This week brings the news that celebrity Rachel Bilson will create a line of china dishes for Lenox called Edie Rose. This is just the latest of many famous names to collaborate with established brand companies and lend their name and prestige (as it were) to a product line. As a consumer, does it make a difference in your decision to buy if the china is Coalport Blue Wheat, Royal Doulton Carlyle or Vera Wang for Wedgwood Blanc Sur Blanc? Does the likelihood of you using and enjoying your china increase when the backstamp says Jasper Conran? Or perhaps in another direction, does buying a “celebrity line” indicate that you are “cool” or with it?
I don't know, but I see a distinct difference between established designers, such as Vera Wang and celebrities like Bilson. When a designer of clothes or accessories takes a foray into china or tabletop they are bringing their considerable designing skills, already evident elsewhere, to an industry which resembles their own. Their creativity can enhance and refresh a stale product line which can lead to greater success and fewer patterns being discontinued.
When a celebrity, with no design experience or credentials adopts a china pattern or line as her own, there is no advantage to the product itself. Since it is most probably made from start to finish by the manufacturer, with minimal input from the celebrity, how is it different than what came before it? Even if the celebrity does take an active role, why should we lend any credence to his/her tastes?
From a marketing perspective, adding famous names works wonders. But for the quality-conscious consumer it should be taken at face value (pun intended).