Celebrity Clothing Lines: Tops of the Pop?

Having received the blessing of the bereaved family of Amy Winehouse, Brit-prep clothier Fred Perry announced on Monday that it would go ahead with a long-planned fall launch of a clothing line named after the (recently deceased) blues-pop chanteuse. Which raises the question: Who among you, seeing his significant other all dolled up for a party, actually wants to think, “There’s my little Winehouse!”?

Correct: none of you. Which is fine, because that’s not what you’ll be saying anyhow. Leaving aside the matter of who actually designed the collection, the Amy Winehouse pieces are sexy, sweet and tailored. When the clothing is good, the name on the label is irrelevant (unless you’ve got an ethical quibble with, say, Mr. Galliano). If your girl can get away with wearing the Houndstooth Longline Sweater Longline Sweater ($152.00), then she should. And if she prefers to pretend to be demure, then she’ll kiss you all over, oh so chastely, for gifting her the Houndstooth Tie Neck Dress ($241.00).

On to man clothes. I’m going to assume that you’re not interested in wearing Justin Timberlake jeans because you want everyone to know that you wear Justin Timberlake jeans. Presumably, Justin Timberlake also knows that, which is why William Rast, the line he’s launched with his designer buddy, is named after their grandpas. Still, a celebrity connection makes it easy for fashion neophytes to gauge a line. Timberlake looks good in trousers; ergo, the trousers he makes are probably good-looking — like the Eugene Skinny Chinos ($81.75). A word of caution, though: Give the pre-shredded jeans a pass. Instead, get holes in your pants the old-fashioned way. Do something manly, like failing to pop a wheelie.

While Timberlake has gained a favourable reputation for not taking himself too seriously, the same cannot be said for dear old Bono. In 2005, the earnest pop star and his wife Ali Hewson launched the Edun clothing label with the modest intention of helping to get Africa back on its feet. Some controversy has ensued over revelations that many of the manufacturing facilities were since moved to China; however, the T-shirts remain “African grown and sewn.” What you will see here is not a T-shirt; it is a very fine lightweight blazer that will take you happily into fall, and it is currently on sale ($197, from $493.50).

Then there’s Technobohemian. While perhaps deserving of an eye roll, the name of John Malkovich’s intimate little label is strangely apt. These clothes are interesting and beautifully made, and some of them are only slightly dandifying. Gingham trousers ($312), anyone? Shyer lads may gravitate to the relative safety of a silken tie; still, this cravatta ($33.20) is not for the faint of heart.

You’ll notice that, in order to purchase that last beauty, one must be able to read Italian. Or, one may take the time to “write to John,” as Mr. Being JM’s website urges, and find out if Malkovich’ll slip it in the post personally. Best of luck with that.

There’s no end in sight in terms of celebs who fancy themselves sartorial visionaries. 2012 will see a long-trumpeted line by Kanye West in collaboration with the wacky knitwear designer Louise Goldin; men’s underwear (natch) by David Beckham, to be available at H&M; and, most crazily, a collection of Rambo- and Rocky-inspired clothing by Sylvester Stallone. Sly, the label is called. Dear God, let it be as insane as it sounds.

Image courtesy of JournalDesVitrines.com.

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