Cameron Diaz is diving into the fashion world with her new role as Artistic Director at …Celebrities have been endorsing brands for high dollar checks since the early days of radio and television. (Way back in 1890, a brand called Pears debuted the first spot, hiring actress Lily Langtry to say, "Since using Pears Soap, I have discarded all others.") Nowadays, stars are relied on more than ever to shill products, so some brands have taken the next step and actually given celebs creative reign within their companies.
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According to Women's Wear Daily, actress Cameron Diaz has inked a deal with the New York-based accessories company Pour la Victoire, and will have a voice in the brand's design direction and advertising campaigns. Diaz also owns an unspecified stake in PLV Studio, the parent company of Pour La Victoire and its lower-priced line, Kelsi Dagger.
"[This is a] true partnership," the star told WWD.
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Diaz isn't the only starlet to redefine the role of traditional celebrity endorsements. Music-mogul-turned-ad-exec Steve Stoute, owner of Translation advertising agency, told Variety that artists are at their best when allowed to actually create, rather than simply licensing their name and age.
"Artists have much more to bring than just their face," Stoute said. "Their finger is on the pop culture trigger. Why would we not embrace them and use their insights and experiences to help inform what we do?"
Many celebrities have worked closely with companies behind the scenes to create product lines-some have been successful and some have been disasters. Here, a rundown of the best and worst.
1. Cameron Diaz for Pour la Victoire Diaz told WWD she "doesn't do endorsements, really." (Um, we haven't forgotten that she endorses watchmaker Tag Heuer!) Though the actress has no design experience, she is clearly interested in fashion.
"It's a large part of my life," she told WWD. "What I wear is looked at. It influences what other people wear, because that's just the world we live in."
When asked about other celebrities that have tried and failed in the fashion biz, Diaz said she "can't speak about anyone else's work ethic."
"I know how I work and I know when something is important to me. I'll try my best and hope for the best. Not everyone succeeds or fails all the time. All I can do is engage with it."
Seems like an honest response, and hopefully Diaz will make her mark.
Sarah Jessica Parker struts her stuff in Halston as character Carrie Bradshaw in 2. Sarah Jessica Parker for Halston Heritage When she filmed scenes as Carrie Bradshaw for "Sex And The City 2" wearing lots of Halston Heritage, it seemed like a match made in fashion heaven to work formally with the brand. The actress was named President and Creative Director in January 2010 to help revamp the label.
"There is a huge amount I don't know and I am very candid about that, and I am excited to learn," Parker said in a press statement at the time. "There are going to be things that come up that I am equipped to deal with and answer and respond to…I have no allergy to learning."
Parker said she worked 16-hour days with the brand, but after two and half years, the pair called it quits. While Halston made no official comment on the severed partnership, Parker referred to it in an interview for Vogue's August 2011 issue. Some cite financial difficulties (the label was having a difficult time finding funds after backer Harvey Weinstein pulled out his cash flow), while others say it coincided with Halston's CEO Bonnie Tanker departure from the company.
In an interview with Marie Claire earlier this year, Parker alludes to sexism at the fashion house.
"I was brought in to help run a fashion company for about a year (although I don't want to name names)," she said. "I was shocked to experience an old-fashioned attitude about women and business: women had titles but were treated as figureheads. So, it wasn't one negotiation, but an ongoing negotiation to make it clear that my voice was just as important, and that if they wanted me to be an active participant, it had to be an open conversation."
3. Lindsey Lohan for Ungaro Lohan was named Artistic Advisor for fashion house Emanuel Ungaro in September 2009 and presented her first collection, designed in collaboration with designer Estrella Archs, less than a month later.
Unfortunately for the troubled actress, it was slammed by fashion critics. Apparently no one appreciated Lohan's love for heart-shaped nipple tassels.
"By far the worst offense were the glittery heart-shaped pasties worn under suit jackets," wrote L.A. Times fashion writer Booth Moore. "In a word, why? They were just begging to be laughed at."
Even Emanuel Ungaro himself deemed the collection a "disaster" and said the company was "well on its way to losing its soul."
"I'm furious but there isn't a thing I can do," he told an audience at the Estoril film festival in Lisbon, Portugal in 2009. "I have absolutely no link with that house." (According to People.com, Ungaro sold his house to an investment fund in 2005.) After the show, the Guardian reported that several major department stores and online retailers like Net-A-Porter dropped the line. Six weeks after the show, Mounir Mouffarige, president of Ungaro and the person responsible for recruiting Lohan, resigned. Then, Lohan failed to make an appearance at the Fall 2010 show. Glamour.com says a reporter asked her at the Kenzo show why didn't show up at the Ungaro show and she said, "Because I don't work from them anymore. There's legal things going on. I can't really discuss it."
Sounds like this was on collaboration that was doomed before it began.
4 Taylor Swift for Diet Coke In January, Coca-Cola confirmed that Diet Coke has committed to a "long-term partnership" with Swift. "I've said for years that Diet Coke just 'gets me' and my lifestyle," Swift said in a statement. "I'm so excited about our new partnership."
According to a press release, the singer's role is to "serve as a program ambassador for several Diet Coke initiatives and will be integrated into all key marketing efforts for the brand-including advertising, retail activation, experiential and more."
By April, Swift debuted her first commercial for the brand in which she is shown composing the lyrics for her song "22" as she sips on the soda. While it's not known exactly how much money Swift received in her new role, Billboard lists her as earning $35 million last year. She also serves as brand ambassador for Target, Sony, CoverGirl Elizabeth Arden, Sony Electronics and Keds.