Fashion and Celebrity
In the early twentieth century, fashion designers helped bring about the cult of celebrity by forging a relationship between screen and fashion. It was the era of cinema, so the most adored celebrities were primarily actors and actresses from the silver screen. The original "it" girl Clara Bow, was carefully molded by fashion and Hollywood in the 1920s to represent glamour and style. Other stars such as Gloria Swanson adorned the fashion pages, personifying unrivaled beauty and chic. Exposing and exploiting the celebrity gave the fashion industry the ability to market and promote their latest designs both on and off the screen. The affiliation between celebrity and fashion is even stronger today.
In this era authors, artists and sporting heroes also commanded the accolade of celebrity. By the end of the 1950s, things were starting to change and the reason was that rock'n'roll was taking over the world. The Rock Star was born. Commanding just as much, if not even more, exposure trough their brand new music and antics both on and off the stage, the rock star was way too cool and free-spirited to be drawn into the fashion publicity machine. They remained independent on all fronts, including fashion and style; the were the trend setters, not followers.
In essence, those who were in the limelight had certain qualities; they has excelled within their field or made groundbreaking discoveries. However, in the last fifteen years we have witnessed quite a shift in the meaning of the term " celebrity." Nowadays it's not a must to have some sort of a talent to be in the spotlight. In out times privacy is hard to achieve, "reality" magazines and TV shows expose controversial behavior for the society to indulge. Instyle, People, Look, OK, and Heat are just a few if the magazines that are solely devoted to reporting this new brand of celebrity. Born from this are celebrities who aren't known for their talent but rather for their infamy and ability to manipulate and command media coverage.
The glamorous and sophisticated silver-screen heroines now seem like a distant memory. The relationship between celebrity and fashion then was by no means just based on glamour and style; it was status-bearing and had financial incentives for all involved. Nonetheless, in comparison to today's celebrity culture, it seems playfully naive.
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