See Which Luxury Brands This Season Are Jumping into China’s Social Media Bandwagon Trend and Those Who Are Ignoring It.
This season we’ve been experiencing social media supermodel/celeb phenomenons bombarding our social media pages to runway hits and key accessory “IT” pieces and fashion trends leading the platforms with global A-Listers.
Here are examples of top three global brands which are either fully immersed into China’s or the Global Social media trend and those who have chosen to ignore it and discover their results!
- All White in Balenciaga
ZOË KRAVITZ & ANNA EWERS STAR IN BALENCIAGA SS16
SS16 was head designer Alexander Wang’s last collection with Balenciaga; a key ending milestone for the designer. Balenciaga is known for it’s innovative cuts, shapes and materials; this season, Wang surprised us with a contrasting mood to the brand’s DNA, a very romantic, soft, and ultra feminine collection. An all white loungewear, delicate, and modest collection was showcased as if to create a « clean slate » for the subsequent designer who will take over the French luxury house. Off white Ivory, cream and vanilla pallets were the main tones of the collection large ruffles, silk ribbons, satin and lace suits and crisp cotton dresses were mainly showcased.
Zoe Kravitz (daughter of musician Lenny Kravitz) starred as global BA for the SS16 campaign as well as walking the show in a long floral transparent lace embroided white dress. No need to say more, this clearly showcases an obvious strategy for a Global marketing plan rather than targeting the Chinese consumer. Moreover, seeing from its collections, shows, social media platforms, and campaigns Balenciaga seems to be quite on the down low recently where we haven’t received any new major call outs since 2014 when Alexander Wang brought Balenciaga in Beijing to create a 13 custom look exclusively for the Chinese Market and grand exhibition. Moreover, quite bland product information is showcased on their Chinese SM platform not giving any valuable incentives for fans/audience to review or interact with their platforms.
Unfortunately, today the brand is also mainly known for it’s motorcycled studded handbags, La Lariat, created by Nicolas Ghesquière (previous head designer of the brand) where only commercial tweaks and revision of the product is created and shown on Social Media.
Why is there such a stomp on Balenciaga’s SM? There are no direct answers, however, the significant high profile plummeting in sales of the Kering group for 2015 and the maybe “soon to be” creative revamp of the brand has influenced highly the current decision making and direction of the brand. Moreover, Alexander Wang’s leave at Kering group also left a significant mark on the French brand’s direction where new strategies, collection architecture and campaign directions will be created with the new Creative Director/Head Designer on board. This leads us to a contrasting brand who is a Social Media Global phenomenon and not excluding China’s SM.
“Alexander Wang running down his last show like if it was his last day of school” – Vogue
2. THE MOSCHINO PROPAGANDA
We can call it the PROPAGANDA Moschino Phenomenon. Creative director Jeremy Scott never stops surprising us with his new flamboyant collections, going from McDonald’s, Plastics Barbie, to this seasons under construction/car wash theme and fall/winter 16/17 Smoking Kills collection.
This season Scott showcases women under an environment looked upon society as more ‘manly’ and creating a hyper feminine twist around it was a symbol of Girl Power giving back strength to the women even if she is hyper feminine.
Continuous novelty, playfulness, entertainment and hyping it up to the max are the first things that come to my mind when I think of a Moschino show and also what triggers the hard buttons of China’s digital Millennials.
Chinese consumers have an ever growing desire of standing out of the crowd; due to the communist / Mao Era where people were restricted to dark shades and uniforms, forced to “fit inside the box” only. Today Chinese consumers of diverse ages strive to purchase goods to express themselves. Gen Y’s consumers are interested to all international brands from Gucci to Forever 21 and H&M where they strongly identify themselves through branding.
The need for Freedom, Power, Success, Wealth, Appearance and the “Nowness” of time are key factors that the modern consumer of China aspires to have which also reflects in Moschino’s creations and branding.
Moreover, creating a social media phenomenon, Jeremy Scott created the ultimate Pop accessory for this season that all Bloggers and Fashion Media around the world can’t seem to get enough about;
The Moschino Fresh Couture Perfume and Iphone case can almost be considered as a social media monopoly for the past months. With the pop culture chic housewife Windex look and Moschino’s SS16 fresh take on summer is simply another natural winner for the Chinese consumer and audience (along for Moschino’s previous impractical statement cases which have been a major hit in China- Rabbit Case, Bling Logo Case, Pink Mirror etc.).
Moschino’s shoppable capsule collection is so hot that when it applied its – See now, Buy now– new business model last seasons and this season, both capsule collections sold out in only within a few minutes online.
Source: Hollywood reporter and Harpers Bazaar
The elevated social media hype through A-list celebrities, bloggers, and IT Girls, the exaggerated bling and “cuteness” of Moschino’s accessories, American pop culture, along with the desperate need of standing out of the crowd for Chinese Millennials/Gen Y are major key “need” factors for the young consumer that can be easily be grasped at 2000 RMB the case.
Ariana Grande ( right) , Chiara Ferragni ( middle), Katy Perry (left)
“I love watching American Soap Operas” says a Chinese Fashion Editor for Global Times
“I Love the American Lifestyle and What it stands for, I look out for many American Celebs in movies and I check out the Gossip news” – Chinese PR Account Manager for Luxury/Lifestyle Agency in Shanghai
Moschino Fresh Couture Perfume campaign with model Linda Evangelista playing a retro chic housewife
I’m definitely not saying that all brands should have a famous juxtaposition like Jeremy Scott’s, however because of Moschino’s natural blinged up DNA, Social Media and Bloggers were a natural activation for the brand which dramatically increased the brand’s awareness in the past years.
The last example is an Italian luxury brand that stays true to it’s DNA, but continues to revamp itself by leveraging on some of the top social media lime lights in the world.
3. VERSACE： Urban Jungle Fever for Versace’s SS16
For SS16, Versace invested in major models of the moment, taking advantage of the social media model phenomenon that is currently happening more than ever on the runways this season. Donatella Versace chose Gigi Hadid (15.8 Million Instagram Fans), Natasha Poly (545K fans), and Raquel Zimmerman (45K) as the face of this seasons icy SS16 advertising campaign.
Although not my favourite collection, the tribal jungle fever for Versace was the main theme; splashes of leopard prints mixed with yellow and green, uniform camo jackets, star studded lapels, Khakis, and officers look olive green jackets to toughen the look. And of course, to stay “Versace Versace”, all legs, form-fitting shapes were key, extra short skirts/shorts and high platform heels were paired with animal print pieces.
“I love you @gigihadid, you’re amazing! #TeamDV”. Photo: Instagram/Donatella Versace Sourced from Instagram
All photos sourced from the internet and social media platforms
We see more over this supermodel phenomenon throughout Versace’s FW16/17 and Couture collection taking Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner, Lara Stone, and Rosie Hunnignton- Whitely and others showcasing true model glamour that is highly idolized globally including China. This is shown by major Grade A media supports such as Vogue China; Gigi Hadid on front cover of April 2016 Issue, Kendall Jenner with pop singer Kris Wu showcased on Vogue’s China July 2015 front cover shot by legendary Mario Testino, for the concept of mixing the East with the West for social media, and Pyper America Smith for Vogue Me April 2016 issue. More and more of China’s Grade A and Grade B media are going towards the spotlight of social media trend, this is actualy their strategy as they also themselves are radically revamping their traditional business models to digital platform based instead.
Source, Marketing Director Vogue China
Currently with a 16% annual growth (YOY) in China for the Italian luxury brand, we are also forecasting some major PR activities for the brand in China this year as they recently partnered with conglomerates China Mind Group where they will be representing the Versace Residences based in Chengdu. The project is forecasted to be ready by 2017 and will be lead by artistic director Donatella Versace blending they key Italian style with Chinese culture. – Source Women’s Wear Daily. This would probably be one of the major luxury lifestyle integration and project hitting Chengdu’s HNWI’s where I’d expect this launch to be highly related to “Donatella Versace in China” Buzz, Fashion VIP Previews and Luxury Design heritage events that could leveraged on SM and Blogger/KOL Seeding.
In general, most global typhoons are hitting the right social media trends for the current moment, either because they are more prone to doing so due to their fast paced / trendy brand DNA like Moschino or that it’s a Celebrity Endorsement strategy like Versace’s.
We’ve also seen a direct sales strategy linking sales and social media together with the new business model “See now, Buy now”, where more and more consumers want products immediately, NOW! Online to Offline strategies, Pop up stores, Great H5 Wechat campaigns, interactive game sets, and promotional tool on China’s social media platforms are all areas that are becoming highly sophisticated in order to win over the competitive Chinese market.
Moreover, many brands both premium and luxury are now specifically targeting models according to their social media buzz range in order to amplify further their runway buzz on social media, this is really changing the impact and “rule of the game” on the model business today where models have now become significant bloggers/influencers that rule the international catwalks, it has also become increasingly difficult for models to pierce the market as a consequence.
In China, brand ambassadorship and big celebrity endorsement has been growing stronger than ever, both for sales and to reach a fast paced brand awareness, however for what concerns sustainability of an image, I think it can be quite arguable.
This article was created for FASHIONSTATEMENT Magazine (see below)