July 29, 2004

viral armani

Speaking of cost per influence, there’s an interesting piece in this month’s W (the one with Scarlett Johansson on the cover) about the efforts of Giorgio Armani to dress the non-Hollywood A-listers in an attempt to influence the purchase behavior of their social circles.

The designer, one of the first to get his suits on the silver screen and to set up an L.A. office for celebrity dressing, has come up with a way to reach women who don’t flip through fashion magazines every month and who don’t idolize Nicole Kidman or Beyonce. The strategy? H dresses a network of smart, stylish, well-bred women who are well known in their own countries and lets them get on with their lives. …

The ladies receive a new capsule wardrobe each season, in addition to travel expenses and, in some cases, a retainer – depending on the individual. The big payoff for the house, of course, comes when their photos appear in Hello!, Point de Vue, El Pais or Vanity Fair. But often there are more subtle returns: a photograph in a small local paper, or extra attention at a social event. “You can’t imagine how many people walk up to me at parties and ask who designed my tuxedo jacket,” says [Celine] Charloux, a French polo player and one of Armani’s newest diplomats.

Nice work if you can get it.