To examine the relationship that exist between celebrites, their fashion sense and consumption pattern of the past and present and how it has influenced our life style. Will be looking at who a celebrity is, what fashion entails and its influence on society or how it has shaped the modern world. Using both past and current celebrities.
Firstly, “Celebrity is defined as the state of being celebrated or simply a famous or celebrated person”. According to “Turner a celebrity maybe considered in three differentiated ways: as a genre of representation and a discursive effect, as a cultural formation that has a social function and lastly as a commodity traded by the promotions , publicity and media industries that produce these representation and their effects”(McClain, Amanda schreiner 1979).
“Finally, the concept of celebrity can also be defined as a system for valorising meaning and communication. As a system celebrity status is associated to a wide variety of domains and conditions within the contemporary culture.
The power of celebrity status appears in business, politics and artistic communities and operates as a way of providing distinctions and definition of success within those domains” (P.D Marshall,2001).
There are three types of celebrities as identified by Chris Rojek. Distinguishing each by how they gain fame or popularity and how this affects their public life as well as their perception. These are ascribed, achieved and attributed. With:
Examples of these are Prince William and Prince Harry of the British royal family, Angelina Jolie whose father was Jon Voight and Jaden and willow smith whose parents are Will and Jada Pinkett Smith
Celebrities are usually associated with fashion, they embody the things many people strive for such as the Fame, fortune and most importantly a killer wardrobe. Fashion on the other hand is defined “as the area of activity that involves styles of clothing and appearance”. Diana Crane identified fashion as “cloth choices providing an excellent field for studying how people interpret a specific form of culture for their own purpose, one that includes strong norm about appropriate appearances at a particular point in time as well as an extraordinary rich variety of alternatives”. (D. Crane, 2000). “According to the editorial policy of fashion theory: the journal of dress, body and culture, fashion is defined as the cultural construction of the embodied identity. As such it encompasses all forms of self-fashioning including street style as well as so-called high fashion created by designers and couturiers”. Its worth knowing that fashion is not only limited to clothing, there are fashion in automobiles, furniture and other objects although greater attention is given clothing because it has an intimate relationship with the physical body as well as the personal identity of the individual.
Looking at the origin of celebrity one can say that the 1950’s shaped the way we saw them. In Hollywood major studios clearly intended to become involved in the television programming as demand or increase in film programs increased. In the 1950’s two companies Walt Disney and universal moved into the television thus setting foundation for their role as diversified entertainment conglomerates at the end of the century. It can be noted that without the media presence it would have been difficult to see people as famous, as celebrities appears throughout all forms of media.
Exploring the relationship between celebrities and fashion in the past limiting myself to the 1950’s where it marked a sea change in fashion as noted in the book “fifty fashion looks that changed the 1950’s”.its noted that change was coming in faster than musical charts as fashion which was seen to be only associated with the rich and titled was coming from every corner of the street, with people from all walks of life, ages as well as all social backgrounds joining in. One of the notable people of the 1950’s we can talk about is the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The couple were seen and celebrated in fashion society as the ultimate trendsetters. The Duchess was noted for her perfect manner and style of dress as well as her vest and precious collection of jewellery whereas the Duke was master of style. His style of fashion has had influence on men’s fashion up to date. This is to say that the style of these couple shaped the way people dress as at that time and have also influence how modern society also dress. Their influence to current way of dressing can not be ignored.
Another person worth noting is Grace Kelly who married prince Rainier of Monaco on 19th April 1956 with their wedding arguably watched by over 30 million people with about two thousand reporters and photographers, it been, the first multimedia event on a modern scale. It is believed that her wedding dress is one of the most copied dress of all time which a studio is believed to have paid for as well as her extravagant wedding, with commentators noting that after 50 years down the line Kate Middleton’s wedding dress had features of Grace Kelly’s wedding dress. This is to note that Kate style have gone a long way to influence the way people see wedding as well as their style and dress to wear for a wedding.
Lastly Salvatore Ferragamo is one of the people that shaped the sense of fashion. He was born in 1898 and was a qualified shoe maker who moved to the USA at the age of 16 and started making shoes for Hollywood with some of his first customers been Lillian Gish and Mary Pickford. With increasing demand for off-duty shoes by the Hollywood stars, his business grew. He moved back to Italy and even without leather was able to use cellophane fish skin and canvas to make shoes. In the 1950s Italy was like the haven for fashion, style as well as the film industry in Rome which attracted people all over the world. This bringing stars to his door step of which he made shoes for all. Notably he made 70 pairs for Greta Garbo and annual spring order for the Duchess of Windsor. He was also one of the few designers who patented his ideas as well as those that was to be produced in multiples. I can also be noted that Salvatore have had considerable influence on the kind of shoe celebrities wear on and off the screen and to a large extent to no celebrities .
Furthermore, it should be noted that present celebrities and fashion are somehow shaping the world the way the 1950’s did, thus shaping the way people dress as well as their socio-economic and political life but the trend machine is moving faster than ever and it’s all attributed to social media like Instagram, Facebook, twitter and also the print media such as new paper and magazines. For example, Kate Middleton has caused series of product sell out after the cloths she wore as she went out was sold out. Notable was when she wore a Tory Burch dress to her sons play. When a photograph of her came out the dress completely sold out both at the brands website as well as it affiliated sites.
Again in the 21st century with the relationship between celebrities and fashion, “Michelle Green noted that a number of funs have gone for surgery in order to look like their favourite celebrities in the MTV show I want a famous face he interviewed Keanu Reeves a devotee who had paid $9000 for two rhinoplasties (nose jobs) and an implant to fill out his chin”. Also it can be said that musicians such as Beyonce, lady Gaga just to mention a few as well as other political figure such as Michelle Obama have always influenced what we wear.
Furthermore with regard to the relationship audiences have with celebrities, celebrities represent subject positions that their audience can adopt in their formation of social identities. Celebrities then is seen as an embodiment of a discursive battleground on the norms as well as behaviour of individuals and some personality within the culture.
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