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Mutually beneficial relationships don’t come stronger than the one between Hollywood and the fashion industry. Stars lean heavily on their favorite designers to create (or simply loan) stunning pieces for them to wear during red carpet events and media junkets; the press drummed up by a single celebrity placement, in return, can sell a whole lot of clothes.
But it goes deeper than that; some designers even draw creative inspiration from their favorite A-list muses, channeling their personal style into sketches for upcoming seasons. And when the fashion industry embraces a new Tinseltown ingenue, it can land them magazine covers, a broader fan base, or even new work.
Nowhere is the unshakeable alliance between the entertainment and fashion worlds more apparent than during Fashion Week, when brands compete — and, often, spend big — to pack their presentations with as many A-listers as possible. But while the practice of seating stars front and center at the shows has been around since the 1960s and still remains today, the role of celebrities at Fashion Week has evolved enormously over the past several decades.
In the ‘80s and ‘90s, for instance, many designers began recruiting their famous muses as runway models, bestowing on them the honor of opening or closing their shows. Later, following the mid-aughts rise of the celebrity clothing line, stars like Victoria Beckham and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen traded their plum front-row perches for backstage passes, designing some of the week’s buzziest collections themselves. Some, like Gigi Hadid and Rihanna, even took on the dual tasks of making and modeling their clothes.
Below, see the entire evolution of the celebrity’s role at Fashion Week, from the front row to the final bow.