When Yang Mi, one of China’s biggest film stars, stepped out at the Met Gala with Michael Kors this year, it created a sensation. Today, that relationship with the brand was cemented when the company announced that Yang is the brand’s new ambassador, its first ever.
The news follows a number of viral digital campaigns that Yang has done with the brand that has solidified her connection with Michael Kors in China. The appointment also reveals the company’s ambition to expand in the Chinese market (the “most important territory for our company,” according to Michael Kors’ Chairman and CEO John D. Idol) by tapping the popularity of one of the country’s most popular celebrities.
“Yang Mi is one of the most influential trendsetters in China right now,” said Idol at the press conference. “People love when she wears Michael Kors and we’re excited to continue our relationship with her as our brand ambassador.”
Yang’s influence on China’s social media platforms will no doubt help the brand reach more consumers—Yang currently has more than 70 million followers on Sina Weibo, through which she frequently engages and interacts with her audience.
Even before becoming the official brand ambassador, Yang has stepped out with Michael Kors, the designer, to many international events. Her appearance at the 2017 Met Gala, wearing a dress with half-a-million sequins designed by Kors, caused a stir with the online community in China. More recently, the brand released an exclusive handbag with the actress to be sold this fall at DFS duty-free shops.
Jing Daily caught up with Yang after the press conference to discuss how she views her role with Michael Kors and how her personal style has evolved over time.
Jing Daily: How did your relationship with Michael Kors begin and why is it a brand that you want to represent?
Yang Mi: I’m really happy to have had many collaborations with Michael Kors over the past two years. I attended Kors’ fashion shows last year, and then I went to the Met Gala with him earlier this year. I feel that the ethos of the brand speaks of my spirit and attitude, and vice versa. To me, Michael Kors has a variety of fashion elements in the designs. Sometimes, it’s very streetwear, while at other times it’s high fashion. I feel that the brand wants to express an attitude that is unique but cannot be easily defined.
How was the Met Gala experience and how did you like your Michael Kors dress?
I loved that dress that Kors designed for me very much. It was a vintage style adorned with sequins. I personally had never tried that style before, so I was really excited to put it on that day. Attending the gala also allowed me to meet a lot of very fashionable people who I had only ever seen on the internet. That was a wonderful day and I learned a lot from the experience.
How has your style evolved since you first started going to major fashion shows and events, like the Met Gala?
Going to different fashion shows inspired the way I dress. Different countries and cities have different styles. For example, when I attended Paris Fashion Week, the women there are very elegant and wear extremely high heels. While in Milan, I saw a lot of men wearing bold colors. Fashion in New York is more inclusive than anywhere else. When walking on the streets in this city, you will see people wearing a wide range of styles, mixing and matching styles that somehow work perfectly on them. Over the years, I learned from others how to wear different styles until I formed a unique one of my own.
What have you learned about fashion and style through your collaboration with Michael Kors?
As I said, Michael Kors is a brand that’s inclusive of many elements. I wear its designs daily from leather jackets to hoodies. You realize how interesting and unique the clothes are when you mix them—whether it’s streetwear, professional clothes or more formal dresses. Michael Kors has expanded my idea of how to combine different elements.
You are famous for your “airport style.” How do you plan what you wear when you travel?
I come up with my “airport style” just like anyone else would: I “buy, buy, buy” a lot of products. And I love doing it. Many people think I may have other channels for managing my daily outfits, but I don’t. All the clothing I wear when I travel are my own personal items.
What is your favorite social media channel?
How do you engage with your fans on social media?
My interaction with fans entails mostly having fun and joking around with them.
You always post selfies that show only half of your face. But your fans have asked you to post selfies showing your whole face. What is that all about?
Yeah, they want me to do that, but it’s not something I started! I guess it was because my fans realized I hardly ever show my whole face when I take selfies and so they started asking me to do that.
Do you have any personal rules with regard to brands posting on social media?
They can post whatever they want as long as they make me look beautiful!
How is fashion week this time around different from other ones you’ve been to in Paris and Milan?
This time, I’m very happy because I can attend fashion week with my good friend Mark Chao. (Chao was Yang’s co-star in a popular Chinese TV drama “Eternal Love.”) I haven’t seen him in a while, but we’re often on WeChat. So I’m excited to see him in person soon!
This interview was translated from Mandarin by Yiling Pan. It has also been edited and condensed.