I hit the unveiling of Maria Sharapova’s collection for Cole Haan and the in-store shopping event afterwards last evening. First let me say, I am happy to associate the beautiful tennis player with another brand besides Canon, because for a while, when I heard her name, I would think of her little dog Dolce pleading with her in his/her little accent.
Although it may seem odd that she would be collaborating with a brand such as Cole Haan, designing sky-high heels and classy bags, it is not so curious a partnership when one considers that Cole Haan is a wholly owned subsidiary of Nike, Inc. A lot of celebrities seem to do these lines as a desperate attempt to keep the funds coming in, but this is not the case with this stunning tennis pro, who was the highest-paid female athlete in the world in June 2007 according to Forbes magazine. But she does know the endorsement game well, as the majority of the $23 million bucks she made in 2007 and the $26 million she accrued in 2008 was earned through her endorsements and sponsorships.
The event thrown by the brand was quite confusing: Although Maria announced the launch in the square in Rockefeller Plaza, she quickly moved into the store to do all the press for the line. DJ Nick Cohen was still DJing in the Square after she went into the store, with a confused audience looking on. People didn’t know why he was there, and the signage all around him implied that she hadn’t been out there yet.
Inside the store, the event was much more focused. An array of mini-cupcakes were out, and the red velvet cupcakes seemed to be going first (2 for me, thanks). The Maria display was small, featured some very practical flats, bags, and boots. The standout shoe of the night was the Air Milano Short Boot that Maria was wearing herself; this shoe was the most fashion-forward look of the evening. Maria was in the back giving interviews, and based on her stance (facing away from the majority of the crowd), I would assume that she is not 100% comfortable with in-store appearances yet. Also, her beauty team was touching her up in front of all the cameras, which was awkward.
That being said, Maria was absolutely sweet and charming and spoke to many of the fans with ease. Along with the booties, she wore a patterned dress with buttons up the back, pin-tuck seams near the hips, and flouncy little sleeves. She towered over most of the press (especially with those divine boots), but gave plenty of lip service to each interviewer. One male interviewer even “gave back”, when he dripped a large glob of sweat from his chin onto her dress. She didn’t even flinch, but can we say EWWW!! Check out a video of her last night, or shop the collection at the Cole Haan website.
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