Celeb Fashion Lines: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

We’ll pass on dissecting the value of a “Lauren Conrad Autographed Handmade Baking Dish” and a “Jessica Simpson Mini Dallas Cowboy Helmet,” but when it comes to celebrity clothing lines, let us get serious for a moment. We just don’t think it’s right for someone to use their celebrity status to convince people to buy things like a “Kimora Lee Simmons Blue Tunic Dress” or worse yet, the “Baby Phat Plus Size Scoop-Neck Sweater & Five-Pocket Jeans.” Fortunately, for all the countless duds — anyone familiar with Scarlett Johansson, Sadie Frost, Mandy Moore or 50 Cent’s lines? we didn’t think so — there are a handful of winners.

For example, there’s The Row from the Olsen Twins, or more surprisingly, Nicole Richie’s House of Harlow. Richie, who infamously dropped a lot of weight and adopted the vintage style of her then-stylist Rachel Zoe, keeps it simple and fittingly 60s-inspired with her just-released jewelry collection. As for the Olsen girls (kiddie stuff at Wal-Mart aside), the duo have capitalized on their oft-imitated personal style by churning out plenty of lustable vintage-inspired pieces that mix downtown cool with uptown chic in their Elizabeth & James line (at Barneys New York), collections.

Continuing with cookie-avoiding style icons, Victoria Beckham delivers with her dVb jeans (though we could do without the butt patches); her collection of ultra-fitted sheaths and shift dresses, unveiled during NY Fashion Week in September, are undeniably well-made. That said one has to wonder how much of her inspiration was drawn from Roland Mouret, a designer the fashionista has been known to favor.

Over on the modeling side, while we could do without Erin Wasson’s line, we’re all over Kate Moss Topshop. The wears will not only hit the New York flagship Topshop store when it opens in the spring — Moss’ line will get its own concept shop within the anticipated mega-store.

As for musicians and male designers, we love Gwen Stefani’s L.A.M.B. for the rocker meets lady-who-lunches aesthetic, and former Louis Vuitton guest designer Pharrell Williams’s Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream, which is sold at Pharrell’s spaceship-inspired boutique in Soho. Overall however, when it comes to musicians, we recommend staying away from their wears. Consider if you will Beyonce’s House of Dereon, which consists mostly of overpriced Marchesa and Carmen Marc Valvo knock-offs; and of course, there’s Jennifer Lopez’s jumpsuit-heavy collections — are we the only ones disturbed by the fact that J. Lo has 25 freestanding stores? Then there’s Jessica Simpson. We’ll just let this gem speak for itself.

That said, it might be kids who’ve got it the worst. Would you really want your son in this graphic mess from LL Cool J’s Sears line? Or your daughter in an Avril Lavigne ultra-mini pleated plaid skirt with stud accents?

On a slightly brighter note, anyone remember Rachel Bilson? Last year’s equivalent to this year’s Leighton Meester has designed a clothing line in collaboration with DKNY Jeans. With fitted blazers going for $79 and skinny stretch black jeans going for $69, the line is pricier than most celeb collections aimed at juniors — but with fitted pieces and a color-palette consisting mostly of black with pops of white and yellow, Bilson delivers a solid collection deserving of the DKNY stamp. Though, we’d venture to guess you could find everything in her line at H&M for a whole lot less.

For us though, it’s the over-Fabulositized Kimora Lee Simmons that takes the don’t-cake. Sure Lauren Conrad’s line is boring, Eve’s collection is poorly-made, and Nicky Hilton can’t even get retailers to carry her Nicholai wears. But when you’re encouraging pre-teens to wear this or this or this, you’ve crossed the inappropriate and ugly lines by record-setting strides. And don’t even get us started on Baby Phat, Phat Farm, or the KLS Collection. We’ll just leave you with this, and our apologies.