The Catwalk and the Social Media Hussle

Fashion shows nowadays keep journalists busy with more than just their moleskins and a pen. The lights dim and the show kicks off – smartphones are aglow, snapping, filming, hashtagging...anticipating every next moment.  

Season after season, the runway is becoming just as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the camera lens, especially with new social media windows like Instagram’s new feature that weaves together videos from live events, in danger of rendering Snapchat a waste of time.  

 

Philipp Plein Women Fashion Show Ready to Wear Collection Spring Summer 2017 in Milan

 

“These channels are a viable way to tell the story of a brand and to advertise,” said Carlo Capasa, head of Italy’s Chamber of Fashion.  “Like ecommerce, Italians will be slow to jump on that bandwagon, but they’ll get there.” 

At Philipp Plein’s “Alice in Ghettoland” show, for example, guests got to work as soon as they arrived and were greeted by a whimsical candyland that conjured images from Fergie’s “MILFVILLE” music video and “Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory.”

 

Philipp Plein Women Fashion Show Ready to Wear Collection Spring Summer 2017 in Milan

 

The music boomed and Fergie strolled by in a 1960s-era Ford Thunderbird; a marching band made a lap around the arena; Paris Hilton modeled and then walked up a three-story high carousel and whirled around with the other models on flying swings. The final touch to the spectacular was chronicled in the fleeting abyss of the social media realm: Plein announced that he was taking his show to New York, leaving Milan void of his bling bling circus – not to mention, the only credible party of all of fashion week.  

Guests barely looked up from their screens, as the entire spectacle seemed as if it had been staged for social media and positioned for the perfect money shot…but the clothes? Hardly remember those. 

 

Dolce & Gabbana Women Fashion Show Ready to Wear Collection Spring Summer 2017 in Milan

 

In a similar vein, bigger names like Dolce & Gabbana created an enticing set for their "Tropico Italiano" show, which was adorned with coconuts and white sand.  

In addition, to show just how important millennials are to fashion, Dolce & Gabbana sat them front row, pushing editors to the second. Names like Cameron Dallas, a 21 year old, who rose to fame on YouTube and has nearly 16M Instagram followers creating a hashtag frenzy – this is exactly the type of easy advertising brands are hoping for.   

According to a report compiled by comScore Mobile Metrix, video platforms like Snapchat, for example, are becoming more and more relevant and are no longer just for teens and social media geeks. The study shows that in the US, Snapchat is more or less mainstream: used by 14 percent of 35 year olds and over, 38 percent of 25 to 34 year olds and 69 percent of 18 to 24 year olds.

A testament to how bastions of tradition are changing can be seen in the fact that Italy’s Fashion Chamber launched its own Snapchat account on Sept. 21, at the start of women’s fashion week here in Milan.

“[Social media] is really crucial, especially from a commercial standpoint. But it is also an important tool in reaching the rest of the world,” said designer Stella Jean, who is well known for her vivacious ethnic fashions that are often hand crafted with the help of artisans in her maternal homeland of Haiti and Burkina Faso. 

 

Stella Jean Women Fashion Show Ready to Wear Collection Spring Summer 2017 in Milan

 

Jean’s Spring/Summer catwalk show visibly moved the crowd on Sunday.  A trio singing their own rendition of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” filled the vast 18 century ballroom of Milan’s Palazzo Reale with operatic verse and melancholy violin and, again, smartphones were ablaze to capture and share the most special moment of the week.

Jean's fashions were also social media spectacles in themselves – vibrant embroideries, jubilant illustrations, and characters reminiscent of the rice patties and flora and fauna of Myanmar and the rest of Southeast Asia.  

“Sometimes we don’t have the means to put on a big show, but what is important to me is to be able to touch people and make them feel something through art and culture,” Jean told NOWFASHION.

 

Read our latest fashion features and trend reports in NOWMagazine.

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