Dolce & Gabbana innovate fashion show by casting social media stars as models

Dolce & Gabbana has invented the first 2.0 fashion show by inviting the biggest social media stars to walk its runway at Milan Fashion Week for its Fall Winter 2017 collection. Dolce & Gabbana tapped 49 millennials from around the world who boast millions of Instagram and social media fans, transforming them into fashion models for a night. The stunt produced a show of global import with the power to realign the brand with a more youthful image.

Most of them are not well-known to the general public, but online they have millions of “followers”. Take for instance the 24.5 million fans who follow Chinese actor Chen Xuedong (aged 25) on Weibo, also known as Chen Cheney. Or the 17.4 million fans who follow American internet celebrity Cameron Dallas (aged 21) on Instagram, as well as the 6,7 million fans who follow Mexican influencer Juan Pablo Zurita (aged 20), and the 2,7 million who follow model Lucky Blue Smith.

These hyper-connected millennials have become a prize conquest for luxury brands, what Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana call “The New Princes”.

Having recruited these young stars to walk the runway, the brand’s founders also did not hesitate to concoct their own version of a glamorous youth street-style look, embellishing the collection with childlike accessories, no doubt a subtle nod to the tender age of their models. One look was topped of with a gold crown hat while other models wore cute stuffed animals, cheetahs and teddy bears, but which were really jackets and bags.

American singer Austin Mahone (aged 20 with 9.9 million followers) opened the show in an elegant three-piece suit, under a castle-like décor, singing his hit song “Lady”, before yielding the stage to the other internet stars.

They walked the runway in a friendly atmosphere wearing silk costume-pyjamas, altering between jeans with rips and embroidery, in looks that were casual whether paired with a classic coat, jacket or princely vest.

To avoid any confusion, the names and photos of the online celebrities were displayed on a large screen as they walked the runway, interspersed with the appearance of a few anonymous professional models.

The large cast that spans five continents also included fourteen women, most of them dressed in sexy designs in black.

It hardly mattered if some of them wobbled in their stilletos, since their posts also reach millions of fans, like Sofia Richie (aged 18 and daughter of singer Lionel Richie) or the Stallone sisters, Sistine, Sophia and Scarlet.

For the finale of the runway spectacle, during which Austin Mahone made repeat appearances, the social media stars gathered on the stairs for a final photo with Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana. An occasion to take one last selfie for immediate posting.