Most people know these days that celebrities don't just wander onto red carpets wearing whatever felt good that day — those appearances are carefully orchestrated forays into personal and corporate branding, undertaken with the cooperation of luxury houses who lend each star clothing, shoes, or jewelry. Some stars, it turns out, are great at the borrowing part, but not so great at the giving-back part.
Today in the New York Post, Rihanna, Mariah Carey, and Lady Gaga were all called out for bad borrowing behavior by anonymous P.R. reps who handle the lending and return of designer samples to celebrities. Presumably all of those P.R.s are now safely working for other companies, because pretty much all of this dirt is from a few years ago. But that doesn't mean that right now, somewhere there's not a P.R. tearing out her hair trying to get a sample back from Deadbeat Celebrity X.
Let's play a little game called Where's the Gown?
The Gown Is Dirty
In 2010, Rihanna borrowed a beige Herve Leroux dress for her birthday party.
“It came back literally brown,” says a fashion publicist who worked with the brand at the time. “I don’t know what the hell she did with it.” (Rihanna’s rep did not return a request for comment.)
Lady Gaga borrowed a Mugler dress for a video shoot in 2011 and returned it weeks later.
“It looked like it had [semen] on it. It was so disgusting. I couldn’t even tell you,” dishes a p.r. girl who worked with the label at the time and saw the damage firsthand.
“We never found out what it [the stain] was, but we paid the $500 dry-cleaning bill.”
Gaga's rep had no comment, reports the Post.
The Gown Is Really Damaged
Sometimes when a celebrity doesn't like a floor-length gown, she'll just chop off that offending skirt. Lindsay Lohan did this at the AmfAR gala earlier this year, turning a long dress into a mini. Mariah Carey, according to her onetime stylist Philip Bloch, was a repeat offender:
“We all remember the Mariah minidress phase . . . less dress, more skin, too much Mariah,” says Bloch. “Four or so years ago, it was really hard to borrow for her because she used to cut all the gowns into really short dresses,” he says, adding that designer Elie Saab nixed Carey for fear she’d shear his wear.
“They would be like, ‘We can’t loan to her. She’s going to cut the gown!’ ” (Carey’s rep, Cindi Berger says, there’s “no truth to this.”)
The Gown Has Mysteriously Disappeared :(
Some stars lose (or "lose") borrowed dresses entirely. Apparently, Lindsay Lohan is a repeat offender. Who would have guessed!
When it comes to stars designers won’t touch, Lohan reigns supreme.
So much so that when her team approached Jovani, a glitzy dress brand often associated with prom wear, the label’s flacks weighed the pros and cons of lending to the troubled starlet.
“We said, ‘Would it be worth lending these pieces out if we never got them back?’ ” says Lianne Gourji, Jovani’s p.r. director.
A P.R. firm for the Australian label Collette Dinnigan took a chance and lent Lohan a dress. When it came time to return it, she said it had been lost. But then, says P.R. Marilyn Heston:
“And then there’s a New Year’s Eve party in Miami, and she was photographed wearing the dress on the cover of a magazine. It was like, ‘Aha! Caught.’ We had living proof that the dress wasn’t completely lost.”
Heston adds that there were “no hard feelings. We got the dress back.”
It kind of boggles the mind that a celebrity would try to get away with claiming a dress as lost while still going out and partying in it. Don't they get their picture taken hundreds of times every day? Do they think nobody will notice?
Other celebrities who've pulled the "sorry I lost it" card include Katy Perry, who (or whose stylist — accounts vary) lost a Zuhair Murad couture dress worth tens of thousands of dollars in 2010. A P.R. laments:
“How can you lose a gown? She wore it. You come the next day to collect everything, and it’s not there,” she says, adding that the designer held off on lending to Perry’s stylist, Johnny Wujek, for a period of time after the incident.
The Gown Is For Sale Somewhere
Yep, some celebrities even try to sell loaned designer goods.
According to an industry source, [Ashley] Madekwe [of Revenge fame] was caught trying to pawn a Monika Chiang purse she’d been given by the label on her own personal style blog. (Madekwe’s rep, Emily Yomtobian, says, “This is totally not true,” and adds that the TV star just wore Chiang in March.)
Where the entitlement economy meets the real economy, some see profits!!!
Red Carpet Lending Nightmares [NYPost]
Image via Getty.