Younger’s Molly Bernard and Designer Michael Lo Sordo on Celebrity Brand Endorsements
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Celebrity endorsements and influencer marketing can be controversial. Many brands and agencies say it can be hard to measure the actual return on investment (ROI) and others doubt the pay-off. For Michael Lo Sordo, though, it’s been a key part of building his eponymous label.
In the latest episode of Dinner For Two, the Australian designer chats with host Alyce Tran about how he’s managed to dress celebrities like Margot Robbie, Gigi Hadid and Kim Kardashian, as well as have his designs featured in the James Bond film No Time to Die, as well as an episode of Schitt’s Creek.
“I treat everything as a relationship,” Lo Sordo says. “Partnerships, for me, are personal relationships. So that’s how I build this rapport with these influencers. I feel like I go that extra mile to create that personal touchpoint. I am so personally involved in the business and therefore I think everything I do is extended from that.”
But while relationship-building makes sense for dressing influencers, how does Lo Sordo manage to get his designs on major celebrities? He says it all comes down to having the right product.
“If you have the right product, then they will come,” he tells Tran. “Otherwise, people don’t want to wear something that’s not good. In my instances, we’ve never gone out to anybody. Everyone that I’ve dressed, every opportunity that I’ve received, I’ve not personally gone out for those — they’ve always come to me.”
It was Kardashian, Lo Sordo says, who was his first-ever big-name celebrity endorsement. Years ago, when Kardashian had visited Australia with her then-best friend Paris Hilton, she’d tweeted, “What are some Australian brands I should be looking at?”. Kardashian not only ended up wearing a Michael Lo Sordo dress, but she tweeted a credit to the label, too.
“It gives a brand validation,” says Lo Sordo. “It gives them relevance and it gives them the platform. It just thrusts you into this limelight, which was amazing. We saw immediate sales from that and immediate brand awareness. People that didn’t know Michael Lo Sordo back then, then they knew about Michael Lo Sordo. It was the perfect gift that anyone could ever receive in fashion.”
Also in the episode, Tran asks Molly Bernard, best known for playing character Lauren Heller on Younger, how she feels about using her platform to support brands and causes. Bernard says her dream cause to get involved with would be the Hetrick-Martin Institute (HMI), an organisation in the US that helps LGBTQI+ youth reach their full potential by assisting with housing, legal fees and mental health.
“As far as brands go, I’m high-brow, low-brow, right?” Bernard says. “I’m all for causes and I want to be an anti-capitalist, and I want to march into the sunset and have everyone be happy and be free, and I always want a Rimowa suitcase. […] I’ll be a partner.”
In addition to spilling her ideal brand and cause endorsements, Bernard also shares with Tran the hurdles she’s now having to jump through to continue her career as an actor after Younger, as well as how she’s trying to be strategic in her career. She says she initially booked her role on Younger when it was still a pilot and she was fresh out of drama school.
“As much of a boon as that was — it started my career, it’s a gift,” she says. “It’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me. The only downside to that is that now that I have seven years of this series under my belt, I never had [a bunch of rejection] at the beginning of my career. Now I’m learning what it is to hustle.”
Bernard says she’s sometimes doing up to two auditions per day, and that she’s getting so close to getting the next job, but calls finding it an art. To listen to Tran’s full chat with Michael Lo Sordo and Molly Bernard, hit play below.