Monday, April 18, 2016

#KenGi's Presence in Fashion

The fashion month just gone has seen the revival of many models’ runway careers. Julia Bergshoeff and Suvi Koponen made returns at Proenza Schouler and Calvin Klein Collection, respectively. Prada saw the return of Fei Fei Sun, Stella Tennant, and Sasha Pivovarova. Also in Milan, Versace enlisted Natasha Poly and Jourdan Dunn to help with proceedings. In Paris, at the H&M Studio show, Amber Valletta, Andreja Pejic, Freja Beha and Pat Cleveland graced the catwalk. To close out Paris Fashion Week, Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu show saw Adriana Lima, Anna Ewers and Lara Stone. The eclectic casting at Miu Miu was done by casting director Anita Bitton. Frankly, I don’t think it worked this time.

Sara Sampaio, Taylor Hill, Adriana Lima, Joan Smalls, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner are all Victoria’s Secret Angels. Alongside the likes of Alexandra Elizabeth, Frederikke Sofie and Julia Nobis, this casting appears as peculiar. Then you have the uncategorised Irina Shayk, Emily Ratajkowski, Bella Hadid and Lara Stone, who all have mega careers. The unsettling mixture left a bad taste in my mouth and had me reflect on one of fashion’s biggest problems: the Instagram moment. You can file this one under “major model moment.” In order to get some social media attention, brands need simply to cast models like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, two of the most in-demand models at the moment.

At the Balmain show during Paris Fashion Week, Gigi and Kendall swapped hair colours with wigs. Instagram and the Twittersphere were abuzz… A petty attempt at social media traction, if you ask me. They faux-danced at Diane von Furstenberg’s “experience” in New York. Gigi closed the majority of shows she walked in, as did Kendall.
The girls didn’t walk 71 shows like Lia Pavlova, 62 like Odette Pavlova, 61 like Lineisy, or 60 like Marjan Jonkman. But what every article on the #KenGi’s ever presence miss is that it’s not their fault. People seem to be subtly “shading” the girls so not to cause a social media maelstrom, an attack on the publication. They don’t walk the shows that would get them even more credibility, yes. They skipped the “breakthrough” stage in their careers, going from newcomers to supermodels instantaneously, yes. That is something that I have mixed feelings towards, especially when you see the amount of shows other models walk and receive a minute fraction of success. It proves how un-meritocratic the fashion industry is at times. It’s the brand’s that perpetuate the longing for social media attention that should be held accountable for any backlash, not the models. At the end of the day, models are there to complete the vision of the designer.

Two honourable working women, Gigi and Kendall do their share as supermodels walking in top shows from Chanel, Miu Miu, Michael Kors, Elie Saab, Giambattista Valli, Christian Dior, Diane von Furstenberg, et cetera. Both of the girls grew up wanting to become models. They’re living the dream. They defy industry opinions and detach themselves from where they came from—Gigi’s mother is Yolanda Hadid, a former Dutch model who currently stars on the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Kendall hails from the Kardashian klan.

At this stage we’re numb to the girl’s appearances. They’ve paved the way for a new wave of models that are #Instafamous. With a legion of followers, they bring brand’s a wealth of possibility. In the ever-changing fashion landscape, social media is just another element that brand’s need to facilitate. Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner will continue to see an influx in followers. The brand’s that hire them will see this too. Take a look at any major website that contains components of fashion or celebrity culture. “Kendall” and “Gigi” are emblazoned here and there and it equates to clicks, traffic and ad revenue.

Posts about the ubiquity of Gigi and Kendall prove another point also: the more we talk about models and trivial social media moments, we lose sight of the real reason we attend fashion week—the clothes. It’s a shame this time, because the Miu Miu collection was really great.

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