Milan Fashion Week Reinforced the Importance of the Experience of Fashion
What you will learn from this article:
Milan Fashion Week Story
EMV Evolution: SS23 VS AW22
TOP 3 Brands in EMV Ranking
Brands's Key Insights
The APAC market Insights of MFW
TOP 5 Influencers in EMV RankingInfluencers' Key Insights
After a subdued few seasons due to Covid-19, Milan Fashion Week reinforced the importance of the experience of fashion. The city came alive, with designers going bigger and bolder with production, parties, and performativity than ever before.
In an increasingly crowded fashion landscape, Milan designers are pulling out all the stops to stand out. A-List FROWS, celebrity collaborations, sex appeal, spectacular sets, and the return of the supermodel conjured up an almighty $117 million in earned media value (EMV). TikTok stars became a more integral part of the parcel — both on and alongside the runway — while K-Stars flocked to the frow after an absence in London.
The scene on the ground was buzzing. Crowds gathered outside venues in the hope to catch a glimpse of their favourite celebrity or influencer, of which there were aplenty. Many crowds were invited in. At Moncler, 17,000 people surrounded the iconic Piazza del Duomo in a performance that saw 1,952 dancers, musicians and performers fill the square with theatre for the brand’s 70th birthday. At Glenn Marten’s Diesel, 3,000 members of the public were invited to see his new vision for the brand, in a bid for “democratic luxury.”
Milan also marked a season of change. Heritage brands — with legacies of up to a century — hailed in a new wave of young designers to help steer their future.
Karla Otto and Lefty reveal the data, insights, and influencers that made an impact at #SS23 Milan Fashion Week.
Despite Milan’s fanfare, the visibility generated fell short compared to the city’s A/W 22 edition. This drop in EMV can be attributed to two main factors: fewer shows on the roster overall and missing talents, such as Tom Holland for Prada, who drove significant visibility for Milan last season.
MFW’s S/S 23 schedule was missing 22 brands, with Palm Angels off the roster, as well as several emerging brands like Ambush. With fewer brands this season, the total number of influencers and posts was expected to decrease overall. Furthermore, with Covid-19 still a concern at MFW’s A/W 22 shows, fewer KOLs were physically present. As a result, brands opted to recruit more celebrities across the globe on social media to post content urging fans to tune into the show’s live stream and create buzz online.
Though MFW’s S/S 23’s schedule may have been smaller, it did not lack in star power, as celebrities like Lee Min Ho, Kim Kardashian, and TWICE’s Sana helped bring attention to the event. The result was a 21% increase in engagement rates from fans, indicating that they resonated more with this season’s content than A/W 22’s. Ultimately, though Milan S/S 23 decreased in visibility, the impact made by brands was still substantial.
The top performing brands showcase a predictable story for Milan, although scratch beyond the surface, and a more interesting story evolves that showcases the imperative nature of influencer marketing in 2022.
The holy grail of Prada, Gucci and Fendi (both produced by Bureau Betak) remain an integral part of the leaderboard generating 37% of Milan’s overall EMV, however, each of these houses experienced a seasonal decrease, which is driving the overall % of Milan down. Although highly acclaimed by press, the brands were missing the presence of those who drove more media value throughout A/W 22. Dolce & Gabbana’s show meanwhile displays the validity of influencer marketing and collaboration to its fullest extent, with the brand’s #Ciao- Kim collaboration increasing its season over season EMV by 205%.
What’s most noteworthy is the brands who have welcomed new creative direction into their houses and are thus experiencing a re-evaluation from the ground up. This season, there were four new appointments at Missoni, Ferragamo, Bally and Etro. The most successful of which was Maximilian Davis’ appointment at Ferragamo, a young, London-based designer who has been ushered in to bring the brand into a new era, all the meanwhile generating a successful $3.8M in EMV. This trend of new-recruits follows the highly successful appointment of Glenn Martens at Diesel, who experienced a +57% seasonal growth with his show, whereby each guest received a collectable NFT - another trend we’re seeing emerge from the cities at large.
Perhaps the most surprising entry to this season’s Top 10 is Onitsuka Tiger, the 1949 Japanese sportswear brand which has since moved into the fashion landscape. A large portion of their EMV was driven by Thai actress @baifernbah, another influencer trend bubbling up in the ecosphere.
Bottega Veneta (produced by Bureau Betak), meanwhile, tells a story about the importance of social media presence and influencer strategy. In spite of being one of the most buzzed- about shows of the season, the brand reached 22nd in EMV ranking, overshadowed by strong influencer attendees in their mainly press heavy guest list (bar the addition of Kate Moss walking the show). Additionally, the brand does not have a social media account, making their success nearby impossible to track as a metric in media value.
Fashion brands are increasingly looking to capture the attention of the Chinese consumer, a critical demographic in the luxury market. Brands that catered to the Chinese audience throughout Milan Fashion Week experienced a skyrocketing EMV, with Chinese fans paying close attention to the activities of their favourite brands throughout the week.
Gucci’s innovative marketing mix drove much of the excitement around its newest collection during MFW. The brand led the pack, generating over $17 million in EMV on Weibo, China’s leading social media platform. Gucci’s success on Weibo was driven partly by its live-streaming of the runway show on the platform and by hosting a physical screening event in Beijing. Gucci brand ambassador Xiao Zhan also played a role in the brand’s success, posting a now-viral video on Weibo inviting fans to watch the live-streamed runway show. This video generated $4.9M in EMV or 28% of Gucci’s total EMV accrued during Milan Fashion Week.
Moncler and Prada, who ranked second and third, also personally addressed their Chinese audiences. Moncler appointed high-profile celebrity Wang Yibo as a brand ambassador leading up to the show, with the announcement generating $3.75 million in EMV on Weibo alone, 39% of Moncler’s total. Furthermore, the brand invited singer Na Yin to attend the show in Milan, which helped contribute to the buzz across social media. Although Prada
lost its most critical brand ambassador Li Yifeng just days before MFW, the brand was still significantly impactful online and offline. Prada’s newly appointed Chinese ambassador Chun Xia attended the show, and her presence helped to increase the brand’s visibility among Chinese fans in the absence of Li Yifeng.
Ultimately, as Chinese consumers continue to play a critical role in the global luxury market, it is clear that brands need to pay close attention to their activities and preferences. Those that can effectively engage with Chinese consumers via social media and other channels will be well-positioned for success in this rapidly growing market.
Download TOP 10 Influencers Ranking Here.
Surprise celebrity and influencer appearances on the runway were a key casting trend throughout Milan. While nineties and noughties fashion is experiencing a revival on the runway, so too are the supermodels of the decade. Household names such as Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Carla Bruni made an appearance at Bottega Veneta, BOSS and Tod’s, while the original socialite, Paris Hilton, closed Versace. Elsewhere, the allure of the influencer grows ever stronger; TikTok all-star Khaby Lame drew crowds both in and outside the venue at BOSS.
Perhaps the most impactful brand/celebrity partnership ever seen at Fashion Week was Dolce & Gabbana’s #CiaoKim collection in collaboration with none other than Kim Kardashian. As one of the most star-filled shows yet, Dolce & Gabbana’s venue was so crowded that cushions had to be removed to squeeze in more guests. Even more jarring was Carlo Capasa (the president of Camera Nazionale Della Moda- the body that oversees Italian fashion) was made to sit in the second row as a result - literally taking the backseat to celebrity. As fashion houses have realized how significant of a role celebrities and influencers play in generating visibility for their brands, the line between celebrity and tastemaker has increasingly blurred. Consequently, in the future, we can expect even more collaborations between fashion brands and celebrities as they continue to capitalize on star power successfully.
Mega influencers significantly out weighed other tiers, with less than 20% of influencers generating almost all of MFW’s total EMV, highlighting the power major celebrities have when creating visibility.
Micro influencers (10K-100K followers) were overwhelmingly the largest tier of influencers at MFW, followed by more equal proportions among Macro, Top, and Mega influencers.
This season, American KOLs made up Milan’s largest group of influencers, followed closely by South Korean stars. This trend reflects the growing popularity of Asian celebrities in the fashion industry. In recent years, Asian stars, especially K-Pop idols, have increasingly been invited to participate in major fashion weeks due to their massive global fan bases and their influence on trends.
During MFW, celebrity power took center stage. The majority of KOLs present were either well-known actors or musicians. Unlike in London, where models and the press were crucial figures for generating EMV, in Milan, big names and surprise celebrity appearances were central to creating media hype.
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