Today, there’s only a faint dividing line between advertising and programming. It’s a dangerous setup, since it will make it increasingly difficult to know who has an impartial opinion and who is on payroll. Regis Philbin’s monochromatic-suit-and-tie look from Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? earned him his own clothing line with Van Heusen in 2000. Anytime a man wore the Regis look, he acted as a walking billboard for the show; anytime the show aired, it acted as an ad for the clothes.
It’s sometimes hard to tell whether a TV personality is being genuine or promoting a product. On a September 2001 episode of Live with Regis and Kellyafter his signature look died down and he reverted to wearing other designerslabelsRegis conspicuously fished for compliments on his suit. Beau Brummel, he pointed out, at which his cohost Kelly Ripa gushed, It’s very nice. Whether it was an intentional pitch or not, it was a veiled endorsement seen by over four million people. FILM Days after seeing the trailer for Cameron Crowe’s 1992 grunge-era flick Singles, I went out and bought a pair of black combat boots like the ones Bridget Fonda wore in the movie.
I hadn’t even seen the film yet. It was the shortest period of time I had ever waited to buy something after seeing it on-screen. After watching Flashdance in the eighties, I positioned a cut-up sweatshirt ever-so-nonchalantly off my shoulder. I bought thigh-high stockings after seeing Liv Tyler wear them in Empire Records. And in my adolescent Madonna phase, I bought a black mesh top after watching Desperately Seeking Susan. But I know I wasn’t the only one. Throughout filmmaking history, costumes have influenced Tiffany’s to Jennifer Grey’s pedal pushers and canvas sneakers in Dirty Dancing. Saturday Night Fever did more to bring the leisure suit to the masses than Studio 54 ever could have. And Michael Douglas’s highpowered look in Wall Street made a huge mark on corporate fashion of the time. Designers and clothing companies, fully aware of the influence that the big screen can have on consumers (can’t you still picture that red dress Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman?), are now trying to take full advantage of the medium. When you go to the theater, you could be watching a two-hour commercial.Tiffany in Kimchiland: Fashion 70s Ltf
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