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There is no better example of what's wrong in the world of fashion and branding than Christian Audigier and his various bedazzled brands: Ed Hardy, Von Dutch, and his own eponymous line. The man is laughing all the way to the bank by baiting status-thirsty consumers with Made-in-China rhinestone-studded tees and an equally flashy pricetag.
The recent issue of GQ however has turned the man around to face his own mess, and in turn branded him as the "Emperor du Fromage"? or emperor of cheese. The whole article is absolutely worth reading in its entirety, but we've pulled a few choice quotes after the jump.
On his outsider status in the fashion world:
The rest of the fashion world also denies the existence of Ed Hardy and/or Christian Audi-gier. Barneys, Saks, even New York Fashion Week, where American designers have their fashion shows—in none of these places are the names Ed Hardy or Christian Audigier breathed. The fact that he sells this stuff—not just literally tons of T-shirts and caps but tons of luxury-priced status items unapproved by the luxury-status complex—reflects something about ourselves that people in positions of fashionable power would rather not admit. Christian Audigier is an inconvenient truth.
On what his Beverly Hills headquarters looked like to the GQ reporter:
The door is heavy and wood, with iron detailing; the front desk is paneled in leather; there’s a perfectly weathered Ralph Lauren–like heavy bag in the waiting room, a large moody black-and-white R&B-record-cover-style portrait of Christian in the entryway...I saw laid out on the white marble floor a stuffed albino peacock, a long leather bench with a fur thrown over it, and what appeared to be a precise replica of the chopper from Easy Rider, with the Stars and Stripes carapace and everything. It was not immediately clear what any of these items meant, but it did give you a feeling. It made you feel rich and male; it made you feel like drinking champagne with a beautiful prostitute.
On what the man looks like in person:
He was wearing dark jeans and a cream-colored long-sleeve T-shirt. He almost never wears the clothes he designs, which leads some people to wonder whether he actually likes them.
His staff, mainly pretty girls whom he'd hired right out of waitressing jobs, adore him. So do the few men:
'Christian gave me an enormous amount,' Tracey said...Tracey is the brother of a former NBA player and Lil Bow Wow’s uncle. He introduced Christian to Puff and Kanye and lots of other people. 'I never thought of my friends as a way of business. Christian showed me how to do that.'
On his turning the rumored neo-Nazi Von Dutch name into a desired brand:
The thing about the trucker hat that no one had taken advantage of, Christian said, is that you can see the logo really clearly when it’s on the head of a famous person in a photograph... One afternoon, after he’d designed the line and they’d opened the Von Dutch boutique on Melrose, he saw Britney Spears shopping and chased her down. One thing Christian can do is talk to famous people. He does it with just the right mixture of enthusiasm and brazenness and ass-kissery.
Alright that's enough of that. Rest assured that there are pages more of such stuff, going into the development of Ed Hardy and further. Good luck not cursing pop culture and the influence of tabloids when you're through with it though.
· Emperor du Fromage [GQ]
· Nicotine Patches and Disposable Forks? Has Ed Hardy Gone Too Far? [Racked]
· Talk About Brand Expansion [Racked]