Lingerie and the Cult of Celebrity

Stars sell us their favorite brand of skivvies

Here’s the sad truth: I don’t look like Janet Jackson, Elle McPherson or Dita Von Teese. I will never, even in my wildest dreams, have the sculpted abs of Scary Spice, or the petite perfection of Posh Spice – both of whom are now underwear models.

Even if I wear a celebrity lingerie line, complete with bra and matching panty (or other accessories) I’m never going to look like one of these women. So why are bra and underwear manufacturers streaming to celebrities like lemmings to a cliff?

It’s all about sales. It’s all about notoriety.

We love celebrities, don’t we? We are endlessly curious about them: their spouses, their children, their outings. We also want to know who makes the clothes they wear. As red carpet season approaches, we’ll all be following the designers that made the gowns that are worn by the stars.

Now, we can even follow the brands of lingerie that these celebrities endorse or design.

Let’s take Janet Jackson as an example. In August 2008, Jackson announced a new line of lingerie called “Pleasure Principle”. It’s a perfect play on words, making use of Jackson’s hit music and status as a cultural icon to promote a line of bras and panties. While I admire that the line didn’t appear to shy away from color and understood that women come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, the real selling point here was Jackson herself.

Jackson’s lingerie was supposed to hit stores in the US in November 2008. There wasn’t much hoopla when the time came – perhaps she was overshadowed by US economic woes. However, she appears to have disappeared into the sea of lingerie without even a splash. I certainly know that I haven’t seen her stuff in stores and I can’t find anyone on the web selling it.

Still, celebrities are the models of choice for many designers of intimate apparel. Witness the big deal that Victoria Beckham – Posh Spice – got for showing off her skivvies for Armani. She joins her handsome husband David Beckham in the family business of appearing semi-clad.

Maybe I’m just jealous. The only person that will ever ask me to model my undies is my beloved.