As the Kardashians release their "Kollection" for Dorothy Perkins, LIZ JONES says enough is enough

The cynical greed of celebrity fashion lines: As the Kardashians become the latest stars to launch a style line, LIZ JONES tries on their outfits, then says enough is enough

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UPDATED:

09:59 GMT, 12 November 2012

Luckily it's not every day that I have to don buttock enhancers (courtesy: Spanx) and cleavage boosters (courtesy: M&S) when trying on a new collection for the first time.

The padded buttock enhancers are effectively a pair of pants with foam panels around the derriere.

They have the added bonus of a tummy panel that holds in my stress fat.

Liz Jones does her best Kim Kardashian impression

'I no longer feel like me - but that is entirely the point of the celebrity fashion ranges'

Liz Jones does her best Kim Kardashian impression, dressing up in some of the clothes the sisters have designed for Dorothy Perkins

The boob-boosting gel fillets are not such a success, and keep falling to the floor, as I'm only wearing my habitual liberty bodice instead of a bra.

Oh dear! In fact, I'm struggling with not only my new shape, but also my new persona as I pull on a splashy blue-printed bodycon dress that is perilously short.

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I no longer feel like me – but that is entirely the point of the celebrity fashion ranges that now inundate our High Streets. Fashion for the masses is about looking exactly like a star we idolise, and whose name is on the label.

For the uninitiated, I am attempting
to imitate Kim Kardashian, the highest-paid reality TV star in the world
and girlfriend of hip-hop star Kanye West, who has – together with two
of her sisters Khloe and Kourtney – just brought out a range of clothing
at Dorothy Perkins. Famously, Kim also has a rather curvy derriere, hence the buttock enhancers.

The Kardashian Kollection, as it's been called, has been released just in time for Kristmas – rather vomit inducingly.

I
feel like a cross-dresser, though, of course, the Kardashian Kollection
is not aimed at me – the older career woman whose desire in winter is
to be warm, covered up, classic and comfortable. It
is aimed at teenage and 20-something girls in Liverpool, Newcastle,
Manchester and Rainham in Essex, the sort of girls who never feel the
Kold, or the need for a Koat.

Arcadia boss Philip Green has pulled
off a brilliant coup by hiring the three Kardashian sisters (Kim, 32,
Khloe, 28, who has just been hired as the host of U.S. X Factor, and
Kourtney, 33, a mum of two) to come up with a range that is largely
bodycon bandage dresses for 50.

Until
now, a lace dress at Dorothy Perkins will have set you back 30 to 40.
In the Kardashian Kollection we're talking at least 10 more, with a
top price of 75 for a lace trench coat.

That is a huge price hike and illustrates the real point of these sartorial matches made in retail heaven: greed.

From left to right, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe model their Kardashian Kollection for Dorothy Perkins

From left to right, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe model their Kardashian Kollection for Dorothy Perkins

It's no wonder that at the Kardashian
Kollection launch party at London nightclub Aqua on Thursday night,
Philip Green looked like a cat who has got the cream. He walked
hand-in-hand with Kim and Kourtney, trailing in their wake an entourage
that numbered 23 at one point. Khloe was noticeably absent, due to her
X-Factor filming commitments.

SPARKLE

American actress/singer Jessica Simpson is the first celebrity to build a fashion empire worth more than $1 billion. Her range includes diamonds

The
tills will undoubtedly be ringing this Christmas at Dorothy Perkins.
Whenever I chat to young women at Essex Fashion Week, say, or outside a
nightclub in Wolverhampton, they all cite Kim Kardashian as the major
influence on their lives. No one else – not Alexa Chung, not Rihanna –
comes close.

When it comes to getting ready for a
night on the tiles, they all want to look like a 32-year-old woman whose
only talent is to inhabit a sort of Truman Show bubble, replete with a
white Range Rover and personal spray tan booth.

But it could be worse. What girls
love most about Kim is her shape, her unashamed, unadulterated curves
(her bottom was once X-rayed on camera to prove she has had nothing
added).

The range goes up to a
size 16 and I imagine the reason there's nothing bigger is there was
not enough cut-price leopard print in the world.

'I feel like a cross-dresser'

'Fashion for the masses is about looking exactly like a star we idolise, and whose name is on the label'

'I feel like a cross-dresser, though, of course, the Kardashian Kollection
is not aimed at me – the older career woman whose desire in winter is
to be warm, covered up, classic and comfortable'

Everything
is synthetic and made in China. It might all look quite daring and
outr to the middle-aged eye, but, in fact, the Kardashian doppelgangers
are curiously retro: they want to look the best they can be, then
settle down with a man and have children.

The
sisters promote confidence; there is nothing complicated or dark or
moody about their attitude to life. If you are feeling depressed, Khloe
told this month's Cosmo readers: 'Apply a bright lip.'

These
dresses – and the dream they embody – will distract working-class girls
from the often harsh realities of their lives. It's opportunism, plain
and simple.

Of course, there is nothing new about
famous faces putting their name to fashion collections. One of the
first to do so was Twiggy, who as a teenager had her own collection
of tights.

'Arcadia boss Philip Green has pulled off a brilliant coup by hiring the three Kardashian sisters (from left, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe) to come up with a range that is largely bodycon bandage dresses for 50'

'Arcadia boss Philip Green has pulled off a brilliant coup by hiring the three Kardashian sisters (from left, Kourtney, Kim and Khloe) to come up with a range that is largely bodycon bandage dresses for 50'

'We
did white, we did loads of colours, but I wanted to do shiny ones,' she
says. 'It was pre-Lycra and Spandex, so in the picture of me launching
them they're all baggy at the knee because my legs were so thin and
there was nothing to hold them in. I kept pulling them up!'

She
still has her own collection, at M&S, a wildly successful
collaboration, mainly because she knows her stuff and has lots of input.

But
the number of celebrity ranges has mushroomed alarmingly of late as
High Street stores clamour desperately to lure customers into parting
with their cash. This marriage of name and brand can be dangerous for
both parties.

Holly
Willoughby and Fearne Cotton made their name in children's TV, then
found themselves in bed with an online brand, Very, that offers credit
and charges young women among the highest interest rates in the land.

'Everything is synthetic and made in China'

'I can't visualise the sisters travelling around India this Christmas, trawling for inspiration to pin on their mood boards, like proper designers do'

'Everything is synthetic and made in China. It might all look quite daring and
outr to the middle-aged eye, but, in fact, the Kardashian doppelgangers
are curiously retro'

A brand can fail to deliver a star's vision, too: Madonna's collection for H&M was made up in super-flimsy fabrics, with sizes that came up far too small. Both sides can come away feeling used, debased.

Celebrities can fall from grace overnight. When I asked Philip Green – who hired Kate Moss to come up with a collection for Topshop – what on earth he would do if she were again to be caught red-handed taking drugs, he replied: 'Well, I'd have to drop her.' But if you have tens of thousands of garments waiting in warehouses to be shipped, dropping a star can prove expensive.

Aside from the integrity issues, though, my main gripe with a celebrity range – Laura Bailey's bags for Radley, Anna Dello Russo's over-the-top accessories for H&M, David Beckham's line of pants for H&M – is that I doubt whether a busy celebrity, with no design training, has any input whatsoever in a range, other than putting a cross in the box of their multi-million-pound contract.

While it might seem feasible that a model will know how to design a dress, having worn the darn things for years, I beg to differ. Coming up with a great fit, having an eye for cut and fabric, is an entirely different thing: to say otherwise is to say that just because you can read a novel, you can write.

Khloe, Kourtney and Kim embrace leopard print in their Kardashian Kollection for Dorothy Perkins

Khloe, Kourtney and Kim embrace leopard print in their Kardashian Kollection for Dorothy Perkins

Heck, even the legend that is Patricia Field, who created the costumes for Sex And The City and films including The Devil Wears Prada, faltered when coming up with designs for Marks & Spencer.

Kate Moss was hired by Green because she always knows how to leave the house looking wonderful, but stumbled because she had no idea – or interest in – how to dress a woman who is a size 18 and shopping on a budget.

When I asked model Daisy Lowe why she had been hired to come up with a range of swimwear for budget chain Peacocks, she replied: 'I thought it was ridiculous you couldn't buy high-waisted bikini bottoms, you know, that hold you in a bit.'

Liz Jones...

Liz Jones…

...channels her...

…channels her…

...inner Kardashian

…inner Kardashian

But does she know about corsetry,
about darts and interfacing and suchlike, or how about the technology of
fabric, how it washes and wears, I wonder

Young women will buy into the KK range with little thought to the credit card bill at the end of the month. Before
the launch party, the two Kardashian sisters did walk among the
assembled crowd, Tom Cruise style, having their photos taken.

But simply wearing Kim's over-priced dress won't help you gain her lifestyle or bank balance. You're just using your credit cards to fund hers.

Additionally, because so much of the money generated from these lines goes to paying the stars, little will have been left over to invest in fabric or technique, which means the garment won't last.

This lack of investment, training and expertise doesn't seem to bug the real fashion designers as much as I'd like to think.

David Beckham for H&M

David Beckham for H&M

Kate Moss for TopShop

Kate Moss for TopShop

Madonna for H&M

Madonna for H&M

When I asked Matthew Williamson whether he's bothered that celebrities pretend to know how to design clothes, he shrugged. 'There is room for all of us. But it's not real fashion. Being a designer requires your whole being, you never clock off. You simply cannot do another job.'

This brings into question the reality of the Kardashian sisters coming up with a 100-piece collection, then a spring/summer range (with added shoes) already at pre-planning stage.

I can't visualise the sisters travelling around India this Christmas, trawling for inspiration to pin on their mood boards, like proper designers do.

So what is the point of all these star-spangled exercises Certainly not design or value for money.

It's simply this: the rich get richer, while the fans, the ordinary girls in the street, the hundreds that lined the red carpet in London for Thursday's launch party, shiver in their spangles just a little more violently.

dorothyperkins.com/kardashiankollection
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