Celebrity factor may be waning

A model at Stella McCartney's show. (AP)

Maybe it's the effect of recession, maybe it's simply a case of Hollywood fatigue – whatever the reason, buyers and designers at Paris fashion week are declaring the end of the celebrity cult.

Backstage at the shows, the talk was not of glitzy muses such as actress Lindsay Lohan, but of classic accessories, inspiration from the archives and long-lasting pieces to tempt choosy shoppers amid a slight recovery in spending.

"I think we're moving away from [the star factor], it's more about the product rather than celebrity endorsement," said Sebastian Manes, Director of Accessories at Selfridges. "Now we're going for values."

Pop stars and actors still filled the front rows at Stella McCartney Monday, but the spotlight was on mannish blazers and soft knits that normal women might actually like to wear. Quilted jackets and waistcoats, striped bumble bee A-line dresses and open-backed orange or fuchsia evening dresses with henna-tattoo lace detail played to McCartney's strengths.

"This collection is a response to moving on, moving upwards, and really addressing what women are going to need in the future to make them feel better about themselves," McCartney said after the show.

Fashion house Emanuel Ungaro bet heavily on the star factor when it hired actress Lindsay Lohan as adviser last year, but the resulting line was panned and sold less than expected.

At the Monday show, designer Estrella Archs tried to talk as much as possible about the Ungaro archives, and as little as possible about her collaboration with Lohan. Polka-dot dresses were paired with grass-green or pink shoes and accessories; skimpy bustiers with snow-leopard-print trousers – not very autumnal in theme, but more wearable than Lohan's buttocks-exposing minis.

"I think designers have taken note that people want longevity in their wardrobe. The brand is not enough," said Danielle Merollo, Director of Personal Shopping at Americana Manhasset, a luxury mall near New York city.


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