The celebrity homeware range is a phenomenon that’s on the rise. But it’s rarely all it’s cracked up to be, says Amy Bradford
2016 was a funny old year. We had political calamities aplenty,
improbable numbers of pop star deaths and Kanye West begging Swedish furniture store Ikea – via Twitter, natch – to let him design a bedroom collection. Once you’d recovered from the weird vision of multi-millionaire Yeezus taking a trip round Ikea in search of interiors inspiration, the idea that this collaboration might actually happen became frighteningly real. Thankfully, Ikea responded with a pitch-perfect joky tweet that seemed to deflect the threat – a spoof ‘ Yeezy’ extendable bedframe referencing West’s video for his track Famous (which, in case you’ve been asleep for the past 12 months, depicted a parade of celebs lying in an enormously wide bed).
We can’t be sure we’re safe, though. Celebrity homeware ranges are everywhere and, judging by the speed with which they proliferate, they’re selling. You can buy bedlinen encrusted all over with silver sequins by Kylie Minogue at House of Fraser (imagine the pillowface; all the same, it’s one of the store’s highest-selling bedding brands). Very.co.uk offers up decidedly twee faux-louis picture frames and ersatz crystal chandeliers as part of TV presenter Fearne Cotton’s home range. Super-blogger Zoella has been more trend- savvy with her copper and pale-pink lifestyle collection, but we must draw a veil over Justin Timberlake’s ill-fated ‘Home Mint’ line, which sold ‘French chic’ crochet cushion covers and dispensed daily design tips on ‘melon-coloured accents’ and why you should saw old suitcases in half and turn them into shelves. (The range was unveiled in 2012, but beat a quiet retreat shortly afterwards.)
Other home collections by Myleene Klass, Anthea Turner, Cindy Crawford, Lionel Richie ( yes, really – turns out he loves a bit of fine bone china and crystal glassware) and Ellen Degeneres continue to sell. Truth be told, the Americans do this sort of thing much more slickly than us Brits: Degeneres’ line, ‘ED By Ellen’, is a proper lifestyle range, coastal-preppy in feel, well shot and stylishly presented. Interviews with Degeneres, and the publication of her book Home in 2015, reveal that she has a genuine appreciation of design and can fairly be acquitted on the charge of just ‘slapping her name on things’ (the slur that Zoella has angrily refuted). But of how many stars can we say the same? When Kate Moss designs clothes for Topshop, we applaud her style and business sense; but when she creates the interior of a luxury rental home for design company Yoo, we can’t help but wonder what her credentials are.
It’s also hard to shake the impression that very few celebrities have any real design input in these collections. If they’re simply picking bought-in items from a list and sticking their ‘ brand’ on them, why should we be interested? To do anything properly, you have to do it with integrity. And really, we all know Kanye’s not sleeping on an Ikea bed, don’t we?
You can buy bedlinen encrusted all over with silver sequins by Kylie Minogue at House of Fraser (imagine the pillow-face)