Katie Holmes: fashion and beauty icon? (Evan Agostini/AP)

In the week that followed her sudden split from Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes started to put together the puzzle pieces of her career post-Wife-of-Mega-Movie-Star. She signed up for a couple of movies and committed to do a Broadway play this fall, signaling a more determined focus on her acting. But at the same time, she’s also been working to establish herself as a potential fashion and beauty icon.

Today, she took a significant step in that direction by confirming that she will be the new, and first, celebrity face of Bobbi Brown cosmetics. According to Women’s Wear Daily, she also will serve as “the brand’s muse and a full-blown collaborator.” Holmes will be seen in ads for the makeup line beginning in the spring.

Add the fact that Holmes & Yang — the fashion line that the former Mrs. Cruise launched in 2009 with stylist Jeanne Yang — will show its spring designs for the first time during the upcoming New York Fashion Week and suddenly Holmes looks well-positioned to become the next successful actress-cum-fashionista. That is, assuming consumers are willing to buy her in that role.

While her divorce from Cruise has undoubtedly been personally stressful, it has, crass as this sounds, put her in a strong position to blossom professionally. A lot of women — the kind who buy lip liner at Nordstrom and silky button-down blouses at Barneys — now see her as a person of strength, or at least of enough strength to extricate herself from a marriage in which, perhaps unfairly, she was often publicly perceived as subservient.

As for her fashion sense, it also seems pretty easy to embrace. Holmes’s style falls in the classically chic category, one that’s accessible to many women who may relate to Holmes, i.e., sophisticated adults who want to look put together as they dash out the door to day care. (Or at least sophisticated adults who can afford to spend more than $3K on a cropped moto jacket.) Vivienne Westwood she is not.

Speaking of dashing out the door, as the Facebook page for Holmes & Yang indicates, Holmes has taken full advantage of all the paparazzi and media attention that’s surrounded her. Every time she’s snapped strolling the streets of Manhattan, it’s likely she’s draped in one of her own designs, turning her into a walking advertisement for her company. (One wonders, however, whether Cruise will continue to wear Holmes & Yang designs post-divorce. A photo of him in an H&Y suit is still on the aforementioned Facebook page, where it was posted two weeks before the couple announced plans to split.)

Of course, Holmes no longer needs Pete “Maverick” Mitchell’s endorsement to succeed, or at least, that’s her hope. She’s clearly trying to establish an identity as a smart, classy independent and sexy single mom who juggles her massive to-do list while looking fab in a pair of sailor pants.

As Maureen Case, the president of speciality brands at Estee Lauder, which owns Bobbi Brown, told Women’s Wear Daily: “The girl next door has built a career. She has taken the bull by the horns and moved forward.”

Do you think she can succeed in the fashion world? And assuming you could afford it, would you be more likely to purchase a piece of apparel or a tube of lipstick knowing that Holmes had given it her celeb-fashionista blessing? Post a comment to share your thoughts.