Chinese celebrities—with their requisite following of Chinese photographers and press in tow—are a common sight at fashion weeks across the world, and New York Fashion Week was no different this season. With two days to go, the flurry of presentations has seen many Chinese stars gracing the sides of the runway and earning coveted China market publicity for American labels.
This week, actress Zhang Lanxin (张蓝心) (who starred with Jackie Chan in the less-than-stellar Chinese Zodiac) made appearances at Carolina Herrera, Diane von Furstenberg, and Tadashi Shoji during the first five days. Sitting next to her at DVF were ballet dancer Hou Honglan (侯宏澜) and TV host Li Siyu (李斯羽). The list definitely doesn’t stop there: Li also attended Lacoste and Tommy Hilfiger, where she was snapped by New York Times street style photographer Bill Cunningham (whom she affectionately called “Grandfather Bill Cunningham” on her Weibo page). Chinese actress Jiang Xin (蒋欣), a star of the wildly popular TV drama about imperial concubines The Legend of Zhen Huan helped promote both Vivienne Tam and WeChat with her front-row presence at the designer’s show.
Meanwhile, the Tory Burch show seated “it girl” and key opinion leader (KOL) Zhang Xinyuan (张辛苑), who has about 1.3 million Weibo followers and is a self-described “fashion icon” with a “say-no-to-vulgarity attitude and oriental wisdom,” according to her official website. Actress Wang Luodan (王珞丹) was spotted at DKNY and Kate Spade.
It’s not hard to see the marketing possibilities offered to fashion designers by putting celebrities from China front and center at their global runway shows. Fashion shows based outside of China can gain valuable amounts of publicity through Chinese media coverage of the stars, who generally have their own massive social media followings as well. The attention can also help gain viewers for designers who are trying to promote live-streamed shows in China, such as Tory Burch this season.
Last season, about 15 Chinese celebrities appeared at New York Fashion Week, including not just movie stars, but also Vogue China editor Angelica Cheung. Appearances are often arranged by Chinese celebrity marketing firms such as MGI Entertainment and Huayi Brothers, and fashion weeks in Paris, Milan, and London also host Chinese mega-stars such as Fan Bingbing (范冰冰).
It wasn’t just American fashion brands aiming for China publicity during New York Fashion Week—luxury car brand Cadillac also got in on the action. On its Sina Weibo page, the American automaker featured a street-style-esque shoot with Chinese models Ming Xi (秦舒培) and Shu Pei (秦舒培) posing by a Cadillac in New York with hopes of giving the cars a trendy image at home.