All of our celebrities have roles to play — bad boy, sex symbol, party gal — and Jessica Simpson has been saddled with "dumb blonde." To be sure, she had a hand in the script for this part — no matter what she does or where she goes, years later, "Chicken Of The Sea" is mentioned. And although New York magazine's cover story credits the star with being a "Fashion Mogul," it also attempts to take her down a notch with a silly cover line. "I'm making a billion dollars off… CLOTHES??!" is not a direct quote, but obviously fits with our predetermined notion that she's a ditz.
Here's the thing: Jessica Simpson is not an idiot. Is she naive in some ways? Perhaps. Undereducated? Sure. But if some brawny football player was making a billion dollars selling clothes, would the magazine take a mocking tone with him?
When it comes to the business side of things, it could be argued that Jessica's vision for her line is actually pretty smart.
Amy Larocca writes:
Jessica Simpson has never been about snob appeal. As her business manager, David Levin, explains, the original idea behind Simpson's fashion brands was this: "A girl could go to the shopping mall with her mother and she'd have a great new outfit and still have some money left for lunch at McDonald's. She can look like Jessica Simpson, smell like Jessica Simpson, and she can afford it."
It's a business model that has worked, since Jessica Simpson's fashion enterprises made $750 million last year. Larocca notes: "To put that figure in context, it means Jessica Simpson is doing roughly the same volume in sales as Michael Kors." Keep in mind that a Michael Kors shoe can cost you as much as $995; Jessica Simpson's are more like $99.
This is not to say that Jessica Simpson is a genius. During her TV show The Price Of Beauty, Jessica made more than a few missteps, and in the New York piece, she seems overly impressed that her boyfriend owns a lot of books. Then again, the fact that the book tidbit is even in the piece is proof of how desperately everyone wants her to seem daft. But while other late '90s pop stars have faded away, while other celeb clothing lines (SJP's Bitten; Lindsay Lohan's leggings; Jennifer Lopez's Sweetface) falter and/or die, Jessica Simpson is making a BILLION dollars in the biz. Billion. Like, if you saw a one million dollar apartment and then bought a thousand of them. And while Jessica obviously has a bunch of people working for her, she is still the boss:
Simpson — or Simpson's top surrogate, her mother — will sit in a room just like this to approve every single thing that gets her label inside.
The $1 Billion Girl [New York]