February 26, 2008

That's Hot Because Paris Hilton Says So

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As much as I would love to say that the likes of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie and Lindsay Lohan are not role models, they are celebrities who have a prominent place in all forms of entertainment news. Somehow, what they wear and what they do, however unwise, imprudent or degrading, impacts our society. We often look to celebrities, if not as role models, at the very least as fashion icons.

Celebrities often get clothes, accessories and even electronics before the products are open for sale to the general public. They receive goods from new and established designers alike. As a result, many of the biggest trends originate in the celebrities’ closets.

Celebrities also may not necessarily be dressing themselves, especially when it comes to public appearances or red carpet events. Many celebrities hire personal stylists to help them select their wardrobes and individual outfits, and are, as such, especially well dressed. They take a lot of risks with their outfits, especially for events, and when those risks work they can make a distinctive and fabulous look.

Singers, actresses and even athletes also have an impact on the fashion industry as designers and models. J Lo, Jessica Simpson, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, P. Diddy, Jay Z, Gwen Stefani and Serena Williams are just some of the celebrities with their own clothing lines. The creation of perfume and cologne lines have also become the mark of successful celebrities like Sarah Jessica Parker or David Beckham. Angelina Jolie is the newest model for St. John; Victoria Beckham stars in current Marc Jacobs ads; Charlize Theron looks remarkably similar to Brigitte Nielsen circa 1980 in the J’Adore Dior perfume commercials; Scarlett Johansson modeled for the recent Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter ad campaign.

Alternatively, many big names in the fashion industry are now celebrities. Designers, like Ralph Lauren, are household names and internationally recognizable. Models, like Janice Dickinson, Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks are also big celebrities with involvement in the fashion industry beyond their modeling careers.

With celebrities taking such an active role in the fashion industry, it is no wonder that we are directly influenced by them. Although we may look to celebrities for their fashion know-how (at least on the occasions when it looks like they really know how) we are also influenced by other celebrity trends that we may not necessarily be able to hang in our closets.

With the Hollywood baby boom, pregnancy has become one of the hottest trends, with three pregnant women strutting the red carpet at the Oscars on Sunday evening. Another hot trend is naming these celebrity progeny names not fit for a child, unless that child wants to be made fun of for their overtly biblical (Moses), culinary (Apple) or otherwise outright bizarre names (Audio Science, Sage Moonblood).

Hopefully the Hollywood baby boom, especially the pregnancy of Jamie Lynn Spears, won’t start a trend. Alternatively, the trend towards adoption is a fashion worth replicating, assuming that the child has been adopted properly.

Angelina Jolie is the most prominent proponent of adoption from foreign countries as well as an advocate for the impoverished around the world. However, it seems that Angelina’s developed an adoption addiction. At some point, enough is enough.

Addiction, unfortunately, seems like yet another Hollywood trend. Such a trend must correspond with a stint (or repeated stints) in some luxurious rehab facility. Even a multi-hour or multi-day sentence in jail has become relatively expected. It is too bad that celebrities don’t have time for hair and makeup before they take those truly horrifying mug shots.

Making a sex tape or taking nude photos has also been a repeated trend. Nudity has been fashionable all the way back to Marilyn Monroe, and is now carried on by Lindsay Lohan. We can thank Paris Hilton for being a trendsetter in both the jail time and sex tape fads. But unlike the chic dress of these famous women, we should avoid imitating their raucous exploits.

Obviously not all Hollywood trends are worth reproducing. Although the celebrities may be a well-dressed and well-accessorized crowd, the American public is a relatively intelligent group and knows that some trends just aren’t worthy of imitation.

So let the well-dressed celebrities be fashion models — not role models — since they are so often incapable of the latter.