Madonna is said to be talking to Macy's about doing an exclusive line. According to a report from Women's Wear Daily, the contemporary women's collection includes apparel, accessories, intimates and footwear. Labels being considered include Material Girl apparel and Truth or Dare for lingerie and underwear.
Iconix Brand Group is said to be involved in the negotiations and Madonna has made visits to the company's New York offices, according to the report. Iconix owns and licenses several brands and has arranged exclusive deals for Candie's and Mudd at Kohl's, Ocean Pacific and Starter at Wal-Mart, and Mossimo at Target. Its biggest celebrity connection comes with its Candie's brands, where it recently signed singer Britney Spears to represent the brand.
The WWD article pointed to a string of new celebrity deals in the fashion world. These include Sarah Jessica Parker investing and being named Halston's chief creative officer and president; Lindsay Lohan becoming an artistic adviser at Ungaro; and Victoria Beckham, Beyoncé Knowles, Jay-Z, Gwen Stefani and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen all touting prominent fashion collections.
Speaking to American Public Media, Marshall Cohen, NPD's senior analyst, estimated that the misses in celebrity lines outnumber hits by a two-to-one margin. Jessica Simpson had a successful footwear collection but has struggled with sportswear. Jennifer Lopez pulled the plug on her Sweetface last year amid the recession. Other fashion failures included efforts from Eve, Paris and Nicky Hilton and Whitney Port.
However, some say Madonna is bigger than all these names with perhaps a link to fashion akin to Martha Stewart and home furnishings. She has appeared in ads for Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton, Versace and Gap, walked topless down the runway for Jean-Paul Gaultier in 1992, and attends fashion shows. In Spring 2007, a co-branded women's collection with H&M under the M by Madonna label drew heaps of press.
"Madonna has an impressive feel for fashion and trends. She was extraordinarily style conscious, passionate and was involved in even the smallest details of every design," said Margareta van den Bosch, head of H&M design at that time.
Mr. Cohen said celebrities also risk ruining their reputation if a collection fails. Sarah Jessica Parker and Venus Williams' name were enmeshed in Steve & Barry's collapse.
But he also said the push is on for exclusive labels.
"One of the big issues that retailers have been wrestling with is how do they separate themselves from one another. And by getting in partnership with a celebrity or a designer and having exclusive product, it's one of the best ways to differentiate yourself," said Mr. Cohen.
Discussion Questions: What do you see as a successful formula for making celebrity licenses work? What do you think about the potential for a Madonna fashion line?
What do you think of the potential for an exclusive line from Madonna sold through Macy's?