Yesterday, Cameron Diaz was announced as the Artistic Director of Pour La Victoire but with Will and Kate's baby dominating every news feed, the story didn’t pick up much traction.
On top of being Artistic Director, she’s also acquired a stake in PLV, which means she’s thrown down some cash and/or is accepting stock in lieu of a salary, which is how they hope to make her foray into fashion seem more legit. Other than a campaign with TAG Heuer, Cameron hasn't really come off as a seller – no perfume, or hair care line, or haute couture campaigns. It’s almost as if she’s been content being a very successful and busy movie star.
So what’s changed?
WWD had the exclusive interview, and Cam and the PLV team explain the genesis of their new partnership and it sounds a little… defensive (especially when Lohan’s tenure at Ungaro is mentioned). Like even they know that a celebrity with zero design experience has no business being an artistic director of a fashion brand.
Cam is open about what her status brings to the table, saying, “I don’t do endorsements really. This is completely different. Being influential in a brand and in its [advertising] campaigns interests me. I love fashion. It’s a large part of my life. What I wear is looked at. It influences what other people wear because that’s just the world we live in.”
But as we’ve discussed many times, does loving something (art, décor, handbags) make you qualified to run a company that specializes in it? To sit on a design team with people who have actual, you know, design backgrounds? The Olsens might say yes, whereas Sarah Jessica Parker’s Halston experience probably scarred her for life.
Cameron will focus on PLV’s higher range at $250-$500 a pop, and explains that it is meant for the modern woman, like her: “We want the brand to be accessible for that working girl,” she said. “I work hard for my money. I want it [the collection] to be sensible, whether you have a lot of money or you are scraping together pennies.”
I do believe Cam thinks she works hard for her money, and loves clothes, and she does have fantastic street style, but why does that have to translate into something? Why can’t a female celebrity ever be a good dresser, and just leave it at that? While many people dream of running away from their office jobs, it seems years of movie sets and job uncertainty causes actresses to dream of a nice cozy cubicle and bagged lunch.
To kick-off her new position, Cam oversaw an advertising campaign shot by Terry Richardson (what is there to oversee? You know exactly what you are getting when you hire him) and there will be a big push of her curated selection on social media (basically she will flip through the lookbook and pick her favourite pairs). So she’s easing into it, I guess.
In such a cutthroat and cynical industry, PLV seems weary about the perceived inauthenticity of celebrity partnerships, and although they dismiss the idea of a capsule collection, they are surprisingly frank in disclosing their motives. PLV chief executive officer Chris Nakatani tells WWD, “She will engage her friends and associates to wear the product. That will be positive.” Oh so basically, they want Cam to ask Drew and Gwyneth and maybe Reese to take a pair for a stroll, and happen upon some photographers along they way. (Is that all it takes to be an "artistic director" now?)
But as the celebrity-as-executive/designer/creator trend grows, there are only so many friends to tap into. If Jessica Seinfeld and Gwyneth are going for dinner, are they going to pull out a pair of Pour La Victoire pumps, or stick with their good friend Stella McCartney? Maybe a Stella blazer and PLV boots. Crisis averted.