The obvious precedents suggest themselves. Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's The Row, which won a CFDA Award for Womenswear Designer of the Year. Victoria Beckham, who de-Spiced (apart from an Olympic appearance or two for queen and country) to found her namesake line. Celebrity designers and smart fashion are no longer—if they ever were—mutually exclusive. So why shouldn't Katie Holmes, together with her longtime stylist, Jeanne Yang, step up to try her hand?
The big-name editors who came to Holmes' presentation this morning seemed open to hearing her out. She, in turn, obliged them by making sure her show was anything but a media circus: the lack of any signage to alert the paps; the unglamorous 9:30 a.m. slot; the presentation format; no Suri in sight. Holmes' fame is a double-edged sword. There's no doubt it fired interest that a line without her would not have garnered, but the fashion establishment is suspicious of dilettantes. Celebrity leads the horses to water, but it can't make them drink.
The 15 looks on display didn't exactly add up to a complete collection, but they did include several pieces of agreeable chic. A black evening jumpsuit had an unexpected fringe of jet beads; that it seemed a world away from the suede capelet paired with short shorts didn't detract from either's charm. There were boyish-girlish versions of the motorcycle jacket and the bomber displayed just a few feet from girly, fifties-style tea dresses.
Maybe it's to be expected that the line would offer individual items rather than a collective vision. A label release claimed it grew out of "personal necessity," but Holmes saw it a bit differently. "They're luxury items, so they're kind of what we want and what we wish for—it's not total necessities," she said. "But for a certain woman, it is a necessity. We're trying to create looks that fit into a woman's closet."
If that's the case, mission accomplished. And while there's plenty of room for Holmes & Yang to develop its offering and grow into a cohesive collection, the examples of the Olsens et al. suggest that this takes single-minded dedication. Holmes, for what it's worth, is working on a play and will start shooting a movie early next year.