LX11 Coverage: Janet Jackson Delves Into Apparel

Does the world need yet another celebrity-fueled clothing line? According to L.A.-based business management company Sterling Winters, the answer is an undoubted yes.

And we agree, especially if it’s the iconic Janet Jackson. 

The firm manages Janet Jackson. And they’re looking to bring the superstar into the style stratosphere with Jackson-branded fashion apparel, a goal of this year’s Licensing Expo International.

Jackson already has her toe dipped into the apparel world’s waters with concert merchandise and by acting as a spokesman for Blackglama fur, which caused a PETA uprising last summer. But Sterling Winters, who also represents Kathy Ireland Worldwide, is looking to expand the singer’s reach to less offensive fashion territory.

“We’re definitely exploring apparel, yes,” said Sterling Winters Vice President of Brand Management Rocco Ingemi.

The company’s Licensing International Expo booth features two of Jackson’s past stage outfits — a beige, tattered dress and an androgynous 1940s-style pant suit and fedora that has been a staple of Jackson’s style throughout her career. The signature look could be a preview of what consumers may expect if Janet Jackson apparel ever comes to fruition.

As of now, no word on whether or not the intended line will include the starburst shaped body jewelry, uh, seen at the 2004 Super Bowl. 

Post By Erin Weinger

Licensing International Expo: follow live coverage on twitter via @eWeinger or hastag #LX11

CAA Hits Hard In The Licensing Arena

Guest Post by Erin Weinger

Any mention of CAA, the L.A.-based talent agency behemoth known for repping major movie stars including Brad Pitt, Natalie Portman and Bradley Cooper, conjures images of the silver screen (and the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, to which we would love an invite). But the agency has expanded their core business by creating a licensing division devoted to marrying clients with business opportunities that fit their personal brand. And to help get the job done, CAA exhibited at this year’s Licensing International Expo — the entertainment company’s first time officially exhibiting at the show.  

According to the company’s licensing booklet, which was on display at their celebrity photo-stamped booth during LX11, beauty and grooming are popular licensing wishes among their clientele, with Eva Mendes interested in fragrances, Dancing With The Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba looking to lend her name to false eyelashes and NBA star Carmello Anthony setting his sights on a men’s grooming line.  

Fashion is also in the mix, with Chelsea Handler, Mariah Carey and Olivia Munn wanting to create clothing lines, toddler apparel and lingerie, respectively.  

Surprisingly, it isn’t just household names who are in CAA’s stable of licensable lifestyle talent. Quirky, Los Angeles-based perfumer Douglas Little, whose D.L. & Company line of luxury candles are a popular purchase at specialty retailers including Barneys and sell for $100 a pop, is also handled by the agency, and available to lend his name to jewelry, liquor and even Halloween décor. Chip & Pepper denim, popular contemporary boutique Steven Alan and NY Indie label Ruffian are also handled by the CAA division. All three brands have appeared on the pages of glossy style magazines including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and InStyle as being favored by many of the CAA’s talent division clients.  

The diversification is an interesting and smart strategy for CAA, as in the case of Jessica Simpson’s $1 billion lifestyle brand has proven, the revenue from licensed products can — and usually do — far outweigh even the heftiest movie star salary.  

CAA is notorious for signing only the heaviest hitting talent when it comes to their entertainment roster (in addition to the aforementioned names, Gwen Stefani, Jennifer Aniston and Anne Hathaway are also clients), the agency’s Licensing Division eschews premium names in favor of premium business opportunities.

Case in point: Artist Thomas Kinkade, whose light-filled landscape paintings are a favorite at malls across Middle America and a bane to the existence of fine art collectors, is a CAA Licensing Division client. And for good reason, The Thomas Kinkade Company has seen $4 billion in revenue over the past 15 years, a substantial slice of business that CAA has handled since January, 2011. The company plans on expanding Kinkade’s presence internationally.   

And no, this doesn’t mean that you’re any more likely to get CAA super agent Kevin Huvane to watch your YouTube reel. Unless, perhaps, you are a multi-million dollar lifestyle brand in the making. Or you happen to bump into the right person at next year’s LX11. 

Finnish Textile Make Marimekko Steals The Show at Licensing Expo

A girl could swoon, Marimekko Textiles took our hearts at Licensing Expo #LX11

Marimekko, the Finnish textile maker whose floral Unikko print is instantly recognizable to design buffs worldwide, isn’t the only iconic floral fabric in town.

While perusing he Licensing International Expo floor, we came across the timeless, upbeat florals of French artist and designer Paule Morret, who began her textile line in 1920 and won the French Legion of Honor in 1952. 

Morret’s work is bright, feminine and anything but dainty. And the modern, cheerful work — which was largely influenced by writer Marcel Proust and artist Auguste Renoir — found fans in the likes of Paul Poiret, to whom she once sold a dress design, and Jacqueline Kennedy, who based a room in the White House on one of Marrot’s flowers.

In 1999, Paris-based Paule Marrot Editions SAS began licensing Marrot’s fabric designs, which have since appeared on Anthropologie housewares, limited-edition Nike dunks and decorative trays in the Liberty of London for Target collection. 

Paule Marrot Editions SAS president Sebastien Storck says that despite their even merchandise mix of home décor and fashion items, there’s no time like the present to continue expanding Marrot’s presence in the style world.

“We’re talking with many different US based companies, both designer and mainstream,” Storck said of the company’s future in apparel. Though Marrot died in 1987 and most of her work spans the 1920s to the 1970s, her designs fit into fashion’s current affinity for happy, sunny colors and bold, bright patterns. It also doesn’t hurt that Marrot’s innovative styles — including the bestselling Beatrice floral — haven’t yet been plastered on every T-shirt, tote bag and iPhone case around.

 “We really want to get into the [apparel] market,” Storck said from his booth on the Licensing International Expo floor. “Her colors, her prints — now just feels like the right time.”

Paule Marrot Editions is at booth 3878 at Licensing International Expo 2011.  paulemarrot.com 

Photos: 2009 Paule Marrot Nike dunks and dishes and napkins stamped with Marrot’s designs — including Caspari’s Beatrice floral paper napkins. 

Post By Erin Weinger

Photos by Kaitlin Mattingly  


Are they Ugly or just a little off? No matter, we love these dolls #LX11.

Uglydolls are the cute plush dolls that kids are carrying around  - even Sasha Obama.  Unbeknownst to most fans, Uglydolls have actually been around for 10 years, but they’ve just started growing in popularity. 

For this line, there are 15 ugly, down right unattractive characters with quirky, amusing character narratives behind each one. Loved by all age groups, Uglydolls are headed to the big screens. 

Illumination Entertainment in partnership with Universal Pictures has acquired rights to turn Ugly dolls franchise and is turning it into an animated feature film.  The partnerships between the groups plan to develop the property with a range of media opportunities.  Uglydolls has come along way from the first doll that was hand sewn in 2001 by creator Sun-Min Kim and David Horvath. 

Post By Stephanie Lee


#LX11: Licensing Lingerie Or The Lingerie Football League?

Did you know that on Friday nights will never be the same. Why? Because of the LFL…

The Lingerie Football League (LFL) features beautiful and athletic women playing 7-on-7, full-contact tackle football. Started in Fall 2009, the LFL has become one of television’s fastest growing commercial properties. Success has lead to international viewership, counting fans and sport enthusiasts in over 80 countries. Achieving staggering viewer numbers has also lead to the MTV2 and LFL partnership to bring LFL Friday Night Football to MTV2 every week. 

In case you want to try out, LFL football plans to start tryouts in Europe, Asia and Latin America in 2012 and 2013, check their website for details.

Post By Stephanie Lee