"In 1961, I was nine years old and starving hungry for everything that was stylish and groovy. I clapped eyes on the [Jaguar] E-type and flipped. This beautiful object has been a personal design obsession of mine ever since. The E-type was created fifty years ago during the Mid-Century design revolution. The goal of the April 20th celebration is to draw a perfectly straight line from that period of fabulous innovation to the present day when great design is once again at the forefront of our culture.”
– Simon Doonan
The event Mr. Doonan is referring to is the Jaguar E-Type’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, which took place last Wednesday at the Frank Gehry-designed IAC building in NYC. Luxury, design, and originality were the buzzwords of the evening, a catalyst of which was Doonan, who masterminded the evening’s aesthetic (complete with an E-Type replica emblazoned with a decoupage of 60s fashion and lifestyle photography). He wasn’t the only Jaguar fan involved: Megan Fox (flanked by husband Brian Austin Green, below) made a surprise appearance to emcee the global unveiling of the 2012 XKR Coupe.
Three bold-faced names – Gehry, Doonan, and Fox – and all seem to align perfectly with Jaguar’s brand in the past, present, and future. Walking home that evening, I started think about celebrity endorsements and what a real Catch 22 they can be. On the one hand, having a high-profile name attached to your product is an instant attention grabber, especially in today’s celeb-obsessed society. A job responsibility of nearly every fashion publicist I know is to get their clients’ clothes/bags/shoes/etc on the bodies of stylish, well-known celebs. A restaurant which had trouble filling its seats one week might barely be able to keep up with reservation requests if the likes of Brangelina are spotted dining there.
Such cases are lucky (or unlucky) coincidences but when a brand actually PAYS for a celebrity’s endorsement to garner buzz, the partnership choice can raise more than a few eyebrows. Some partnerships make total sense: Mark Wahlberg for Calvin Klein Underwear (come on, now) or, say, Bill Cosby for Jell-O; others, leave us scratching our heads a bit (Jamie Lee Curtis for Activia? Really?)
So what works and what doesn’t? I’d love to hear what you all think…
The Fashion Spot's Editor-at-Large, Julie Bensman, is also the Entertainment Editor for Niche Media, whose titles include Gotham, Hamptons, Ocean Drive and LA Confidential. Closed Set is a collection of her musings on all things fashion, from an editor’s desk to your desktop.