Thursday, March 15, 2007

Heart to Heart with Scarlett (from WSA Today)


LOS ANGELES (Mar. 9, 2007)- Scarlett Johansson's latest role isn't something you'd normally expect from the accomplished 22-year-old actress. Her newest project has her dancing on her feet. That's because, after signing a multiyear contract with Reebok last July, Johansson officially launched her very first Scarlett "Hearts" Rbk collection last night at Nordstrom at The Grove. The ‘80s-inspired collection, targeted toward young women, sports chic hooded tunics, Day-Glo track jackets, snug leggings and colorful sneaks.

At the event, Johansson kept things, as she put it, “short and sweet.” “I'm feeling a little bit under the weather," she explained to a crowded group of about 100 fans, reporters and camera crews. "It's really great to be here today, although not shopping this time," she said. "It's wonderful to work with Reebok because they are so forward-thinking.”

Wearing her very own Studio Sweatshirt in strato ink (a heathered light turquoise) with a pair of black leggings and her new Retro Aztecs in paperwhite with red trimming, she stepped onto the stage briefly, posing for pictures with models. With her hair pulled back tightly into a neat bun and wearing thin gold drop earrings, Johansson looked as though she'd just freshened up from the gym herself. She proudly told her models, "You guys look good!" Johansson also made sure photographers got a snapshot of the laser cut and embroidered logo on the back of her shirt was well, telling them, "Wait, you gotta see the back."

As much as the event celebrated her new collection, Johansson also took it as an opportunity to highlight Reebok's participation in the Million Pair March sponsored by Soles4Souls. "Today we're here with Soles4Souls as well," she said while greeting Soles4Souls founder Wayne Elsey with a kiss on the cheek. "Reebok has very graciously donated 2000 pairs of sneakers to Sudanese refugees." The shoes account for part of the 1 million pairs the charity plans to collect this month.

Elsey told, "Scarlett stepped up and said, 'Hey, I believe in this.' She wanted to give back to people around the world and she chose us. She specifically contacted my publicist. We're very honored. She has a huge heart for giving. She's really stepped up and is going to change the world." After making her short remarks, Johansson headed straight to an employee anteroom. There, she took photos with approximately 50 fans who had waited in line to meet her. Some had already purchased a few items earlier in the day. Yesterday marked the first day her products hit retail stores across the world.

If you're wondering why Reebok chose Johansson to be their latest spokeswoman, it's all about the right fit, said Uli Becker, chief marketing officer. Becker told, "If you look into collaborating with somebody you need a personality that fits with the brand. She checked off all the boxes and brought her own creative thoughts to us. This has taken her out of her regular context of acting and is bringing her into designing."

Becker, along several other top executives, flew out to Los Angeles especially for the occasion. "This is a big thing for us," said Eric Jew, directional marketing manager. Johansson, said Becker, was very involved throughout the design process. "Our female designers and she had lots of face-to-face meetings,” he said. “It was important to get Scarlett's ideas incorporated. She even speaks about seams on hoods!" Indeed, the seams on her Team Hooded Tunic are subtle, in contrast to its playful trim of satiny hearts. "She's very hands on when it comes to details," said Becker.

Much of the collection harkens back to the decade in which Johansson was born—the '80s—with its emphasis on soft jersey knit sweats, leggings and vintage footwear designs. The sole footwear design in the collection, the Retro Aztec, is an updated version of Reebok's very first running shoe. "Reebok has a long history of being relevant with the female consumer," Becker said. "Nothing with regard to the female consumer will ever be left out." Jew added, "For a while, Reebok seemed to be associated with hip-hop and such but now we're going back to our roots—trying to build back our business in women's fashion. Scarlett Johansson brings us into that world of athletic fashion." The Retro Aztec fashionably appears in blue, white, beige and red with shiny patent contrast trimming. For summer, it'll be available in gray, strato ink, blue and yellow. It retails for $89.99.

It seems that Johansson has already gotten rave reviews for her latest performance, too. When asked if she'd buy any of Johansson's wares, Katie Ward, 21, a visiting student from North Carolina State, exclaimed, "I would!" Elsey's 17-year-old daughter Melissa echoed her sentiments: "I love the new shoes and the long sweatshirts are really cute." Elsey, along with her friend Rachel Foglesong, 18, couldn't wait to meet Johansson backstage. When asked what she liked most about the collection, Foglesong replied, "I like how there are hearts on everything."

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