The Return of the Celebrity Fashion Muse: Brand Endorsement, Creative Inspiration and Celebrity-Influenced Design Communication

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review




Original languageEnglish
JournalFashion Theory - Journal of Dress Body and Culture
Early online date11 Sep 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 11 Sep 2019
Publication type

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines the current prevalence of fashion designers working in association with celebrity ‘muses’, famous figures drawn from acting and popular music, who serve to front brand campaigns, but also embody the identity of fashion houses and inspire designers. The article discusses the ancient origin of the Muse figure and explores the ways in which the muse principle was incorporated into fashion via the model, but subsequently included celebrities. In this regard, the article discusses the iconic celebrity muse precedents represented by the creative relationships between Audrey Hepburn and Hubert de Givenchy and Jackie Kennedy and Oleg Cassini, arguing that while this dynamic has seen a significant revival in the twenty-first, it is of a differing kind in that the muse dimension has (drawing upon the concepts of media spectacle and implosion) fused with the contemporary endorser/brand ambassador role. The article considers the key principles of celebrity brand endorsement and explores how the position of brand ambassador has evolved into that of the fashion muse, a term used by designers such as Karl Lagerfeld, Nicolas Ghesquière, and Olivier Rousteing in their work with celebrities such as Kristen Stewart, Alicia Vikander, Léa Seydoux, and Kim Kardashian. Therefore, the article argues that the contemporary fashion muse represents the