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Claire O’Mahony: Come on, Robbie -- leave a career for the rest of us

Wanting to be famous is viewed as a valid career choice by children, in the same way that being a vet or a teacher once was, and it's worth looking into the reasons why.

Clearly the wealth, adulation and eight million followers on Twitter must all seem appealing but children are undoubtedly aware that when you become a celebrity, it's akin to becoming a superhero.

You assume unlimited creative talents and you're certainly not limited to sticking to whatever area you first became famous in. And that's annoying for the rest of the world.

Two shining examples of how celebrity status allows you to turn your hand to pretty much anything were in Dublin at the weekend. Robbie Williams, ex-Take Thatter and reformed messer, came to debut his menswear range, which is called Farrell. Last week, the far from shy-and-retiring Lady Gaga, who played Dublin on Saturday, launched her perfume, the appropriately named Fame.

Robbie describes the Farrell label, which is available at Brown Thomas and online, as "modern style with quintessentially old-fashioned tailoring". Lady Gaga's take on her perfume is that it's a "quite delicious, succulent, slutty, seductive fragrance".

That both will become best sellers is very likely -- something that must be hugely galling to anyone grafting away seriously in fashion or perfume and who don't have the mantle of celebrity to give them the immediate acceptance and success that Robbie and Gaga will achieve.

While Robbie has no fashion background and Gaga is not a perfumer, both are keen to emphasise that their ventures are not about building their brands or making money. Apparently we're not talking the commerciality of a Katie Price novel, a Kerry Katona exercise DVD or a Justin Bieber iPhone cover here.

Instead, Robbie's Farrell and Gaga's Fame are being presented as labours of love -- which, in both cases, happen to be facilitated by the two singers' giant bank balances and their fame but not necessarily any real ability to design clothes or create a perfume.

If you were a fashion designer, you'd be understandably piqued at Robbie. Designers don't go around releasing best-selling albums as a sideline.

There's no denying the synergy between fashion and music -- we have models that sing like Karen Elson (or try to like Kate Moss), and singers who are muses like Florence Welch from Florence and the Machine for Gucci. But these are mainly dabblings, not bona fide attempts to gatecrash another creative discipline.

At least in terms of Gaga, you can hardly berate the singer for going down the fragrance route when you consider it's a well-worn one for singers: Beyonce, Britney Spears, Rihanna, Katy Perry, Christina Aguilera, and those you may have forgotten about such as Peter Andre and, um, Cliff Richard -- if you're interested, Summer Holiday for Women by Cliff opens with citrus tops, followed by gardenia and lily, and has a musky base.

Of course, Robbie's menswear and Gaga's scent should not be judged on how indulgent they are as projects but on their merits.

The thing is, 39-year-old Williams, despite professing to have always been interested in fashion, never stood out as being particularly stylish, unlike fellow Take That singer Gary Barlow -- now there is a man who knows how to rock a suit. Farrell, which is named for his Kilkenny grandfather and is a collaboration with designer Ben Dickens, (Robbie describes his own role as like a DJ for the label) is fine but isn't going to set the fashion world alight.

As for Lady Gaga, does the world need a perfume that, according to the singer herself, smells like an "expensive hooker"? Maybe it does, but to both Robbie and Gaga you'd be inclined to say, maybe just stick to the day jobs.

Irish Independent