In hopes of distancing themselves from Sharon Stone’s recent remarks that the earthquakes in China were karmic retribution for the Communist country’s treatment of Tibet, Dior removed the Totale Skincare ads featuring the actress’ face.

Although the outspoken blonde apologized and vowed to personally provide aid to the devastated people of the Sichuan Providence, Dior feared a boycott from a nation that is growing exponentially – and spending money.

How much do celebrities affect the established image behind a brand?  Are they just pretty, recognizable faces leveraging the label, or are they really influencing consumers to purchase goods?

Sienna Miller for Tod’s:

In their first run at celebrity endorsement, Italian fashion house Tod’s tapped Sienna Miller as the face of the Winter 2007/2008 campaign, on the heels of naming Derek Lam Creative Director.  Tod’s image has always signified luxe leather driving shoes on an archetypical wealthy woman with a perfect bob straight out of Greenwich, Connecticut – not a young actress with a bohemian/rockstar sensibility.

This could have been a single incident of re-branding, but then Upper East Side princess Gwyneth Paltrow replaced Sienna for the Spring 08 campaign.


Vanessa Paradis for Miu Miu


Hipster it-girl Kirsten Dunst was ousted as the face of Miu Miu after only one season in favor of Johnny Depp’s lady, Vanessa Paradis.  The pop star is beautiful and charismatic,  and very French. Perhaps it is Vanessa’s impossible level of cool and previous experience modeling for Chanel that attracted the intellectual designer.


Victoria Beckham for Marc Jacobs


The living doll idea behind the campaign for Marc Jacobs shot by Juergen Teller features Victoria Beckham climbing and sitting in branded bags, and is what Marc called a lesson in “irony and perversity.” After seasons of utilizing the under-current star power of Indie It-girls like Charlotte Rampling and Sofia Coppola, Jacobs, Teller and Beckham made an artistic comment on the idea of celebrity. 

The photos subverted the overly-preserved, overly saturated, overly orchestrated public image of Beckham.  And it became evident that even a shoe photographed on a famous foot causes sales to soar.

It’s certainly a risk to opt for a public figure to rep a brand. The moral to the Sharon Stone/ Dior saga is simply this:  proceed with caution.

Photos courtesy of the Fashion Spot forums.