Their X factor: Celeb parents

(Clockwise from far left): Lily-Rose Depp on the runway for Chanel at Paris Fashion Week; Frances Bean Cobain starring in a Marc Jacobs campaign; Lennon Gallagher appearing for Topman during London Fashion Week Men's; and Iris Law modelling for Burbe
Lily-Rose Depp (above) on the runway for Chanel at Paris Fashion Week; Frances Bean Cobain starring in a Marc Jacobs campaign; Lennon Gallagher appearing for Topman during London Fashion Week Men's; and Iris Law modelling for Burberry.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY
(Clockwise from far left): Lily-Rose Depp on the runway for Chanel at Paris Fashion Week; Frances Bean Cobain starring in a Marc Jacobs campaign; Lennon Gallagher appearing for Topman during London Fashion Week Men's; and Iris Law modelling for Burbe
Lily-Rose Depp on the runway for Chanel at Paris Fashion Week; Frances Bean Cobain (above) starring in a Marc Jacobs campaign; Lennon Gallagher appearing for Topman during London Fashion Week Men's; and Iris Law modelling for Burberry.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ MARC JACOBS
(Clockwise from far left): Lily-Rose Depp on the runway for Chanel at Paris Fashion Week; Frances Bean Cobain starring in a Marc Jacobs campaign; Lennon Gallagher appearing for Topman during London Fashion Week Men's; and Iris Law modelling for Burbe
Lily-Rose Depp on the runway for Chanel at Paris Fashion Week; Frances Bean Cobain starring in a Marc Jacobs campaign; Lennon Gallagher (above) appearing for Topman during London Fashion Week Men's; and Iris Law modelling for Burberry.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/TOPMAN
(Clockwise from far left): Lily-Rose Depp on the runway for Chanel at Paris Fashion Week; Frances Bean Cobain starring in a Marc Jacobs campaign; Lennon Gallagher appearing for Topman during London Fashion Week Men's; and Iris Law modelling for Burbe
Lily-Rose Depp on the runway for Chanel at Paris Fashion Week; Frances Bean Cobain starring in a Marc Jacobs campaign; Lennon Gallagher appearing for Topman during London Fashion Week Men's; and Iris Law (above) modelling for Burberry.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ BURBERRY

Fashion's latest stars leverage on and embrace their lineage

NEW YORK • In Paris last week, the honour of the final exit at the Chanel couture show - the one every model wants to walk - was bestowed on a fresh-faced young woman, strolling down the circular runway in a long pink dress. A coronation of sorts, it marked her as a new face of the brand and favourite of designer Karl Lagerfeld.

"Her" being Lily-Rose Depp, the daughter of actress-singer Vanessa Paradis, a former face of the brand, and actor Johnny Depp.

Lily-Rose Depp's appearance at Chanel followed fast on the heels of Burberry's announcement that it had chosen Iris Law, the daughter of actors Jude Law and Sadie Frost, as the new face of its make-up line Liquid Lip Velvet, as well as the appearance of Lennon Gallagher, the son of Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit, on the Topman runway during London Fashion Week Men's.

Not to mention the news that Frances Bean Cobain, the daughter of musicians Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love, was the star of the new Marc Jacobs ads.

It also presaged the release this week of a new Gap video campaign featuring Rumer Willis (daughter of actress Demi Moore), TJ Mizell (son of DJ Jam Master Jay), Coco Gordon (daughter of musician Kim Gordon), Lizzy Jagger (daughter of singer Mick Jagger), Chelsea Tyler (daughter of musician Steven Tyler) and Evan Ross (son of singer-actress Diana Ross) - all of whose famous forebears had also made Gap ads in the past.

Given that the title is "Generation Gap" and the clothes being worn are all reissued updated versions of 15 staple Gap pieces of the 1990s that their respective parents wore, the connection makes some sense.

It also signals the second, institutionalised phase of what has become a bona fide cross-border fashion phenomenon.

"We call it the 'children of'," said W editor Stefano Tonchi, who shot Brandon Thomas Lee (son of rocker Tommy Lee and actress Pamela Anderson) and Nyima Ward (model Trish Goff's son), among others, for the magazine's April issue.

Never before have so many children of famous parents been so celebrated and rewarded for their lineage, and so willing to publicly embrace it. IMG Models alone has more than 25 "children of" on its books, including Dylan Brosnan, son of actor Pierce Brosnan.

What began with a few random mini-me's (the Jagger kids, Keith Richards' girls) and picked up steam when Dolce & Gabbana replaced its usual celebrity front row with a millennial children-of front row, can no longer be dismissed as a coincidence or even a fad.

"It has become a profession to be the son or daughter of a celebrity," Mr Tonchi said.

And that means people cannot dismiss the associated implications about the end of the meritocracy, and their own complicity - or what Mr Ivan Bart, president of IMG Models, calls "obsession" - therein.

Despite the public hoo-ha about nepotism engendered by the recent United States polls, the palpable discomfort with political dynasties and the ambiguity around the role of United States President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka, when it comes to what sells, apparently, lineage matters.

Lineage is not the only reason these NextGen names are having a moment. They are all attractive. They are generally talented, most forging their own artistic paths in a variety of areas, in music, art and film. They also often have large social media followings.

But there is no getting around the fact that their current profile, especially in the fashion world, seems somewhat out of proportion to their achievements thus far.

Their X factor is their parentage; it is what makes them stand out from the crowd of other attractive, talented peers (and is used in all of the marketing materials). But the Y factor is that they are perfectly happy not only to acknowledge it, but also to leverage on it.

Whereas once upon a time, children of famous parents might have changed their surnames to prove themselves (Angelina Jolie, Emilio Estevez) or even rejected their parents' choices, this generation is happy to assume the mantle.

"Regardless of what we do in life, every article starts with 'daughter of'," Rumer Willis said over the phone from the set of Empire, discussing her participation in the Gap ad. "You can fight that, or accept it and appreciate it. "

Indeed, it is not just about the children.

As Mr Tonchi notes, there has been a change in the social acceptance of "family" - an incorporation of the formerly private into the public narrative. Children have become part of a parent's identity, both professionally and personally, in a way they never were before.

As a result, many brands see in this generation an opportunity to double dip with their consumer base; to reach two markets with one name.

According to Mr Craig Brommers, the chief marketing officer for Gap, these famous children act as a bridge between Generations X and Z, between those who remember their parents and grew up with them, and those who follow the children on social media. Either way, they have an allure a non-pedigreed model does not.

"We've had a lot of brands from Cindy's past approach us about Kaia," Mr Bart of IMG Models said, referring to model Cindy Crawford and her daughter, model Kaia Gerber. "They feel they have a history with the family."

NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 04, 2017, with the headline 'Their X factor: Celeb parents'. Print Edition | Subscribe