For decades, the runways of fashion shows were populated by professional models whose relative anonymity allowed viewers to focus on the clothes, or so the thinking went.
But at a time when social media influence is at a premium for designers seeking buzz for their shows, that is less and less often the case. At Dolce & Gabbana’s men’s show in Milan on Saturday, a bevy of social media stars took to the runway. They ranged from music talents like The Atomics’ Lucky Blue Smith and Tinie Tempah, to self-made up-and-comers like Cameron Dallas and Luka Sabbat, to celebrity offspring including Pamela Anderson’s son, Dylan Lee, and Cindy Crawford’s son, Presley Gerber. Lionel Richie’s daughter, Sofia, and two of Sylvester Stallone‘s daughters, 20-year-old Sophia and 18-year-old Sistine, also walked.
The designers themselves celebrated the young men walking its runway with its collection, dubbing it “The New Princes.” And if there was any question whose attention designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana were hoping to attract with the show, each photo on the brand’s Instagram account bore the hashtag “#DGMillennials.”
“In this interconnected world where both access and exposure are more abundant than ever before, it is natural for some houses to implement new ways to communicate with their current and future consumers in a more radical marketing language,” says Vicky Yang, digital strategy manager of The Society Management, which reps such influential models as Kendall Jenner and Lottie Moss (Kate’s little sister). “However, it is important to recognize that such methods are not ideal for every label out there, and ultimately the authenticity of this language – in this case, the usage of influencers on the runway – must still be true to the spirit of a brand to be effective.”
This was not the first time the Italian fashion house leveraged social media celebs to grab the attention of young luxury buyers. For its spring 2017 womenswear show in September, Dallas, Sabbat and Smith were seated front row alongside other social media #influencers, including Jaden Smith’s girlfriend, the model Sarah Snyder.