Rihanna brings high street to catwalks at London show

LONDON, (Reuters) – Pop singer Rihanna launched her first clothing line with British high-street retailer River Island on Saturday, adding A-list glitz to the British leg of the international fashion circuit.

The fashion credentials of the British high street have flourished in recent years as more household clothing brands inch onto the catwalks of major fashion centres.

Rihanna
Rihanna

Models strutted in a line through a tiered catwalk of five square compartments at Rihanna’s show, pausing in each to showcase midriff-bearing mesh tops and yellow shift dresses.

Denim tops teamed with slouchy jeans and monochrome dresses with thigh-high slits mirrored the Barbados-born singer’s dressed-down but raunchy style.

“I loved it – it’s so Rihanna, it’s got Rihanna’s name all over it,” Los Angeles model Tolula Adeyemi said in the crowd.

Rihanna, a chart-topping R&B star, has already made a foray into fashion, teaming up with Armani Jeans in 2011.

With Britain facing the prospect of a triple-dip recession, many retailers have been forced to grapple for consumers facing income squeezes. The start of 2013 has seen a number of retail casualties, such as the demise of music retailer HMV.

But fashion industry and marketing experts warn A-list credentials are not always a sure-fire strategy for long-term brand success, and the haute-couture setting of the launch could even alienate Rihanna’s target mass-market high-street audience.

Mary Ellen Muckerman, head of strategy at international brand consultancy Wolff Olins, said it was not hard for celebrities to create buzz.

“The celebrity has a built-in network to get word out and raise the profile of the collaboration very quickly, but what collaborations do struggle with is probably sustainability – how can this not just be 15 minutes of fame,” Muckerman said.

STAR SELLING POWER

The boyish designs are Rihanna’s first with River Island, a clothing chain that traces its history on Britain’s high streets back more than 60 years and is known for its youthful clientele.

The crowd-drawing clothing line between British retailer Topshop and supermodel Kate Moss in 2007 is widely credited with initiating the burst of celebrity lines onto Britain’s high street, paving the way for Madonna and Kylie Minogue.

“Celebrity dressing drives a large part of the industry. If celebrities are wearing it, there is confidence that you and I will want to wear those clothes as well,” said Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council.

British value chain New Look said it attributed sales of just under 3 million pounds ($4.66 million) to its Kelly Brook line in 2012. The retailer reported group sales from its 1,100 international stores at 710.5 million pounds ($1.10 billion) for the first half of 2012.

Clothing retailer N Brown said its line with former England cricketer Freddie Flintoff accounted for around 5 percent of sales for menswear brand Jacamo and had spurred a ripple effect.

“The wider halo effect is what I see as being the real benefit of using a celebrity,” said Paul Kendrick, marketing director at N Brown.

HIGH STREET, HIGH FASHION

London Fashion Week, best known for cutting-edge design, is also hosting upmarket retailer Whistles, as chains increasingly share the runway schedule with up-and-coming designers such as Mary Katrantzou and Holly Fulton.

British Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman said in the British press this week she viewed the high-street foray into fashion as positive, but warned there was a saturation point.

Wendy Hein, a lecturer in marketing at Birkbeck College, said there was a mismatch between London’s high-fashion catwalks and the high-street label.

“River Island is very much a high-street retail brand and wouldn’t have that much of a connection to high fashion and couture,” Hein said. “I think considering this mix, there’s a danger here in terms of how this is being presented to high-fashion audiences and markets.” ($1 = 0.6442 British pounds)

Prince

Minnesota judge denies claims of 29 would-be heirs to Prince estate

(Reuters) – A Minnesota judge has excluded nearly 30 would-be heirs from the estate of the late pop star Prince, bolstering the inheritance claims of the performer’s sister and surviving half-siblings, probate court records released on Friday showed.

seven

‘Magnificent Seven’ remake to be featured at Toronto film fest

TORONTO,  (Reuters) – Director Antoine Fuqua’s remake of the 1960s Western “The Magnificent Seven” is expected to kick off the Toronto International Film Festival on Sept.

Garry Marshall

Director, producer and writer Garry Marshall dead at 81 – media

(Reuters) – Director, producer and writer Garry Marshall, who was responsible for creating sitcom hits such as “The Odd Couple” and “Happy Days” and directed hit movies “Pretty Woman” and “The Princess Diaries,” died on Tuesday, Variety reported.

Rajinikanth

Tamil superstar takes over southern India ahead of film release

(Reuters) – Frenzy gripped southern India yesterday, a day ahead of the release of Tamil cinema superstar Rajinikanth’s crime-drama film titled “Kabali.” Chennai, the capital city of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, buzzed with activity with men plastering life-size posters, depicting Rajinikanth’s character in the movie.

default placeholder

Singer Elton John gives boost to groups fighting AIDS

NEW YORK, (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Groups working to battle AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean are the first winners of grants established by singer Elton John to end discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, the singer said.

Rahat Fateh Ali Khan

Pakistani singer Khan unites Bollywood and Qawwali in UK shows

(Reuters) – Singer Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, known for both Bollywood hits and Qawwali, Sufi devotional music that dates back more than 700 years, is taking the two genres to Britain in August for three concerts.

Comments

About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: