Can Celebs Up Their Star Status With Clothes?

Beyonce Knowles' House of Dereon line makes fashion sense. Her mother, Tina Knowles, who was sewing up Destiny Child's sparkly dresses when Dior and Versace wouldn't loan them a frock, has helped turned Knowles and her Destiny's Child divas into a designer's dream.

Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen came onto the fashion scene as tween queens and have made some serious dough off Wal-Mart customers. Now that they are a little older, a bit wiser and a lot chicer, they're hyping a newer line that's more upscale and sexy at the ultrahip Maxfields, one of my favorite Los Angeles shopping destinations.

It is the power of the press and the impact of a name that gets licensors hot and bothered to develop a brand, and now, with the democratization of fashion, everyone of every economic level wants to have a bit of Hollywood high life in their own world. It is clearly not about quality of product or design -- it's just about makin' mo' money. Manufacturers don't love fashion or pop stars but they respect the money, and if you can make millions for a record label or movie studio, they presume you can make millions for them.

Take, for example, Jessica Simpson. Her movie career is mediocre to say the least. Her record sales are lukewarm. But her coat collection? It's cohesive and cute and expected to become a cash cow. Her modestly priced shoe line is a sizzling sensation that sells out in stores quicker than you can say "Chicken of the Sea."

One of the strangest success stories on a retail level is Carlos Santana's women's shoe line. Who would've thought the middle-aged crooner's designs would sell out of stores? Similarly, former MTV VJ Daisy Fuentes is one of the top earners at a retail level and single-handedly turned mass-retailer Kohls into a fashionable fixation.

And then there are the Hilton chicks -- why wouldn't they get into the branding biz? After all, it's another way to get attention and it's more profitable and respectable than going to jail. Paris Hilton just launched her new T-shirt and jean line at Kitson and her sister, Nikki, is gearing up for New York's Fashion Week in September.

Maybe all these celebs-cum-designers are thinking that if the people will see their movies, buy their albums or drool over their photos, of course they'll wear their clothes. But will they, really? Time and sales will tell who will drown in this deluge of designer disciples and who will rise to the top as tomorrow's style star.

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