Kim, Kate, Paris: Harnessing Global Celebrity Power At Milan Fashion Week

This season, Camera Della Moda put on an impressive show. Whether it was Ferragamo’s rebrand, Paris Hilton’s Versace finale, or Moncler’s majestic 70th anniversary exhibition at Duomo, Milan Fashion Week’s offerings were big and bold. 

Securing public attention in the information era is increasingly difficult but the Italian fashion capital nailed it. At show locations, streets were jam-packed with die-hard fans waiting for hours to see their favorite stars IRL, proving that luxury businesses are still leaning on influencer (and celebrity) power to create viral content. 

Despite the lack of many Chinese KOLs, global players still managed to make an impact on China’s internet. Here, Jing Daily analyzes how these personalities helped to engage local and global audiences.


Mr. Bags posted a “plog” (photo blog) of his experience attending Ferragamo’s show. Photo: Mr. Bags’ Weibo

It’s a new dawn for Ferragamo. Maximilian Davis has taken the creative helm and the brand’s logo has been reimagined into Sans Serif typeface. A fresh pantone-registered color is codifying the brand’s iconic hue — 3546C, a deep emotive red that’s brighter and more youthful than its former signature red. Featured throughout the collection and venue, the new shade made a bold statement about the revamp of the Florence-based company. 

Chinese KOL Mr. Bags (6.7 million followers on Weibo), who flew to Milan to attend the show, told Jing Daily about his excitement for the collection. “I am a huge fan of the new Ferragamo,” he said. “The new creative director is full of talent and ambition. Not only were the ready-to-wear pieces very beautiful, but also the bags were so good. I can see so many of these having so much potential in China — both women’s and men’s style.” In light of this regeneration, the country could be a promising growth market for the 95-year-old house. After a sluggish performance over the past years, Ferragamo aims to usher in a new chapter.


Paris Hilton’s barbiecore look was a stark contrast to Versace’s other gothic pieces. Photo: Versace

On a purple runway lit by black candles, Donatella Versace hosted her Spring 2023 show, “Dark Gothic Goddess.” Black, purple, and neon dresses dominated the gothic venue, where a star-studded cast alongside models dressed as rebellious brides walked the room. For the finale, Y2K queen Paris Hilton made the most media impact dressed in a glittering fuchsia barbicore mini-dress, delighting and surprising guests.

According to the influencer marketing platform Lefty, Versace generated organic buzz on Instagram and Weibo, putting it in fifth place in terms of Earned Media Value (EMV) among the Milan Fashion Week shows: earning $10.9 million (77.7 million RMB) globally and $3.78 million (26.9 million RMB) locally. In fact, it was the only brand at the event to have the same ranking in both domestic and global markets. Despite the lack of Chinese celebrities attending and promoting the show, Hilton drove impressive online traffic for the Italian establishment in China. Perhaps this is because the renowned Hilton heiress enjoys a whopping 7.1 million followers on Weibo.

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce & Gabbana teamed up with Kim Kardashian for its Spring 2023 collection. Photo: Dolce & Gabbana

At one of the most crowded shows at Milan Fashion Week, thousands of fans waited outside the venue to see influencer royalty Kim Kardashian. The reality star and entrepreneur collaborated with Dolce & Gabbana to create the Spring 2023 collection named “Ciao Kim.” From body sculpting silhouettes to glittering dresses, she presented the wardrobe of her dreams. Devoid of almost all the duo’s signature bold prints (apart from leopard), monochromatic black, silver, red, and ivory looks filled the room.

Kardashian generated massive traffic for this show — as has her whole family recently. The runway secured $15 million (106.8 million RMB) in EMV and placed second among the top-performing brands at Milan Fashion Week on Lefty’s global rankings. However, in China, the name did not make the list. Kardashian is well known by Chinese audiences yet she has a limited Weibo following (227,000), and she stopped posting on the microblogging app in 2019. This partnership has received mixed feelings there, indicating many netizens haven’t yet forgiven (or forgotten) the luxury label’s 2018 controversy.


Chinese fashion KOL Yuyu Zhangzou helped amplify Ports1961’s social reach. Photo: Ports1961

Ports1961’s minimalist approach was clear from the first look: supermodel Bella Hadid in a somber black, tailored tunic dress. Taking inspiration from men’s wardrobes, artistic director Karl Templer brought classic menswear codes to the trademark’s women’s ready-to-wear collection, this time in more feminine fabrics such as tulle, satin, and silk. The goal? To blur the gender boundaries in clothing. 

Chinese model He Cong was spotted wearing a satin trenchcoat, which received an overwhelmingly positive reaction from netizens. Amplifying Ports1961’s social reach locally was fashion blogger Yuyu Zhangzou, one of the few who managed to fly to the fashion capital. As well as sharing the livestreaming link with her 3.5 million Weibo followers, the KOL posted her total look too. Clearly, the appearance of homegrown influencers and models at such events is driving impressive traffic for brands in mainland China.

Jil Sander

Pastel colors dominated Jil Sander’s Spring 2023 show. Photo: Jil Sander

Under a drizzling sky, models leisurely walked through brushwood holding doorman umbrellas on the Jil Sander runway. Apart from the odd red accessory, pastel colors dominated. As well as clean tailoring, this season featured fringed skirts and furry dresses that created sophisticated textures and movement. These new introductions were largely appreciated by Chinese viewers, who praised the creative duo behind the label — Luke and Lucie Meyer — for taking minimalism to the next level. Native fashion blogger @PiPiJuice commented, “The style is consistently simple, casual, and relaxed. The last fringed gown looks are stunning.”

The line has massive potential in the mainland market, where many young shoppers are choosing clean silhouettes over more ostentatious styles. As such, Jil Sander has accelerated its expansion in China, including opening a flagship store in the prestigious Shanghai mall JC Plaza in July. On Xiaohongshu, there are a total of 2.16 million related UGC (user-generated content) instances under the hashtag #minimalstyle.

Bottega Veneta

Actor Jing Boran (left) and singer Mika (right) helped drive social traffic for Bottega Veneta in China. Photo: Weibo

Creative director Matthieu Blazy handed Bottega Veneta’s runway space over to the 82-year-old Italian artist Gaetano Pesce, who turned the setting into a gigantic work of art. The venue featured a colorful resin floor and 400 one-of-a-kind chairs. The bright colors juxtaposed with the highly technical garments presented by Blazy and offered a feast for the eyes. The young designer returned to the heritage house’s roots, celebrating the country’s impeccable craftsmanship and proposing a quieter luxury offering. And his exquisite attention to detail was widely praised by netizens.

To the surprise of many guests and online viewers, iconic model Kate Moss walked the show sporting a seemingly classic everyday check shirt. The top was later revealed to have undergone a printing process 12 times to achieve the desired effect, while her accompanying denim trousers were, in fact, leather. Thanks to the model’s aura, the shirt has become the most talked-about item from the show on the Chinese web.

To connect directly with its domestic fans, Bottega Veneta hosted an offline screening in Shanghai, inviting local celebrities like supermodel Du Juan, actor Jing Boran, actress Zhou Yutong, singer Mika, and ex-girl group member Liu Yase. By leaning on homegrown stars, the Italian maison, known for its intrecciato technique, amassed an impressive $2.29 million in EMV (16.3 RMB) in China as per Lefty.


Fashion, Influencers