Why Lauren Conrad's Fashion Line Was Doomed

Conrad: "How do you spell 'beret'?" Photo: WireImage

The Wall Street Journal has an awesomely long profile of Hills star Lauren Conrad today. Aiming capitalize on her MTV fame and take the Olsen route to riches, the L.C. is looking to create a Lauren Conrad brand empire. Hm. We don't see how this can possibly be compelling without Justin Bobby action figures, but that's just us. But we digress: The article explains in awesome detail the Tao of Conrad: her odd relationship with Brody Jenner, how she gets publicity by deliberately hanging out where paparazzi can watch her eat, and how her parents and publicist make sure she drinks responsibly (Dad keeps tabs on her by checking gossip blogs). But what's really revealing in the Journal piece is the insight it gives into Conrad's fashion line and the action backstage before her L.A. Fashion Week debut (which, you may recall, didn't go quite so well). Thanks to the observant eye of the reporter, we were easily able to cull a list of reasons why L.C.'s clothing line was so darn disastrous:

1. The firm that makes her clothes specializes in making crap.

To help her get her current clothing line, MTV approached Steve Friedman, the owner of Tangerine Promotions in suburban Chicago. The firm specializes in "tchotchkes, trinkets and trash" with company logos, he says, and MTV is one of his biggest clients. Although Tangerine has no experience in contemporary women's apparel, Mr. Friedman agreed to team up with MTV.

2. Among the tchotchke-makers, Lauren has creative control.

Ms. Conrad received no advance payment from Tangerine, but it did grant her creative control.

3. Her vision is limited to nights at Les Deux.

Ms. Conrad says she's trying to create a line of clothes that she and her friends would wear. Her latest collection, for fall, is made up primarily of strapless dresses and halter tops in white, black and deep purple. She has insisted that her pieces be made from high-end cotton jersey and manufactured in the U.S. Prices range from $44 for a tank top to $220 for a dress.

4. She equates "fall" with "accessories":

Shortly before Ms. Conrad's first runway show last Tuesday, she met with several advisers and assistants to prepare. Accessories were a focal point. "We need to fall it up," Ms. Conrad said, as she gave a pair of leather gloves to a model in a strapless dress. Ms. Conrad explained that her trip as a Teen Vogue intern to Paris influenced her designs. As she recorded which accessories the models would wear, she called out, "How do you spell 'beret'?"

5. She just doesn't listen to her advisers, who are actual professionals.

While Ms. Conrad selected high-heeled shoes for most of the models, Mr. Relf told her some of the models needed to wear knee-high boots for dramatic effect. When one model tried on the boots, Ms. Conrad said, "If a girl walked down the street in this, I wouldn't think it was cute."

"We are talking about the runway, not real life," Mr. Relf said.

Later that afternoon, Mr. Relf explained that experienced designers usually defer to his advice, and that Ms. Conrad had finally agreed that a few models would wear boots. "Lauren's open and that's not how a lot of celebrities are," he said.

During the show, however, the models did not wear boots. "It didn't look good," Ms. Conrad says.

We're going to read that last quote as a reaction — a realization, a reflection! — rather than just an explanation as to why she nixed the boots. Because we want to like Lauren, we do.

Selling Lauren Conrad [WSJ]
Related: Inside the Sad, Bizarre World That Was the Lauren Conrad Show