Beyonc? Teams With Topshop

Beyonc? KnowlesBeyonc?, a business mogul who dabbles in music, has struck up a partnership with Topshop, a burgeoning British apparel brand, to create a line of stylish sportswear.

It?s a nifty bit of business all around. Topshop is growing fast with about 500 stores of its own and a bunch of shops-within-shops in department stores such as Nordstrom (JWN). The style, commonly known as ?athleisure,? is fast taking over the world?s runways as a bevvy of brands, such as Christian Dior, try to swipe a page from the Lululemon (LULU) playbook. And Beyonc?, well, she?s kind of popular too.

The arrangement, meanwhile, is interesting. When celebrities make clothes, they typically do it one of two ways: launch a small, independent label (see Victoria Beckham or The Row by Ashley and Mary-Kate Olson) or rent their name and aesthetic to a massive retailer via some kind of exclusive licensing agreement (see Ryan Seacrest suits at Macy?s).

Beyonc? has done neither. Her deal with Topshop is a 50-50 partnership. As such, it has the potential to be far more lucrative than a licensing arrangement and comes with few of the headaches and harsh criticism that accompany a skinny line of haute couture. (There?s a reason why Harvard Business School has written a case about Beyonc?.)

So why did the pop star end up in bed with Topshop? For one, she liked the brand already, which is saying something?namely, it has some fashion cachet. Secondly, it hasn?t really done the fancy-athletic thing yet (unless one works out in thigh-high ?snake boots? or a fringe kimono). Critically, House of Dereon, the fashion label Beyonc? works on with her mother, also doesn?t do anything that might be mistaken for sportswear.

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