Fruitful connections between stars and fashion brands in the spotlight

Rhinestone bodysuit and boots: the most famous costume from Taylor Swift’s tour, which arrives in Paris on Thursday, has imprinted the creations of Versace and Louboutin on the retinas.

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The post-pandemic return of mega-concerts, launched by Beyoncé and Taylor Swift in 2023, has put the spotlight back on the lucrative links between brands and pop stars through their stage costumes, duly recorded by magazines and specialized blogs. and social networks.

But “relations between stars and couture have almost always existed,” reminds AFP Delphine Pinasa, director of the French Center for Stage Costumes.

Before Madonna and her conical breasts designed by Jean Paul Gaultier in 1990, there was the theater actress Sarah Bernhardt, the first international “star” at the end of the 19th century, or the stars of the music hall in the interwar period , like Josephine Baker.

Delphine Pinasa identifies an acceleration since the 1960s, the rise of pop, with figures like Elvis Presley or the yéyés in France, the emergence of ready-to-wear and the democratization of television.

For singers, “clothes or accessories are a way of making themselves known and recognized,” explains the specialist, citing Edith Piaf’s little black dress or Elton John’s fanciful glasses. For some, like Lady Gaga, “there is also a story told through the costumes”.


AFP

“Exposure”

On the brand side, we are aiming for the “fashion phenomenon”.

An example of tremendous prescribing ability, sales of mirrored or rhinestone cowboy hats, like the one worn by Beyoncé for her “Renaissance” tour, increased by 1,601% in the United States and several countries around the world. Western Europe in August 2023, according to online payment solution Klarna.


Fruitful connections between stars and fashion brands in the spotlight

Photo provided by Parkwood Entertainment

The same month, Launchmetrics, a technology company specializing in data, estimated the media impact at $7.7 million for Alexander McQueen for dressing “Queen B” on stage and at $6.3 million for Versace thanks to Taylor Swift. .

The brands contacted by AFP did not give details of these partnerships but some of those who have worked with Beyoncé spoke to Vogue Business in December.

A dress by designer David Koma was “sold out” in one day on his website after the star wore a similar model. And Koma saw her Instagram followers increase by 53% in the month following her first concert.

The Dsquared2 brand also benefited from this gain in notoriety. “For us, the goal is not really sales but the image and exposure that comes from being associated with a major artist,” explained designers Dean and Dan Caten.

“Code messages”

During her “Eras Tour”, Taylor Swift multiplies the costumes (13 on average): ball gowns for her country debut, sequined ensembles for her pop productions or vaporous dresses for her forays into folk.


Fruitful connections between stars and fashion brands in the spotlight

AFP

“For this tour, she collaborated with Cavalli, Louboutin, Versace… brands with an established reputation which have demonstrated their ability to meet the requirements of dressing her for concerts”, lists Glenys Johnson, author of “Taylor Swift , the story of a fashion icon” (Place des Victoires editions).

However, “luxury brands have not always been interested because Taylor presents herself as very down-to-earth, unlike Beyoncé or Lady Gaga who position themselves as high-end and visually creative,” recalls Satu Hämeenaho-Fox, author of “Into the Taylor-Verse, at the heart of the Taylor Swift universe” (Gallimard Jeunesse).


Fruitful connections between stars and fashion brands in the spotlight

AFP

“But with its extreme reputation (more than 500 million subscribers on all social networks combined, Editor’s note), it has become a sort of classy institution, without being too daring, with which any brand would benefit from associating itself.”

Especially since her outfits are dissected by her fans, because the singer sprinkles them with “coded messages”. “There are often several layers of subtext, especially in the choice of colors, which blogs and social networks are excellent at identifying,” explains Satu Hämeenaho-Fox.

Before the start of her European tour, Taylor Swift released the album “The Tortured Poets Department” with a Victorian gothic aesthetic. “How is she going to present it on stage?” asks Glenys Johnson.

In her latest clip, the singer wears an outfit by American Elena Velez, who claims to offend certain “sensitivities” with her “post-woke” fashion. Her fans are “impatient to see if this means Taylor evolves into a more controversial figure,” continues Glenys Johnson. Her album is about wanting to go beyond what people expect of her, with her good girl image…”.

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