By Margretta Sowah
In the temperamental and seductive world of brands there are layers of complexities, and elements of surprise that bring an aspirational concept to life. There is no denying the increase in consumer curiosity for this evolving trade; wanting to know the ‘hows’ and the ‘wheres’. Many companies have risen and fallen under the pressure of satisfying designer [x]’s creative urges with practical needs of the consumer. These purchasing decisions are aided by fashion trends that spark a dialogue globally. Having the right brand ambassador, influencing potential customers, can spell billion dollar revenue. Hey, if the shoe fits…
Kate Upton x EXPRESS
What do Kate Upton and your favourite pair of EXPRESS denim jeans has in common? All. American. Charm. Say what you will about Miss Upton, she knows how to stir a crowd. EXPRESS, a Columbus-based specialty apparel and accessories retailer for the young adult demographic (ages 20 to 30), appointed Kate as their brand ambassador and spokesperson.
We know Miss Upton is a model. A Sports Illustrated model. Kate represents their target market – the “true American girl.” In their own words: ‘She’s fresh, she’s sexy, and she’s iconic.’ Kate’s love of EXPRESS in her youth sparked their 2014 denim collection, inspired by her favourite pair of jeans – the perfect fit for the two parties, Kate and EXPRESS.
Shu Pei Qin x Maybelline
Shu Pei Qui is representing the Chinese market in a fresh new way. In her most lucrative cosmetics contract with Maybelline, Shu Pei will join other bombshells at Maybelline with her own print campaign. Shu has been quoted saying, “When I shopped for Maybelline’s mascara in drugstores I used to dream how wonderful it would be to become a Maybelline girl one day!”
The need for ethnic diversity in fashion will always be at the forefront of the consumer’s path to purchase. Particularly when it comes to cosmetics contracts, an honour for any wide –eyed and style conscious woman. Estee Lauder had its first Asian face for the brand in Lui Wen and now Miss Qui is following in her steps. After all, the Asian market is becoming one of the largest commercial forces in fashion – influencing every aspect from Runway to shop front.
Maybelline’s CEO said: “Shu Pei not only looks outstanding, but she also has inner fire. Her dazzling image and style and unique temperament in the fashion world […] We are convinced that signing with Shu Pei internationally for our team in Asia injects fresh energy.” The Asian-Chinese market needs to be represented in American beauty culture just as much as African, Spanish or Indian – or any other nation.
Joan Smalls x Estee Lauder
Joan Smalls is a style icon to many. Her Puerto Rican heritage makes Smalls a vibrant (27 is still young by any stretch of the imagination) and sultry force in the modelling arena. Smalls was chosen to be the Spokesmodel for Estee Lauder in 2014. Their fairytale meeting? According to Vogue.com, Joan was prepping for the Costume Institute Gala when… “I knew my dress was going to be a simple tan gown by Vera Wang, and I was just sort of like, ‘This needs something – I love how matte lipsticks don’t look too overpowering or in-your-face, even if the colour is bright.”
Joan is in love with the ‘chic and sophisticated’ effect of a mattey pout. According to Small’s interview with Estee Lauder.com she says, “I’ve always liked how the colours in the Pure Color Lipstick line read on first swipe, without having to apply layer upon layer—which is a problem I often have, especially with my skin tone—so I asked, ‘Can we do this formula, but make it more matte?’”
Pure Color Envy Matte Sculpting Lipstick was Smalls’ first creative collaboration with the brand. The video campaign for the collection follows Joan as she goes about her day; from waking up (choosing her lipstick shade) and wandering around the city streets before falling into bed – at the end of a long (but productive) day… probably in gifted Victoria’s Secret sleepwear. Some women have all the fun.
Rihanna x Dior
“A presence looms in a nighttime Versailles. Captured by Steven Klein’s camera, Rihanna passes through the sumptuous salons and the Hall of Mirrors. Enigmatic and enchanting, the singer heads to the palace gardens, where their box hedges, clipped to spell the House’s emblematic initials, convey a fairytale air. As the only light, the glow of candles and moonbeams highlight the details of the Esprit Dior Tokyo collection: the metallic closure and cannage of the Diorama bag, the silvered spangles of a dress, the finely-crafted metal of the Tribale earrings, the sequins sprinkling a nose veil.” – Dior.com
Rihanna is no stranger to controversy. The Rated R songstress is a veteran in the Fashion industry. Having her own show (Style to Rock) on the StyleNetwork, to her many successful fragrances to her collection for River Island – and then proves she gets paid by dropping a track called “Bitch Better Have My Money (BBHMM). BadGirlRiRi is a creative supernova. Rihanna latest shoot for Christian Dior is all about Decadence – something the Barbadian artist is no doubt well versed in. “Pour it up. Pour it up […] Still got my money.”
Shot by Craig McDean for Dior Mag, Rihanna has official reached new heights of stardom. Cultivating strong business relationships with some of the fashion heavyweights – this campaign for Christian Dior began in 2013; announcing she would be the house’s new representative. A first for the French fashion house as our RiRi is the first black woman offered the role of brand representative. And more on decadency… the film and print campaign was shot by Steven Klein in the Palace of Versailles.
“It feels fantastic […] it is such a big deal for me, for my culture, for a lot of young girls of any colour. I think to be acknowledged by Dior means a lot, as a woman, to feel beautiful – to feel elegant and timeless.” Phresh out the runway.
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan x Longines
If you have ever watched a Bollywood movie, there is a good chance you would have seen a bewitching woman by the name of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Her list of credentials includes: modelling, a degree in architecture, a Miss World title, a philanthropist (she has her own charity foundation that aims to help disadvantage children in India – on a private jet somewhere Oprah is laughing, a Cannes Film Festival winner and subsequently a one-time festival panellist. She even branched into American films with Pride and Prejudice in 2004 – that was 11 years ago!
The most noted kudos in her toolkit to this day (besides being the Princess of Bollywood) is her contract as a spokesperson for the luxury Swiss watch brand, Longines.
‘The Indian Beauty’, as said by Longines.com, ‘has superbly embodied the Longines slogan “Elegance is an attitude” for more than ten years.’ Representing the romantic and luxury aspect of India, Aishwarya is setting an example for young women in her home country; reminding them that everyone , no matter where you are from or how old you are, can be elegant.
Now that is timeless advice.