Every year, celebrities and their luxury brand dates go hand in hand to walk the red carpet at the Met Gala, arguably one of the most significant events in the fashion industry. These collaborations not only help attendees build up their fashion status, but also give media exposure to the luxury brands they work with. Chinese actress Yang Mi’s debut at the Met Gala this week, which was made possible by Michael Kors, comes as the latest example from mainland China to illustrate such a mutually beneficial relationship.


Yang Mi’s trip to the Met Gala turned out to be a well-designed marketing campaign for Michael Kors aimed at Chinese consumers on social media. Yang is currently a hot commodity among luxury brands in China, with a huge fan base among Chinese millennials. She was recently chosen by Estée Lauder to be a brand ambassador, and has worked with Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Miu Miu, and many others.


Main image: Michael Kors released photos of Yang Mi’s airport style before she boarded the plane to attend the Met Gala in New York. Above: Instagram accounts including Vogue China posted about Yang Mi.


Several days before the May 1 event, the official Weibo account of Michael Kors announced Yang Mi would be attending the Met Gala and released photos of her wearing Michael Kors clothes and accessories at the airport before flying to New York. The announcement immediately prompted reaction on social media—Chinese consumers have been already well aware of the significance of the Met Gala thanks to its controversial China-themed event in 2015.

The peak of the campaign came on the night of the gala, when Yang wore a tailor-made fully adorned black-and-nude gown, designed by Michael Kors, to walk the red carpet. A post on the brand’s Weibo account said the dress took approximately 500 hours to make and was made up of 540,000 sequins. Michael Kors also posted other photos of Yang and her interactions with the designer on WeChat and Weibo, attracting hundreds of thousands of comments from followers.
Yang’s Michael Kors gown has generated heated debate among social media users. Even though many commenters like her look, there has also been harsh criticism of the gown. One user wrote on Weibo, “First off, it does not fit into this year’s theme, and Yang is not the right person to wear it.”

This year, the Met Gala and Costume Institute’s spring exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was modeled around the theme, “the art of in-between”, to pay tribute to the high fashion brand Comme des Garcons and its founder Rei Kawakubo.


Chinese supermodels Liu Wen in Off-White (right) and Fei Fei Sun in Alberta Ferretti (left) attended the event.


Aside from Yang Mi, supermodels as well as Met Gala veterans like Liu Wen made appearances. Liu Wen wore the street fashion brand Off-White, and model Fei Fei Sun came in Alberta Ferretti. Liu Wen was ranked among the 2017 best-dressed celebrities during the Met Gala this year by Vogue.

Despite mixed reviews on social media, Yang Mi has no doubt boosted her position in China’s fashion circles through attending this event. Michael Kors also leveraged Yang’s influence to further market toward Chinese consumers. As one user said, “even though Yang’s gown looks a bit strange on her, she looks great in the new Michael Kors clothes. I hope to buy them now!”


Originally posted on Jing Daily 

About the author

Yiling Pan

Associate Editor , Jing Daily

Yiling (Sienna) Pan is Associate Editor for Jing Daily. She started her journalism career at Reuters' Shanghai Bureau in 2014, where she reported on China’s financial markets and economy. She is passionate about telling stories about China's current social, cultural, and economic transformation.

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