Celebrity influencers in fashion: a handy A–Z

When it comes to fashion, there’s no denying the influence of celebrities. But who wields the power this year? Nina Tsang and Sarah Mawson of talent engagement resource Celebrity Intelligence identify the faces to watch on the front rows and beyond for 2015

Amal Clooney

Lauded for her style and intelligence, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has yet to lend her name officially to a fashion brand or cause. But since hiring stylist Alexis Roche to dress her for the red carpet, she has become ever more accessible to the luxury fashion brands including Galliano, Valli and Maison Margiela.

The Balmain Army

Leveraging his army of celebrity friends has proved effective for Balmain creative director Olivier Rousteing. Regular front-rowers include the Kardashians, Rihanna, Beyonce, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Jared Leto. Expect celebrities to be pictured in his H&M collaboration HMxBALMAIN a month before it hits stores in November.

Going back to classic

The over-exposure of millennial favourites Taylor Swift, Gigi Hadid and Cara Delevingne has left brands opting to go back to classic Hollywood glitterati. Julia Roberts scored her first major fashion campaign with Givenchy, while Jennifer Connelly landed a Louis Vuitton contract. Following his Academy Award nomination, Ethan Hawke was tapped by Prada and Winona Ryder appeared in Marc Jacobs’ FW15 adverts.

Donatella for Givenchy

Riccardo Tisci managed to surprise the entire fashion industry when he recruited fellow designer Donatella Versace for his Autumn ad campaign.Celebrities have followed suit in enlisting showbiz friends to their projects. Taylor Swift tapped Lena Dunham, Jessica Alba, Karlie Kloss, Selena Gomez and more for cameos in her video, while Madonna featured Katy Perry, Beyonce and Kanye West in her Bitch I’m Madonna promo.


The so-called ‘fourth-wave’ of feminism hit its stride this year with celebrities speaking out in support of ending the wage gap and promoting female empowerment. The Amy Poehler-led #AskHerMore movement swept the red carpet during award season as female stars implored journalists to ask them about more than just the dress/designer they were wearing.

Twiggy FINAL_1

Going Green

Brands are leveraging powerful celebrity partnerships for the greater good. Livia Firth spoke out against disposable and fast fashion, Marion Cotillard collaborated with Chopard to create ethical jewellery range, the Green Carpet Collection and Olivia Wilde teamed with H&M to launch the Conscious pop-up to showcase sustainable and ethical fashion brands.


Model Winnie Harlow is changing the face of fashion. The former America’s Next Top Model contestant has the skin pigment condition vitiligo but this hasn’t stopped her become a celebrity in her own right this year, having ‘walked’ for Ashish at London Fashion Week and secured lucrative deals with Diesel and Desigual.


The social platform reached its tipping point this year for influencer and celebrity marketing. Lucky magazine broke the mould by putting three bloggers – with a combined Instagram reach of 6 million – on the cover. Instagirls Cara Delevingne, Karlie Kloss and Joan Smalls regularly promote their projects on the platform and even David Beckham recently switched to Instagram as his preferred social network.

Jenner family

Kylie and Kendall have had a momentous year securing lucrative fashion and beauty deals with Estee Lauder, Marc Jacobs, Topshop, Karl Lagerfeld, Calvin Klein, Fendi and Nip & Fab between them. But all eyes are on the Zac Posen-clad stylish Caitlyn Jenner whose gender transformation was met with such positive support; her Twitter account garnered over 1m followers in four hours. Rumours of beauty brands courting her have yet to be confirmed.

Keeping it real

Authenticity has been a major trend throughout 2015, with brands boasting of unretouched photos and the refusal to use Photoshop. Lingerie brand Aerie launched the #AerieREAL movement with the world’s largest unretouched selfie with help from Mae Whitman & Hannah Bronfman. Additionally Hudson Jeans announced it would be abandoning the use of Photoshop and models in favour of ‘real’ people with real stories.


Live stream video

The launch of Twitter’s live streaming service, Periscope has opened up a whole new platform for brands and celebrities, who can share even more content with their fans. Alcohol brand St-Germain recently enlisted New Girl star Hannah Simone for a Periscope streamed ‘peep show’, directed by Floria Sigismondi.

The Muse

The concept of the celebrity creative director has evolved in 2015 with the rise of the celebrity muse. Too iconic to become just a campaign face, today’s celebrity muse lives under intense media glare and likes to share intimate private moments on Instagram. Kendall Jenner became the face of Estee Lauder’s Modern Muse collection, Redken named Suki Waterhouse as their first Global Brand Muse and Stylist dedicated a cover and essay on Kim Kardashian as today’s iconic muse.

Native advertising

Taylor Swift, Megan Fox, Iggy Azalea, Kendall Jenner and Jennifer Lawrence are the most clickable celebrities on native ads so far this year. Native advertising marketplace MGID reported that Will Smith and family topped the list as they produced the most ‘headline-worthy’ moments inciting clicks and viral engagement.

Own lines

Celebrities are finding more direct ways to monetise their influence. Reese Witherspoon and Ellen DeGeneres joined the likes of Blake Lively and Gwyneth Paltrow by launching their own lifestyle brands. Witherspoon’s Draper James (named after her grandparents) celebrates southern style, while DeGeneres’ ED has already collaborated with Gap Kids on an empowering collection for young girls. Jessica Alba’s highly successful Honest brand was estimated to be valued at $1billion.

Queen of Reinvention

Cape-gate kicked off Madonna’s 2015 and ever since, the Queen of Reinvention has enjoyed new-found popularity among digital natives; signing up as a founder of Tidal, utilising Meerkat’s live stream app to debut her music video and wrangling A-list celebrity appearances for her Bitch I’m Madonna video. Most recently she’s celebrated the five year anniversary of the Material Girl fashion line by signing Nicole Richie’s little sister Sofia to star in the latest campaign.

Madonna FINAL_1


Not content with sitting on ‘FROW’ (Front Row), celebrities are now on the runway. Life imitated art in March when Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson appeared as Zoolander and Hansel on the Valentino catwalk. Rashida Jones walked for Opening Ceremony, Game of Thrones star Gwendoline Christie appeared on-stage at Vivienne Westwood while Chanel trumped them all by having Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Vanessa Paradis and Lily Collins act a scene in a casino in the middle of the catwalk.

Silver Economy

Older celebrities have become the new darlings of the fashion world with brands tapping them up to front campaigns: Joan Didion for Céline, Iris Apfel and Lauren Hutton for Alexis Bittar, Twiggy for L’Oreal, Cher and Jessica Lange for Marc Jacobs and Catherine Deneuve for Louis Vuitton.


George Clooney, the Olsen twins, Jennifer Lawrence and Johnny Depp may have attracted some top brands and causes this year, but not for their social influence. Each admit to shying away from social media and technology.

Under Armour

The athletic brand continues to go from strength to strength by adding more inspiring athletes and models to its roster. The brand followed its viral ad with ballerina Misty Copeland with its biggest ever global campaign, helmed by Jamie Foxx. The Academy Award-winner directed a series of short films starring NBA MVP Stephen Curry and track and field stars Manteo Mitchell and Natasha Hastings. The brand continues to draw stars away from adidas (it lured Andy Murray away in 2014), sealing a multi-year partnership with footballer Memphis Depay. Its most recent campaign looks to help cement the brand as a forerunner in women’s activewear; the I Will What I Want sports bra campaign features Gisele Bundchen, Lindsey Vonn, Brianna Cope and Kelley O’Hara.


Following Protein World’s controversial banned beach body advert, this summer saw the first ever plus-size social media campaign to recruit curvy models in a bid to challenge the ‘fashion industry’s obsession with super-skinny women’. Brands continue to invest in voluptuous, curvy celebrity role models: this year Christina Hendricks and Meghan Trainor both signed deals with beauty brands Clairol and Clinique, Sofia Vergara appeared in a Skinny Cow campaign and Salma Hayek became an international face for Pomellato.

We are Family

Following in their parents’ footsteps, these celebrity children scored big brand endorsements in 2015. Brooklyn Beckham fronted Reserved’s Volcano Explosion campaign. Meryl Streep’s daughters, Louise, Mamie and Grace Gummer were tapped by & Other Stories. Kim Gordon, Steve Mackey and Anthony Kiedis all starred alongside their children in Marc Jacobs’ fall campaign and Johnny Depp and Vanessa Paradis’ daughter, Lily-Rose, follows in her mother’s footsteps as an ambassador for Chanel. Meanwhile Cindy Crawford’s 13-year-old daughter, Kaia Gerber, is moments away from a major fashion campaign after signing to IMG Models and landing her first Vogue Italia shoot.


The #freethenipple campaign came to a head this year when Instagram finally updated its nudity policy – which will allow for breastfeeding images. Celebrities supporting the campaign include Chrissy Teigen, Rita Ora, Miley Cyrus, Cara Delevingne, Lena Dunham and Scout Willis. The social media platform continues to attract celebrities who flout the rules: Emily Ratajkowski, Justin Bieber, Madonna and Rihanna have all had their controversial moments.

Suki FINAL_1

YouTube’s Maker Studios

With over 11 billion monthly views and over 55,000 content creators signed to YouTube’s short-form video content distributor, Maker Studios will change the face of celebrity endorsements. This year, CCO Erin McPherson promised, “Over the next five years marketing campaigns will no longer hinge on endorsements and traditional A-listers, rather they will be powered by hundreds or thousands of grass roots brand evangelists.” Celebrities have been quick to join the club – designer-stylist Rachel Zoe announced a partnership with Maker Studios this year.

Generation Z

Does the screen addicts generation aspire to traditional Hollywood talent? Unlikely. A Variety study found that American teenagers are more enthralled with YouTube stars such as beauty vloggers Tanya Burr and Zoella – between them securing endrosements with Boohoo.com, Mulberry and Simple.

Images: Caroline Tomlinson

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