The price of a celeb's wardrobe
Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld was livid with actress Meryl Streep for not wearing one of his creations to the Oscar Awards this year. Karl alleged that the actress backed out from wearing his collection at the last minute because another label, Elie Saab, was paying her to sport their collection on the Oscars’ red carpet. Incidentally, Karl couldn’t digest the fact that Meryl rejected a 100,000-Euro frock that he was giving for free! Lagerfeld went on to call Meryl “cheap”, only to apologise later.
Actress Priyanka Chopra, too, did something similar. Wearing Lorraine Schwartz jewellery at the Oscars, the actress — who is the face of the Nirav Modi jewellery line — decided against endorsing the brand. This came as a surprise to many. What was the real reason behind Priyanka ditching Nirav? Did Lorraine’s collection suit her Ralph & Russo outfit better? Or did Lorraine strike a better deal with PC and her stylist?
You could buy an apartment at the price you pay for a Chanel dress, or a car for the price of an Abu-Sandeep lehenga. But celebs never really have to pay for clothes or jewellery. It is almost always gifted or lent. This is how the system of freebies works — the stylist gets in touch with a bunch of designers, shortlists the looks he or she likes from their collections and shows them to their clients, who ultimately choose what they like best, and return the rest.
If you have a personal rapport with the designer, you can dress your kids and granny for free too! The system prevails in India as well. Designers don’t mind parting with creations for nothing, because of the publicity they get when a celeb wears their clothes.
Designer Nachiket Barve, in whose creations Sonam Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Malaika Arora, to name a few, have been spotted in, says, “I have never paid anyone to wear my designs. I think the only ones who would be willing to pay somebody to wear their clothes are probably upcoming designers looking for publicity.”
The only time a movie star is paid a hefty sum to wear a certain brand is when they walk the ramp during a fashion week, explains designer Althea Krishna. In such a scenario, designers are prepared to pay the celeb anything between Rs 5 to Rs 10 lakh to create the right buzz. The money spent is not grudged as you get a celebrity endorsing your product for far less than they would normally charge to advertise a brand in an ad campaign!
Hyderabad-based designer Archana Rao says, “If you want a celebrity to walk the ramp for you, you will have to pay them. Also, if you’re an upcoming designer, it’s an inspirational process for you to give away something from your collection for free to a celebrity who’s in news.” The stylist is most often paid by either the producer or the star to ensure the actor is always looking well-turned out off-screen as well.