From key influencers to Gen Z to Virtual Reality. WGSN’s Carlene Thomas-Bailey reports on all the AW16 digital innovations.
The time has come, fashion month has ended, beautifully as ever in Paris. From Chanel to Dior to Balmain the potential for social buzz was exponential, and to say the final Fashion Month event took over Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat is a bit of an understatement. But which luxury fashion houses managed to get their social media right and what are the digital lessons to be learned from this season? We offer up a #PFW social rundown.
1. Digital influencers are bigger than ever (aka The great Balmain hair swap)
If you thought that the reality TV turned supermodel era was on the wane, you need to take a peek at this image. 143K likes and counting, this image of Gigi and Kendall has racked up more than any other snap on the Balmain Instagram feed of the AW16 collection. Whether this turns into sales, we’ll have to wait and see though. While the collection went viral, the clothes themselves, corset and waist restricting style belts won’t be to everyone’s taste or comfort levels.
2. Willow Smith is announced as the face of Chanel.
If you work in marketing, sales or fashion, you’ll know that there is one group everyone is keen to capture the attention of: Gen Z. Chanel did it this week with the announcement at #PFW that Willow Smith is the new Chanel Ambassador. The 15-year-old spent last year racking up fashion covers- including her iconic i-D magazine one. Now she’s sealed her fashion status with this announcement. Why is this a savvy move for Chanel? Through her they can harness her social power, and her direct relationship with Gen Z, and while most of her peers can’t afford a Chanel purse, they can get the more affordable accessories and the brand can build desire with this ‘little sister’ consumer group who will grow with the brand, and buy more as they get older. It’s also a savvy move for diversity. Interesting to note, Chanel ditched the grand Instagram-worthy runway set this year, to reflect the sober attitude of the city and to bring the focus back to the clothes.
3. Balenciaga experiments with VR
We’ve heard it all fashion month, London and New York are doing ‘see now, buy now’ but Paris and Milan have shunned this idea, preferring instead to create magical fashion moments. It’s interesting then that Balenciaga opted for a 360 VR live stream of the show, while the actual recording was plagued with some technical difficulties, and there was no payment element connected to the VR, it does show that the designers in Paris do want to have one foot in the future.
4. Vivienne uses Instagram to declare love.
‘Over the years Andreas has taken over ever more responsibility and I wish this fact to be reflected in public perception’ – Vivienne’s explanation behind the decision to add husband and long-time collaborator’s name; Andreas Kronthaler to Gold Label. The first collection ‘Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood’ will be presented next Saturday at Paris Fashion Week. #AKAW1617 #PFW #VivienneWestwood A photo posted by Vivienne Westwood (@viviennewestwoodofficial) on
The autumn/winter fashion month always falls so close to Valentine’s day, so it was delightful to see this announcement from Vivienne, harnessing the power of social to declare a lovely moment, that her husband would have his first collection under his name. It was a sweet moment, but also an incredibly smart way to build a buzz around the collection.
MORE: Find out who won social media at #NYFW here
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