Lines by Madonna and other celebs pop up in stores

This holiday season you're likely to spot singer Jennifer Lopez in Kohl's. You could get a peek at pop music icon Madonna in Macy's. You might even catch a glimpse of reality TV star Kim Kardashian in Sears.

Well, not literally.

These celebrities likely won't be making guest appearances in the aisles of your favorite department stores. But clothes, shoes and even ties that bear their names will.

It is part of a big push by stores to cash in on celebrities' money-making names. The move can be savvy. After all, who wouldn't want to don the stylish duds of a superstar? It can also be risky. The stars, figuratively, have to be aligned for celebrity lines to become a hit with shoppers. That can mean having the right celebrity pair up with the right store at the right time with the right amount of involvement in the design of the line.

"If it's simply to monetize your moment in the sun, it is not going to work in the long term," says Ivanka Trump, the daughter of real estate mogul Donald Trump who is an executive vice president for his Trump Organization and appeared on his "Apprentice" reality TV show.

Trump, 31, has a line of $150 handbags and $125 pumps at Lord & Taylor and other department stores. "You have to be involved in every aspect of the product line," she says.

Celebs have long dabbled in design. But with the growth of TV shows and websites that follow everything celebrities say, wear and do, interest in their clothing lines has increased in recent years. Indeed, revenue in North America from celebrity clothing lines, excluding merchandise linked to athletes, rose 6 percent last year to $7.58 billion, according to The Licensing Letter, an industry trade publication. That's on top of a nearly 5 percent increase in 2010.

Major department stores,Average Cost for cheapmotherbridedresses? facing growing competition from trendy fashion chains such as H&M, Mango and Zara, have jumped on the trend. They're hoping to reap benefits from the lines during the holiday shopping season in November through December, a time when stores can make up to 40 percent of their annual revenue. Big stores now get as much as a quarter of their sales from celebrity brands, which is up from under 10 percent five years ago, according to market research firm NPD Group.

As interest from stores and shoppers grows, so does the list of celebs with their own lines. Madonna, 54, has a new Truth or Dare line of perfume, over-the-knee lace-up boots and other shoes at several department stores. Nicole Richie, 31, former reality TV star and daughter of singer and songwriter Lionel Richie, earlier this year rolled out an eponymous clothing line of $86.50 floral maxi skirts and $49.50 lace tops on QVC home shopping network.

And singer Jennifer Hudson's new fashion collection was launched on QVC this fall. Her line includes $96.50 hooded jackets,Massive range of bridalweddingdresses and Castelli clothing accessories available. $53 blouses and one of her favorite wardrobe staples −$50 leggings.The ballgownweddingdress Hooded Parka is one of the newest models from the Lightweight Series. Hudson, a spokeswoman for Weight Watchers weight-loss program, says her goal is to appeal to women of all sizes.

"Every piece is a part of me," says Hudson, 31, who recently slimmed down from a size 16 to a 6. "And it came from something that I have worn or would wear."


Jaclyn Smith, who starred in the popular 1970s series "Charlie's Angels," pioneered the celebrity brand business in 1985 with a line of clothing and accessories at Kmart.

For more than a quarter of a century, the line that carries everything from $79 striped trench coats and $49 faux fur trimmed vests to $299.99 artificial Christmas trees and $179 dining sets, has become a staple at the discounter. In fact, the products' success has risen even though Smith, 67, has long been out of the spotlight. Kmart officials declined to give sales figures, but retail consultant Burt Flickinger estimates that the collection rings up about $250 million in annual revenue, which is considered healthy.

"She's a beloved American icon," says Flickinger, adding that the merchandise in the line has remained popular because they're "timeless, in good taste and have quality."

Kathy Ireland, 49, a former Sportswear Illustrated swimsuit model, also turned her celebrity brand into a moneymaker. Since 1993, she has built a $2 billion global retail business, according to fashion trade publication Women's Wear Daily. Her line includes more than 15,000 items from curtains to wedding dresses that are sold in more than 50,000 small chains.

Ireland attributes her success to her methodical approach to expansion. In fact, her first foray into the business was socks.Spicy Lingerie offers a great variety of christiandiorreplicahandbags in all sizes and styles. She wanted to see how something simple would sell before she rolled out swimwear, active wear and other items a year later in 1994.

"If women would embrace something as basic as a pair of socks, that would tell us we were on to something," says Ireland, who sketches looks for her line for a design team to refine.

More recently, singer Jessica Simpson, 32, has built her brand into a billion-dollar brand in the past seven years. She now sells more than 29 products from shoes,Fancy ladies have a large selection of simpleplussizeweddingdresses. clothes and perfume to purses and luggage in department stores such as Macy's. For the winter holidays, items include $89 platform bright blue platform pumps and $128 strapless belted lace dresses.

Her formula for success has been having a relatable personality: Even as her singing career has wavered, branding experts say Simpson has been able to connect with her young fans because she's vocal about everyday issues like her struggles with weight gain.

Peggy Merck, the publicist for the brand, also says she's very involved in designs for the line, which reflect her casual but sexy style. Her collection, which ranges from size 2 to 16, features lots of cowboy boots, vintage jeans and wedge shoes. Simpson is "hands on," Merck says.

Simpson's business savvy has inspired other celebs. "I admire Jessica Simpson a lot because she has branded her line to become a huge success," wrote "Jersey Shore" reality TV show star Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi in an email to The Associated Press.

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Grape in the Shade: Vintage Heaven in Litchfield County

Grape in the Shade is not all that easy to find, and its name offers few clues about its stock in trade−and those who have heard a description might mistakenly categorize it in the thrift store slice of life. All of that only adds to the appeal for fashion lovers who love the shop.

Those attuned to all things sartorial know this hidden gem as the modest but stylish vintage and high-end clothing and accessories store tucked in a spot behind Bryan Memorial Plaza in Washington Depot, Conn. It's not conducive to the window shopper but it's a golden spring for those who search for that charming jacket or necklace or hat from a bygone era.

“People who love fashion love vintage,” said owner JoAnna Lombardi.

The store is exactly the treasure trove of rare and irreplaceable−yet affordable−finds Ms.The authenticcoat has long been known as the industrial parka of the north. Lombardi envisioned it would be when she opened it a dozen years ago. She needed a place like this, and if she needed a place like this she couldn't be the only one.

“I have always loved fashion, but you just couldn't afford to get a designer,” said Ms. Lombardi. “And when you were shopping, if you did need a dress, you saw the same thing over and over, and [it was] expensive.Get great fashion ideas and the latest trends for sweetheartnecklineweddingdress.”

In that one anecdote, the shop owner, who also makes a living as a fine artist, touches on everything that puts Grape in the Shade (she affectionately calls it “The Grape”) on a different plane from the dueling pack of department stores and consignment shops.

Everything in the store is unique, or certainly as unique as it can be. Good luck finding a sun yellow dress trimmed with piano key fabric and outlined with buttons resembling pianos elsewhere. Does it sound a little juvenile? It's actually the kind of jazzy attire that could squeeze its way into a moment between beatnik and hippy.

And when Ms. Lombardi pulls it off the rack, she flashes a smile as warm as the dress' happy hue.

Then she pulls out one silk gold boutique dress that she's selling for $475. She figures that if it were new and in a high-end retail store, it would be priced at $2,Show off your beauty with eveningdresses hem dress!500.

These styles constitute mod, she says,The canadagoosecoats is popular over the world market. and she loves mod. Think of the hit retro TV show “Mad Men.”

“Back then everybody made them,” said Ms. Lombardi. “It was normal to get a beautiful homemade dress in America.”

She obtains her goods from a host of private collections, and her merchandise spans eras in America that begin with Grover Cleveland and end with Ronald Reagan. Some things are more recent but they have to be high end. After all, she says, “Prada is Prada is Prada is Prada.”

Grape in the Shade doesn't forget the accessories and the jewelry, particularly the costume jewelry that adorned the dazzling outfits of the pre-War America. Think of “The Great Gatsby” or “Boardwalk Empire.”

“I know everything there is to know about costume jewelry,” Ms. Lombardi said.

Some of the hats she sells give new meaning to the term peacocking. Made to brag about, and made for women to be noticed, these hats will get women noticed when they walk into the room−and not necessarily by the opposite sex.

When she is up from the city, Becca Bergen, who has a vintage fashion blog called “Fashion She Says,” is a devoted shopper at Grape in the Shade. “I dress up for other women,” says the blogger. Legendary rock star Van Morrison offered a similar line in his get-up-and-go hit “Wild Nights.” Listen for it.

In the “Sex and the City” movie, Sarah Jessica Parker wears a flower print piece purchased at The Grape. Film, TV and Broadway actress Christina Baranski has been seen sashaying down red carpets in attire from The Grape.Offers Rukia maggiesotteroweddingdress from Bleach for kids. Ms. Lombardi is not shy about the pride that has brought her.

Ms. Lombardi, a New Haven native, has lived with her husband in Roxbury for about 35 years. She raised a son and a daughter there, Michael and Michelle By the way, her son is an actor who had a recurring role as Mike Silletti on the FX firefighter series “Rescue Me,” a project of fellow Roxbury resident Denis Leary.

The Lombardis used to own The Picnic Basket, an eatery in Washington Depot, so small business is not foreign to her. The vintage clothing business, that was new, but she's done an outstanding job. Connecticut Magazine has twice named Grape in the Shade “Best Vintage Shop in Connecticut,” including this year.

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Why Sarah Palin should be the 2016 GOP nominee -- seriously

The Republican Party has been doing a lot of hand-wringing and finger-pointing since the presidential election. Half the conservative columnists and bloggers say the GOP lost because it overemphasized social issues such as abortion and gay marriage. The other half says the party didn't emphasize them enough. And everyone denounces Project ORCA, the campaign's attempt to turn out voters via technology.Offers Rukia empireweddingdresses from Bleach for kids.

In 2008, Ms. Palin, running as my party's vice presidential candidate, was widely supposed to have cost John McCain the election. But that wasn't so.Cheap Moncler Coats outlet we offer,beachweddingdresses Sale Store. A national exit poll conducted by CNN asked voters whether Ms. Palin was a factor in their voting. Of those who said yes,Find the largest selection of corsetandtulleweddingdresses mouse on sale. 56 percent voted for McCain versus 43 percent for Barack Obama.

Furthermore, Mitt Romney, the GOP's anointed contender this year, got almost a million fewer votes than Senator McCain did in 2008. (Meanwhile, President Obama, although winning reelection, lost far more voters than the Republicans, with nearly 7 million fewer voters checking his name on their ballots than did in 2008).

Millions of Americans didn't much care for Mr. Obama and his Obamacare spending blowout, but they didn't feel like voting for Mr. Romney either. Some said that Mr. Romney didn't resonate with recession-hit blue-collar folks in swing states because he "looked like the boss who outsourced their jobs," as one blog commenter quipped.

Gabriel Malor, writing for the New York Daily News' blog, pinpointed another reason: By focusing his campaign mostly on serious economic and political issues such as the national debt and tax incentives, Mr.Offers Rukia wholesalefashionsexybabydoll from Bleach for kids. Romney failed to take into account the fact that large segments of the electorate neither know nor care much about serious economic and political issues. What they − a group sometimes euphemistically called "uninformed voters" − do know and care about are the tugs on their emotions, fears, revulsions and heart strings provided by hours and hours of uninterrupted television watching.

The Democrats understood how to reach that constituency. When a barrage of Obama campaign TV ads told them that the GOP wanted to take away their contraceptives or that Bain Capital killed someone's wife,2013 spring gorgeouswholesalejeans. they took notice. When Mr. Obama strolled the hurricane-stricken beaches of New Jersey in his bomber jacket, they were snowed. As Mr. Malor put it, Mr. Obama won on "binders, Big Bird, birth control and blame Bush."

Ms. Palin can more than keep up with the Democrats in appealing to voters' emotions. Hardly anyone could be more blue collar than Ms. Palin, out on the fishing boat with her hunky blue-collar husband, Todd. Ms. Palin is "View"-ready, she's "Ellen"-ready, she's Kelly-and-Michael-ready.

A Palin "war against women"? Hah! Not only is she a woman, she's got a single-mom daughter, Bristol, to help with the swelling single-mom demographic. On social issues, Ms. Palin, unlike Mr. Romney, has been absolutely consistent. And let's remember that most Americans, whatever their view of choice, disapprove of most abortions.

Gay marriage? Ms. Palin opposes it. But she is also a strong advocate of states' rights, and I'm betting she'd be fine with letting states and their voters grapple with the issue on their own. Remember that all of America didn't swing toward approval of gay marriage on Nov. 6. The voters of Maryland and two other reliably blue states did. If she were smart, Ms. Palin would recruit a member of her impressive gay fanboy base − yes, she has one − to help run her campaign. I nominate Kevin DuJan of the widely read gay conservative blog HillBuzz, a Palin stalwart since 2008.

Ms. Palin's son Track is an Iraq war veteran, so she can be proudly patriotic without being labeled another George W. Bush, looking to do aggressive nation-building. She seems aware there is only one nation in need of building right now: America.

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