Her mint green Oscar-night muumuu notwithstanding, there’s no doubt that Jennifer Lopez has plenty of fashion sense. And like any good hyphenate, she’s parlayed her flashbulb-worthy style into a clothing line, J.Lo by Jennifer Lopez. But in this age of vanity labels and Wal-Mart ubiquity (hello, Olsen twins!), exactly how involved is Jenny in her garment-district block? ”She’s involved in all aspects of design — she starts at the concept level, we review all the colors, fabrics, and sketches, and she sees all the actual garments,” says Denise Seegal, CEO of Sweetface Fashion Co., which produces J. Lo’s duds. In other words, while the tanner half of Bennifer isn’t exactly sweating at the sewing machine (c’mon, she’s real, but not THAT real), she does have final say on the clothing that bears her name. Clothing that, we might add, is expected to rack up $200 million in sales this year.
And the star isn’t alone in wanting a piece of the fashion action. Eve, Gwen Stefani, and Beyoncé Knowles — perhaps inspired by the success of lines like Russell Simmons’ Phat Farm, Jay-Z’s Rocawear, and P. Diddy’s Sean John — are the latest songbirds to enter the fashion fray. Eve just launched a sexed-up urban collection called Fetish, Stefani’s L.A.M.B. line drops in 2004, and the don’t-call-her-bootylicious Beyoncé recently announced she will team with stylist mom Tina for an ”affordable but sophisticated” collection of her own.
”It’s all about money and brand extension,” says longtime fashion journalist Constance White. ”Celebrities have undeniably replaced models as style role models.” Some do it better than others: Eve, who has final say in all things Fetish, wields a fashion instinct as sharp as her paw-print tattoos. ”It’s more sophisticated than some of the celebrity collections out there, as she is,” says White. Also getting buzz is the brand-new Beverly Hills Pimps and Ho’s, courtesy of Zack Bautzer, Rick Solomon, and Seth Binzer — a.k.a. Crazy Town’s Shifty Shellshock. ”It’s in between rock and rap,” says Bautzer of the tight-fitting tanks, velour ”honey suits,” and trucker hats. Ashton Kutcher can’t be far behind.