They said/We said: Katie Holmes’ fashion line sales have increased since her public split from Tom Cruise

Photography by James Devaney/WireImage
Photography by James Devaney/WireImage

When Katie Holmes first announced her divorce, we were all shocked by the move: up until a month ago, she seemed every part the dutiful wife, playing a supporting role to Tom Cruise’s megawatt presence. What we didn’t realize at the time was just how much Holmes would shatter that old image in the weeks to come.

Since that announcement, Elle’s oddly prophetic and impossibly well-timed feature on Holmes went viral across the web, Holmes’ legal team managed to pull off what must be one of the fastest settlements in celebrity divorce history (two weeks…two weeks!), Holmes snagged sole custody of Suri, taped an appearance on Project Runway and managed to make a series of almost daily public appearances around her home in New York City, looking impeccably put-together and serene each time (in other words, not acting or looking like someone who was going through a painful divorce).

What’s particularly admirable about these appearances though is the discrete marketing tactic implicit in them: with hoards of paparazzo clamoring for a picture outside her door every day post-scandal, Holmes very wisely chose to almost exclusively don none other than Holmes & Yang, her own line with former Cruise stylist Jeanna Yang, for her jaunts about town. As the New York Times puts it, the paparazzo shots have become “a stealth ad campaign,” one that’s been put into motion right before the brand’s first-ever showing at New York Fashion Week come September.

“The way she’s getting photographed today, she’s in a position to get more exposure than ever before,” Robert Burke, a former Bergdorf Goodman executive and fashion consultant, told the New York Times. “She’s not waiting for fashion editors and stylists to come and pull her clothes.”

Whether it’s a strategy or not, it’s worked: Holmes & Yang sales have skyrocketed at retailers like Bergdorf Goodman and Barneys. Whatever your feelings about the former Mrs. Cruise are now, you have to give it to her: she’s not the brainwashed sidekick we once thought she was.

THEY SAID…

Jacob Bernstein: “It all seemed a bit too calculated . . . did Ms. Holmes really need to run out for milk on a recent day when dozens of paparazzi were outside her door?” [New York Times]

Benjamin Wallace: “Holmes, unable to get the kinds of roles she wanted, realized she could cast herself in the part of a lifetime. […] She knew a good third-act twist when she saw one.” [Vulture]

WE SAID…

Bernadette Morra, editor-in-chief: “Katie’s positive publicity bonanza will likely be studied by public relations students for years to come. This appears to be a masterfully executed plan leaving nothing to chance—even her daily “walkabouts” for the cameras. Whether the plan was hers or not might never be known. But even if it wasn’t, she is clearly smart enough to have heeded expert advice. Without question, the Holmes & Yang show will be the hottest ticket of NYFW.”