Why Celebrities Should NOT be Allowed on the Runway
By Brady Pitcher
“Just being able to point an iPhone and take a selfie doesn’t make you a supermodel.
Sorry not sorry” -Shalom Harlow
It was not long ago that we watched the now blacklisted brand Balenciaga’s autumn/winter ‘22/’23 haute couture collection roll down the runway. While many of the looks were signature Balenciaga and unique in their own, our attention was drawn to the models wearing the clothes. As the presentation of looks strode by celebrities among the likes of Kim Kardashian, Dua Lipa, and Nicole Kidman were all seen walking down the runway giving it their best shot. Their walks and faces seemed out of place at an event as prestigious as an haute couture runway. Alongside the graces of supermodel sensations Naomi Campbell and Bella Hadid this odd pairing of celebrities appeared misplaced and dropped in only for their status. This show is not the only time in recent history that celebrities have been seen on the runway. Stars like Paris Hilton, Jennifer Lopez, Cher, Lady Gaga, Miley Cyrus and many more have walked the runway in recent years for brands like Versace, Thierry Mugler, and Marc Jacobs. It looks like fashion brands have turned to using celebrities more in their runway shows despite the vast number of models hunting for jobs. This confusing decision of taking the celebrities from the front row seats to the runway seems peculiar and begs the question, “Has fashion turned more into the celebrities wearing them rather than the clothes themselves?”
Ever since the beginning of luxury fashion itself, Hollywood has held close ties with the fashion industry. 1950s actress and fashion icon Audrey Hepburn was one of the first notable figures in Hollywood who worked with designers in and out of her movies. Her work with designers Givenchy and Balenciaga in her iconic movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s connecting the celebrity and fashion world is something we see quite often. Although this makes sense, given that celebrities are often the ones purchasing clothing from luxury designers, there needs to be a distinction between models and celebrities.
So why use celebrities on the runway? Well, the answer is simple: Publicity. Celebrities have huge control of what is popular and what is not. Using celebrities also lets you connect with their fanbase of millions giving you and higher reach. Another reason celebrities are a desirable choice is that they are more relatable. The public connects more with these celebrities whose faces and work they see all the time rather than the cold and mysterious supermodel who they only seen strutting on the runway. Celebrities are a familiar face to us. When we see them, we feel as though the brand they are promoting can be trusted. With all these reasons it seems like a perfect solution to use a celebrity.
Despite their good intentions, there are some issues with using celebrities instead of models. The biggest reason celebrities should not be allowed on the runway is that they are not supermodels. Back in the late ‘80s and ‘90s, the term supermodel was coined. Supermodel referred to the model that could do it all. Famous for their appearances not only on the runway but on the cover of magazines. Back then, you became a celebrity because you were a model, not the other way around. Models of the time like Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, and Christy Turlington will always be known for their work on the runway and on their famous covers of magazines from all around the world. This type of fame from modeling is something we rarely see these days. Instead, we see people from famous families rising to fame for their connections rather than their talent. Supermodels are known for their fantastic walks and fierce faces on the runway, something most celebrities and even famous models today cannot pull off. Take Kendall Jenner as an example. Her new campaign with Miu Miu, is a fitting example of slapping a celebrity face on a brand to make it sell. The highest-paid model in the world who is used in multiple shows and campaigns year-round, walks the runway with an expressionless ‘strut’ and deadpan face that does not bring anywhere near the level of ferocity and skills infamous supermodels do.
To put it frankly, celebrities are simply not made for the runway in the way professional models who have worked in the industry for years are. Not only are they not as good as your typical runway model, they also are taking away jobs from these models.
There are plenty of highly dedicated models in the industry who are waiting for their chance to walk the runway. With their dedication and expertise in their field, it makes them more qualified to be on the runway rather than Kim Kardashian promenading down the catwalk like a robot. This is not to say that celebrities do not care about fashion or the modeling they participate in, but it seems foolish to give these jobs to a mediocre celebrity rather than a professionally trained model.
Another consideration the industry professionals should take is using celebrities who are of importance in the fashion industry. Using celebrities or influencers who have knowledge and credibility is the obvious choice for these shows. A celebrity like Lady Gaga who is credited for her iconic looks through the years and involvement in the industry would be a smart choice as a model or brand ambassador compared to someone like Dua Lipa who is not as known for her unique choice. Thinking of trivial things like these helps a brand make better choices when deciding who to place in their shows. This can help build credibility with fashion connoisseurs who would not mind seeing someone they respect on a runway rather than a random celebrity.
Overall, the fashion industry should stick to using the typical fashion models we are used to as they sell the aura and feeling of the brand. Being a model in the fashion industry requires demanding work and dedication to fashion itself and you must love what you are doing. I do not want to say never use celebrities as their presence in fashion is relevant, but it is essential to choose the right celebrities. Whether you agree or not. A-list celebrities are making their way to the runways, and they are here to stay. Get ready for more dead pan expressionless celebrities serving nothing on the catwalk.