foot inside the venue of a coveted fashion show is an experience reserved for dreams.  For others, it is a chance to cash in big and get some pretty pictures taken on the side.

The latest secret of the fashion world to surface surrounds the issue of celebrities and socialites being paid thousands of dollars to sit front row.  Although such dealings have been going on for over 25 years, the details of these arrangements are only now coming to light.

This business means big money.  Music popstar Rihanna was reported to have received up to $97,000 for her attendance at the Chanel 2012 Fall show.  Other starlets including Blake Lively and Kim Kardashian have made amounts near $50,000 for a seat, whilst Chloe Sevigny gets $65,000 for her endorsement of the brand in question.  Which is exactly what this practice is – an endorsement or advertising contract.  These appearances see the values of a brand being attached to the face of a celebrity.  Gone are the exclusive advertising contracts that loom high on a celebrity’s agenda.  Instead appearances at fashion shows have become common practice and frankly gather easier money.  Such deals allow designers to showcase their latest collection, whilst conversely highlighting the various celebrity’s ‘supposed’ love for their label.

Blake Lively with Anna Wintour, Chanel 2010-11 show

Rihanna Front and Centre

Not all designers are happy with this arrangement, however.  French designer Nichole Farhi voiced her concern on the issue stating that “It is so unprofessional. I have never paid a celebrity and I will never do it. It’s stupid.”  Mixed feelings surrounding the secret business between celebrities and designers, which has also raised many ethical concerns.

The designs no longer reign supreme at a fashion show, as the attention has shifted towards A-list celebrities that are being ‘forced’ to come and show their support.  English designer Mark Fast says that he has never paid someone to come to one of his shows but would prefer to “spend the money on the work itself” as opposed to celebrity appearances.  Whilst this opinion shows logical reasoning, it is one not shared by many in the competitive industry.

It must be noted however, that not all celebrities are guilty of this behaviour.  Hollywood It girls Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman regularly speak out to say that they never take money to sit front row, but rather attend shows due to their love for the brand.

Nicole Kidman

This whole saga has made me wonder from what stems society’s fascination with celebrities? What forces designers to pay the big dollars for a mere photograph of a style blessed star?

The public’s obsession with celebrity culture is in my opinion, a result of the constant representation of them as ‘higher beings’.  Magazine articles, television segments, radio interviews, photographs and the Internet are just some of the media used to gain an insight into the hallowed life of a star.  The high status attached to a celebrity puts them on a pedestal that we secretly want them to fall from so that we can read about it in the next issue of OK Magazine. Although a sad reality the obsession with celebrities is a common and accepted aspect of modern society.  Paying them to dress up and appear at events is only fuelling the untouchable attitude of Hollywood’s sweethearts.

I Guess it does pay to be fashionable (and a celebrity) after all….but what else is new?