Choosing the right celebrity representative can make or break a luxury fashion house. And selecting the right power player to endorse your name is serious business.
The majority of luxury maisons today boast an exhaustive list of Western ambassadors. Chinese talent, however, has often been overlooked. But the tide is turning, as more luxury powerhouses pivot to the mainland, and partner with its soaring talents to generate local demand.
Across the fashion world, Chinese stars were in vogue this year. With the country emerging as a hub of fashion muses, the opportunities for homegrown idols to take to the international stage and cement their status as tastemakers are increasing.
Over the past 12 months, scores of China’s actors, athletes, singers and models have been snapped up by top fashion houses as ambassadors, hailing promising futures ahead for these talents. Below we take a look at some of the biggest alliances formed in 2023:
Kicking off the New Year in style, Louis Vuitton made its mark on China on January 21 by announcing Jackson Wang as its new brand ambassador. The Hong Kong-born singer has previously worked with Armani, Fendi, and Ray-Ban, having made his debut appearance as a Louis Vuitton representative during the maison’s Fall/Winter 2023 menswear show. With Wang boasting a huge social media presence (33 million Instagram followers and 30 million on Weibo, respectively), the partnership garnered a hugely positive response from fans.
Chinese actress Tang Wei, known for her roles in films like Lust, Caution and Decision to Leave joined the likes of actor and singer Chen Kun and South Korean football star as a global brand ambassador for Burberry on November 29. The darling of audiences in China, who has received various accolades, including a Cannes Film Festival Award, and has featured on Forbes China Celebrity 100 list, Tang will help boost the brand’s desirability in China under creative director Daniel Lee’s new approach.
“In terms of matching brand tone, personally, I believe Tang Wei is the most compatible Chinese actress with Burberry. With Burberry's current strategy of returning to classics, Tang Wei embodies the qualities that the brand seeks,” one netizen (@DerekLeMode) wrote on Xiaohongshu.
On November 24, Valentino announced Chinese actress and singer Yang Zi (also known as Andy Yang) as its latest brand ambassador. Yang, who is considered to be one of the leading actresses of the younger generation in China’s entertainment industry, joins Chinese actor Yang Yang as a representative covering Asia for the Italian fashion house. Yang and Valentino publicized their collaboration in a campaign featuring the Spring 2024 collection and the new Valentino Garavani VLogo Moon handbag, with Yang stating, “I find resonance with Valentino’s spirit of creativity and innovation.”
During its Shanghai Zhang Garden Lighting Ceremony on November 16, Dior announced the appointment of 26-year-old actor Yu Shi as its next brand ambassador and collaborator for its “Discover Me Pure” perfume campaign. After entering China’s showbiz scene in 2018, Yu’s appointment as Dior endorser sparked debate across China, with netizens voting for who was more compatible with the brand – Yu, or fellow Dior ambassador and actor Deng Wei.
On March 29, well-loved actress, singer and model Liu Yifei joined Bulgari as its newest global brand ambassador, after previously being spotted wearing the Italian maison's esteemed Serpenti jewelry collection. In 2020, Liu became known to international audiences for starring as the titular character in the Disney film Mulan. Netizens and fashion enthusiasts were pleased with the new partnership, with follower @chenaihe (陈艾荷) writing on Xiaohongshu, "This title is impressive, and she is one of the few Asian faces. Even on Instagram, there have been two highly-praised introductions about her. The goddess sister is truly remarkable."
On September 11, Versace named Chinese actress Rosy Zhao as its new global brand ambassador, following the appointment of Hyunjin from South Korean boy band Stray Kids to the same role. The Chinese actress made her debut as Versace representative at the Versace Spring 2024 runway show, with Versace's chief creative officer, Donatella Versace, praising Zhao's style and energy, calling her a "powerful Versace woman.” Over the course of her career, Zhao has frequently been spotted donning Versace gear at public events.
On October 26, acclaimed Taiwan-born actress Shu Qi was confirmed as Bottega Veneta’s newest face. She is the second Chinese entertainment industry icon to join Bottega Veneta’s star lineup since creative director Matthieu Blazy took the reins in November 2021. Shu Qi represents the label alongside South Korean rapper and BTS-member RM (also known as Kim Nam-joon). Recognized as one of the most successful Taiwanese actresses of all time, Shu Qi’s affiliation with Bottega Veneta is set to elevate the brand’s presence, and relevance, across the mainland and Taiwan.
Announced in conjunction with its Spring/Summer 2024 women's fashion show, Loewe unveiled Chinese actress and singer Yang Mi as global brand ambassador on September 28. Mi’s fame was propelled by her roles in Chinese Paladin 3 and Eternal Love before moving into fashion in 2017 in collaboration with Michael Kors. Mi’s appointment was met with a widely positive response. “Loewe’s innovative spirit fits perfectly with Yang Mi, who is constantly innovating through her profound work,” one user commented on the duo’s official Instagram announcement.
On April 7, Prada unveiled another of China’s rising stars, actor Li Xian, as one its spokespersons. The partnership was Xian’s second luxury endorsement within three months. He had joined Versace’s fragrance division in January, which secured him the status of "Triple Luxury Artist,” thanks to his existing ambassadorship with Cartier, which started in 2020. Prada has collaborated with Li Xian on several occasions, and his endorsement generated substantial online buzz. Twenty-four hours after the official announcement, the Weibo topic #pradaspokespersonLi Xian hit 300 million views.
Additional reporting by William Zhou