Katie Holmes wasn’t top of mind for a while until she filed for divorce from Tom Cruise. We’d all gotten used to her blasé presence as a celebrity whose very celebrity was very much derived from her celebrity husband and celebrity offspring. Now that she’s at the center of tabloid media once again, she’s been given the opportunity to recast herself as just Katie Holmes, instead of Katie “Mrs. Tom Crazypants” Holmes. Her calculated, steady moves over the past week have suggested she will do anything but go bleary-eyed into the paparazzi swarm, like a deranged pinot grigio-swilling, solid food-fearing Real Housewife forced to publicly confront a collapsed marriage. Rather, she shot a guest spot on Project Runway, announced that her fashion label Holmes & Yang would show at New York Fashion Week in September, and took her adorably dressed daughter out for ice cream.
It all suggests that fashion mogul could be the best next career move for her. After all, the fashion business is always there for celebrities who want to do stuff without actually entertaining us — whether that’s their choice or the grim reality that they’ve become un-hirable, for whatever reason. It was there for Lindsay Lohan who launched 6126 when her downward spiral kept her from acting jobs. It was there for Jessica Simpson when her duel careers as a singer and hot girl in daisy dukes came to a halt. It has been there for Snooki, JWOWW, and the Kardashians. It is there for Victoria Beckham, who used to be famous for being a tacky lamé-loving Spice Girl. Here are a few reasons why Holmes is ripe for a career in fashion as she enters the next chapter of her life as a famous person.
1. She started at least one fashion craze.
When Katie got with Tom about six years ago, her image underwent a definite shift. If Sarah Palin went rogue, she went Mom. It was like she realized now that she was with the world’s biggest movie star, she didn’t have to do much to get massive amounts of attention aside from go outside wearing Tom’s pants. Somehow — even though these 2008 photos do not make the boyfriend jeans style look very good — she sparked a fashion craze for slouchy, rolled up, possibly unclean jeans. The style has maintained popularity for more than four years and is basically what’s made us all care about Madewell for so long. At least, when I think of that store, I think “Katie Holmes pants — but better!” She could be massively profiting off this.
2. She bore the most stylish toddler of her generation.
Suri was getting attention for her high heels and sassy ruffled dresses before a spate of high fashion designers decided to launch very practical clothing lines for babies. Indeed, the voraciousness with which we consume Suri fashion trend stories probably made those designers think fashion babies were just the thing for them to start profiting from. Katie can very easily start a kids’ fashion line once she’s got her customer base of moms down.
3. Barneys sells her clothing line.
Homes & Yang is the line Katie’s been making for a few years with her stylist, Jeanne Yang. It’s plain, wearable — and crazy expensive. Given that it’s been on the racks at Barneys for as long as it has been, it’s got some real fashion cred behind it — unlike the LiLo, Simpson, or Kardashian clothing lines. As a celebrity, this is not an easy realm in which to establish yourself as a “designer” since everyone expects you to go downmarket with your product lines. Holmes & Yang is now ripe for a lower-priced offshoot line that would be right at home one or two degrees of expensiveness (and therefore classiness) away from the Jessica Simpson line.
4. She takes risks.
She wore this bizarre jumpsuit not once, but twice — even though no one liked it the first time she wore it and the second black iteration of it was even less attractive-looking than the white one. But this is the kind of risky business (elbow elbow) that the fashion world needs if style is to move forward.
5. Her hair is iconic.
She debuted her Victoria Beckham-esque bob in 2007, and then went on to cut it even more as you see here, prompting mourning around the internet. So much feeling is not attached to other celebrity hair makeovers, which just shows how deeply the public cares about her look (probably because during her Cruise-itology era, she never spoke about anything publicly so her image was all we had to work with).
6. She knows how to sew.
When I interviewed Katie and her stylist Jeanne Yang at Barneys at a launch event for their line, she and Yang told me the whole thing started when they discovered each other’s love for sewing. “It’s so rare, unfortunately, that I actually know people who are into crafting and doing stuff like that,” Jeanne said in March of last year. Katie said she sews “aprons for the girls, pillows, tablecloths, baby clothes, Barbie clothes.” That’s more than most celebrity clothing designers can say! Like, imagine Snooki as a hobbyist crafter (consider that her “craft ideas” Pinterest board looks like this).
7. The fashion world loves her.
Here’s Katie sitting front row at an Armani show, one seat over from Cate Blanchett, getting the side eye from fashion icon Daphne Guinness. If that’s not fashion world acceptance I don’t know what is.
8. Her style is relatable.
This is a woman who could be blazing out the door in scary, uncomfortable, high-fashion runway pieces four times a day and never wear the same thing twice. She has fashion — whether she has to pay for it or not — at her disposal, especially now that she can probably borrow (or just have) absolutely anything she wants with all the divorce press. And yet she goes out looking like she shops the sale rack at Anthropologie and Lucky Brand just like the rest of us. This ability to relate to average folks just by wearing an outfit will be extremely valuable when she wants to sell more stuff to them.