Beauty and the brand
From Miranda Kerr’s beauty product range to Whitney Port’s designer threads, brand master George Moskos knows a good face when he sees it
George Moskos may confess to wearing a "daggy pair of jeans and an old Bonds t-shirt", but don't let the disguise fool you. The Sydney-born business adviser matches up high profile personalities of the beauty and fashion worlds with their passion projects, developing beloved brands for the celebrities - and their fans.
Take for example his involvement in co-founding the KORA Organics range, the organic beauty range of supermodel Miranda Kerr. His friendship with Miranda blossomed into a business partnership at a time when she was still known as "the Portmans girl", the face of the Australian fashion chain. It may sound almost comical today, but even though she had already been signed with Victoria's Secret, she was still relatively unknown in Australia.
Along with Miranda and her publicist, George co-developed a plan to build her public profile in Australia and then use that profile to catapult a commercial project.
Miranda was the face of Portmans, Seafolly and now a Victoria's Secret angel, and George thought it was "extraordinary that she is Australia's biggest export and no one knows about her." He envisioned that with a good publicist, it was "inevitable that she'd become a big name." George credits her publicist for broadening her profile, and with David Jones on board, the sky was the limit.
With her profile was on a meteoric rise, it was ideal timing to unveil a product line that Miranda truly believed in. The KORA Organics line is an extension of Miranda's healthy organic lifestyle, and her consciousness about using high quality ingredients. Health and wellbeing have always been her passion (she studied nutrition and health), woven into her life through yoga, meditation and organic diet.
George worked with Miranda to create the concepts, put together the business plan, pitched to investors for finance, and created the brand, the name and the design, then took it to market.
His involvement in the project has resulted in a product line that is highly coveted - and credible. The philosophy of George's company Wholebrands is a strong belief in "celebrity-driven brands, but only when the personality has an involvement with the creation and the development of the product because otherwise it's not an authentic endorsement", he explains.
Rather than celebrities just putting a face and a name to a product, without any real involvement, he prefers to work with celebrities who want to put their personality into the brand, "like we did with Miranda and KORA, then there's an authentic project that they can truly be passionate about."
George has since sold his share of the business, and Miranda's parents have now taken over the reins. Of KORA Organics, he says "It's a great brand, and I'm very proud to have been a part of it."
George is juggling five new projects at the moment, one of which is the Australian launch of the Whitney Eve fashion line, the brainchild of television personality Whitney Port.
Who is Whitney Port, you might ask? For those who aren't familiar with her, it may be because, like me, you were born prior to 1980. Whitney is best known for her role on American reality series The Hills, which followed the lives of several young adults in Los Angeles. The series was well-received by reality TV enthusiasts everywhere, making the series the highest rated show on MTV at the time - and launching Whitney's career in the process.
Having met through friends, Whitney showed George her designs personally, and the duo agreed to expand her market reach by capitalizing on George's relationships with department stores in Australia.
Sported by the likes of Heidi Klum, Kim and Kourtney Kardashian and Allessandra Ambrosio, the flirty fashion range has no shortage of Hollywood devotees, and was launched this week on the runways of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Australia.
The installation-style fashion show unveiled a combination of laid-back California beach style and city chic. Muted florals and very wearable relaxed tailoring dominated the collection, rounded out by short suits and jumpsuits, and an overarching tuxedo influence. Colours were muted, a mix of lilac and blush against gray, black and white. The show was warmly received by the industry.
But does Whitney Port have the recognition in Australia to carry the fashion line?
"In Australia, Miranda had a lot of marketing and publicity invested into her, with Whitney we're about to do the same", George says. "[Whitney Port] is one of the loveliest people I've ever had the opportunity to meet. She's very focused, very family orientated, she has a great fan base in Australia, and a great supporting fan base who work with her on the project."
George describes himself as "not terribly fashion-inclined" and so trusts his team to make the fashion calls. "I support their decision, and they love the range. Everyone I've shown has loved it, including the distributors and the buyers," he says.
And love it, they do. Sportsgirl have already signed on to distribute the line, as well as major online fashion retailers My Catwalk and The Iconic. "We have national reach immediately, so we're very excited about that."
George won't rest on his laurels and has several projects in the pipelines, one of which is a business advisory role with model Lara Bingle and her manager. He can't say much except "we're very excited to be working with her".
What he can say though, is that it's all about the celebrity.
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