Host to luxury’s biggest brands, the Spring/Summer 2024 edition of Milan Fashion Week (MFW) is under the media and fashionistas’ spotlight.
The anticipated debut shows of Sabato de Sarno for Gucci and Peter Hawkings for Tom Ford, as well as the celebration of Moschino’s 40th anniversary, dominated online conversations as big-spending maisons shrewdly pushed to new publicity heights.
For instance, homegrown down coat label Bosideng invited Chinese-American Olympic freestyle skiing champion and global brand ambassador Eileen Gu to open and close its MFW show, marking her runway debut for a Chinese clothing brand. Gu’s video garnered 6.26 million views on Weibo.
By splurging on celebrities and influencers, especially Chinese ones, luxury houses secured millions of earned views across China’s social media platforms.
According to social media data and influencer marketing platform Lefty, 25 Chinese celebrities shared MFW posts on social media (Weibo and Xiaohongshu), generating a staggering $13.8 million in earned media value (EMV) in total.
In partnership with Lefty, Jing Daily’s KOL Tracker column dissects the impact these KOLs had on the conversations surrounding MFW and whether their star presence made an impression on China’s netizens.
Xiao Zhan (肖战)：
Despite being physically absent from MFW, Xiao Zhan, a 31-year-old idol commanding nearly 32 million followers on Weibo, helped two iconic Italian houses — Gucci and Tod’s — gain greater visibility on China’s digital channels. His Weibo post inviting his followers to watch “Gucci Ancora” received a total of 10 million reactions, including likes, comments, and reshares.
China’s fan communities continue to be key for brands looking to secure maximum exposure for events and new launches. During the pandemic, when homegrown stars couldn’t fly abroad to attend shows, global brands still found ways to keep the dialogue going with domestic consumers by asking celebrities to share digital show invites on social media.
However, it is clear that a star’s physical presence multiplies online results. Tod’s benefited from having actress Zhang Jiani and Chen Muchi in the front row, while Gucci saw an uptick in views thanks to supermodel Liu Wen’s attendance.
Earned Media Value: $3.77 million
Qi Wei (戚薇):
Bosideng wasn’t the only domestic down coat maker to host its runway show at the epicenter of Italian fashion. Taking over the neoclassical Palazzo Serbelloni, Yaloo Diamax dressed renowned actress Qi Wei in a glittering gray sleeveless down jacket, complemented by a dragon-whiskers-like hairstyle.
The innovative approach, which paid homage to Chinese culture, received highly positive reactions from netizens. With only 2,809 followers on Weibo, Yaloo Diamax is a new brand launched by down coat maker Yaloo that targets Gen Z. Founded in July this year, the label has quickly secured public attention by appointing Qi Wei and actor Zhou Lijie as faces of the brand. Averaging less than 50 likes per post, Yaloo Diamax garnered nearly 1 million views with Qi Wei’s post.
Earned Media Value: $1.37 million
Lu Han (鹿晗):
A former member of South Korean boy band Exo and now an actor and singer in China, Lu Han, 33, was one of China’s first handsome young male idols.
Although Xiao Zhan was missing from Sabato de Sarno’s physical show, Lu Han, alongside four other Gucci faces — Li Yuchun, Wen Qi, Xiao Zhan, and Ni Ni — filmed a short campaign video to promote the highly anticipated Gucci Ancora show. Lu, who commands 63 million followers on Weibo, appeared in a short blonde hairstyle, wearing a cozy Gucci wool sweater matched with a pair of jeans and a black leather satchel. The video attracted 8 million views.
Earned Media Value: $1.14 million
Li Xian (李现):
Prada has had a bumpy road with its Chinese ambassadors. Zheng Shuang, Li Yifeng, and Cai Xukun were all embroiled in serious scandals after being named ambassadors of the Italian house. However, despite the public relations crises, Prada has kept expanding and diversifying its cast of ambassadors. This includes partnering with China’s national women’s soccer team and many other celebrities, such as Chinese actor Li Xian, who boasts 23.5 million followers on Weibo.
Though the male idol was physically absent from the event, legendary Hong Kong actress Hui Yinghong’s attendance at the show sparked much online excitement. The past two seasons have seen a growing appreciation for industry veterans appearing on the runway alongside young idols. It is time for brands to reconsider their ambassador cast.
Earned Media Value: $1.13 million
Zhang Bozhi (张柏芝)：
The Hong Kong actress, who appeared in many drama series in the late 1990s and early 2000s, is seen as a goddess for her youthful appearance. Recently, the 43-year-old star demonstrated her continued popularity by participating in the Chinese variety show Sisters’ Who Make Waves.
By having Zhang Bozhi, alongside actress Zhu Zhu and Sun Yi, on the FROW, Peter Hawkings’ Tom Ford debut show grabbed the attention of netizens in China. Many users praised the beauty of the Hong Kong-based actress, who was dressed in a sophisticated yet minimalistic body contouring dress.
Earned Media Value: $982,000
All data insights provided by Lefty.io