The business of award show fashion is just that, a business. With media seemingly paying more attention to what actresses, pop stars and A-list celebrities don on the red carpet than what awards they’re nominated for or even win, it’s no wonder most designers are drooling for a piece of the red carpet revelry.
To get a sense of how cutthroat this business has become, just read “Slaves of the Red Carpet” in the March issue of Vanity Fair. It’s an eye-opening account of how Hollywood’s top fashion stylists have actually helped turn much of the media into “a scrapbook for images.”
If you, too, are part of that fashion bubble, rubbing elbows in the public relations department of an haute couture house like Dior, Chanel or Armani, then lucky you! Fashion magazines will eagerly fill their with your client’s designs. But for the rest of us, it takes some creative thinking to land your client’s dress designs and accessories in the blitzkrieg of post-award show fashion coverage. However, if you know how, when and where to properly package and present what you’re pitching, you could just end up with the biggest win of the evening.
Pitch the Look for Less
Do you represent evening-wear, jewelry and/or a handbag client? Then the most ubiquitous red carpet fashion angle to pitch is the “Look For Less,” which goes something like this:
Hey! Jennifer Lawrence's stunning sequin gown may have cost a year’s worth of mortgage payments, but we have an almost exact version for the price of dinner for two at Red Lobster.
Create side-by-side collages of the evening’s top female nominees along with your product images that strike an uncanny resemblance and are more in line with what a regular human being could afford.
Putting this together is similar to a game of Memory; clicking back and forth between the endless stream of photographs on sites like InStyle.com, EOnline.com and various Instagram feeds with your client’s collections till you land a match. Mind you, do this in real time during theevent. A glass or two of wine helps move things along.
Pitch Red Carpet-Inspired Looks
An easier approach, especially if you don’t have $150 Gaultier doppelgängers on hand, is to create a “Red Carpet Inspired Fashion” pitch. Pinpoint fashion trends that were evident throughout the evening and promote your goods that way. Perhaps Sandra, Lupita and Cate all wore black and gold gowns. Design a Polyvore-style collage with black and gold items from your clients and explain how you can easily take inspiration from the red carpet and bring it into the real world.
Prepare Your Pitches During the Award Show
If you rep a client that fits the mold for red carpet fashion PR, make sure to be by your email and phone bright and early the morning after the event to start pitching immediately. With events like the Oscars, the Golden Globes and the American Music Awards, media outlets across the board will automatically sound like they’re in a loop with who wore what, who had a wardrobe malfunction and who needs a new stylist. Take note of all these pitching cues as you watch each award show and identify opportunities to bring your clients into the mix. After all, the inevitable award show quirks are all anyone will be talking about. Audiences love post-show recaps and the media knows it. Once the actual award show is over, the media needs to keep that post-award show buzz going. A red carpet-related pitch may just be what they’re looking for.
Pitch a Mix of Celebrity, Fashion & News Media
To find out who to pitch, think of where you typically see and read about these stories. Weekly publications like People and Us Weekly almost always run “Look for Less” spreads right after a big award ceremony. The same with the online versions of many fashion monthlies like InStyle.com and celeb-fashion sites like Celebuzz.com. Morning news programs are rife with these types of segments with many news producers work days and even weeks before a big award show like the Oscars putting together a fashion segment with the help of stylists and magazine editors, like this:
Even if you aren't quite ready to pitch this seasons' award shows, use this as a time to research the media frenzy and take notes on story ideas for next time!
Jumping on the red carpet, award approach to landing press for your clients can be tedious, but when it hits, it can also be extremely rewarding. Now if only they had award ceremonies for well-deserving fashion publicists...
Photo Credit: minglemediatv