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Fashionable streaming: The love affair between actresses and luxury brands

Entertainment platforms have become high-end brands’ favorite source of spokesmodels. Companies find performers from successful shows to be the perfect way to raise their visibility and win over younger consumers, who demand diversity and inclusion

'Euphoria' actress Hunter Schafer is the face of the Prada Symbole bag.Carrie Mae Weems (Prada)

Not even a week had gone by since the fourth season of The Crown premiered in November 2020, and the British tabloids were already valuing Emma Corrin’s talent at over €5 million ($5.27 million). And that amount was for fashion alone. At the time, the performer, now about to turn 25, was unknown even among fellow Brits and had appeared in just three supporting roles. But Corrin’s portrayal of the marriageable Lady Diana Spencer launched the actor to stardom and their popularity skyrocketed around the world; Corrin went from zero to one hundred seemingly over the course of one episode of the Netflix series. The Brit was showered with awards, including a Golden Globe, as well as luxury contracts. In 2021, Corrin starred in their first campaign as the face of Miu Miu, photographed by Steven Meisel. The actor has already done three such campaigns. Last March, they closed the runway show for the fall/winter 2023-2024 collection of Miuccia Prada’s other brand as a star model.

Actor Emma Corrin closed the Miu Miu fall-winter 2023/2024 show.
Actor Emma Corrin closed the Miu Miu fall-winter 2023/2024 show.Getty Images

“Emma has become a magnificent advertising asset in a very short time. Their agents must be receiving offers in the tens of millions of dollars. Their age, presence and chameleon-like ability to pull off all kinds of looks are a big draw,” image consultant Brodie Cooper, an expert with the US agency PRrppd who is frequently asked about such cases, told The Mirror. “Like Diana of Wales, Emma has their own style for dressing, which is what excites me about working with them,” said Harry Lambert, the performer’s stylist of choice, who also got the exclusive ready-to-wear firms to fight over Harry Styles. Now it’s Corrin’s turn. From Richard Quinn and JW Anderson to Valentino and Chanel, Ralph Lauren and, of course, Miu Miu (the actor’s appearance wearing the knit jacket and green knicker ensemble was one of the most talked-about of the recent Venice Fashion Show), everyone in the luxury business wants a piece of Corrin.

With an unheard-of audience in the billions and counting (despite the loss of subscribers in certain cases, on-demand platforms increased their views by 14% globally in 2022, according to the latest report by the specialized consultancy Conviva), it is clear why the new stars of streaming TV are also fashion stars. The unparalleled reach of their presence, amplified exponentially by their mastery of social media, and the inclusive nature of the shows on which they appear — according to Nielsen data from the end of April, these platforms offer the largest LGBTQI+ representation ever seen in the medium, with 2,777 titles to choose from — make them the perfect brand ambassadors amid the celebration of diversity.

In that way, the Corrin phenomenon is representative: in 2021, on Instagram, the performer came out as queer and non-binary, and became the first person who does not identify with gender conventions — Corrin responds to the pronoun elle — to grace the cover of Vogue, in July 2022. The fact that the performer also uses a binder, a compressive band or T-shirt that conceals the breasts, is more of a solution than a problem for many designers.

Hunter Schafer walks the Gogo Graham runway during New York Fashion Week on February 15, 2022.
Hunter Schafer walks the Gogo Graham runway during New York Fashion Week on February 15, 2022. Fernanda Calfat (AFP)

“She’s our heroine: a romantic, a young woman who imagines her place within her different fantasies,” Prada said upon signing Hunter Schafer as a brand ambassador a couple of years ago. A model before she was an actress — she has been with the Elite agency since 2018 and has walked the catwalk for Marc Jacobs, Vera Wang, Maison Margiela, Mugler and Versace — Schafer’s character Jules on the HBO hit Euphoria opened the doors of the fashion heaven that is Prada to her. Away from the catwalk, she is likely to appear in the front rows of fashion shows in Milan, London and Paris; she’s been claimed as a style icon by Marni, Burberry and Schiaparelli. Schafer represents the triumph of full-fledged visibility for the trans community, to which the actress belongs and for which she engages in activism. For red carpet appearances, the American actress, who will turn 25 on December 31, is styled by Law Roach, the most influential stylist in Hollywood and the creator of the phenomenal image of Zendaya, the leader of it all.

The star of Valentino and Bulgari image campaigns, spokesperson for Lancôme, ambassador for Tommy Hilfiger and, since March, Louis Vuitton, actress, singer and fashion icon Zendaya has a long-standing romance with luxury brands, so much so that it goes back to her days as a pre-teen Disney star. In 2014, she was the face of the short-lived Madonna fashion label, Material Girl, and two years later she was representing Michael Kors while experimenting as a shoe designer herself. But then again, it wasn’t until streaming came along and asked her to star in Euphoria that she cemented her status as the fashion industry’s darling with a ubiquity not seen since the days of Sarah Jessica Parker’s Sex and the City. Zendaya’s determination to take risks on the red carpet and her mini-photographic editorials on Instagram attest to her dedication. Her campaigns for the greater representation of racialized women are music to the ears of the current clothing industry, which, for that matter, still prefers them to be white television stars.

Zendaya is a muse for Louis Vuitton, Lancôme, Bulgari and Valentino Pink PP’s fall-winter 2022/2023 collection.
Zendaya is a muse for Louis Vuitton, Lancôme, Bulgari and Valentino Pink PP’s fall-winter 2022/2023 collection.Michael Bailey-Gates (Valentino)

Killing Eve’s Jodie Comer for Loewe. Ozark’s Julia Garner for Gucci. Stranger Things’ Millie Bobby Brown for Calvin Klein and Louis Vuitton. Money Heist’s Úrsula Corberó for Jacquemus. Elite’s Ester Expósito attended Milan Fashion Week as an influencer. And now there’s British non-binary performer Bella Ramsey (who was first seen at the age of 13 in Game of Thrones), a revelation in The Last of Us; in March, Ramsey attended Paris Fashion Week for the first time at the invitation of Dior. In May, Ramsey attended the Costume Institute gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (this year’s gala paid tribute to Karl Lagerfeld), holding hands with Thom Browne, the performer’s red-carpet champion, at the behest of stylist Fabio Immediato (who also works with Pedro Pascal, Ramsey’s co-star in the HBO+ series). The pattern is clear.

Actress and Burberry brand ambassador Jodie Comer poses in a dress from the Resort 2024 collection at the Spring Summer 2024 runway show.
Actress and Burberry brand ambassador Jodie Comer poses in a dress from the Resort 2024 collection at the Spring Summer 2024 runway show.Mike Marsland (Getty Images)

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