Bloggers were on the rise this season—front row and backstage—and critics took notice. “Here is the verdict from cyberspace,” International Herald Tribune fashion scribe Suzy Menkes said, tallying: “Balenciaga, 41 Twitters in an hour after the show; and in the same time, Balmain, 75.” The blog, a modern-day forum for conveying personal opinions, has given rise to a number of star bloggers that collectively boast thousands of followers. Manila-based Bryan Boy, 22, mused on his site, after Milan and en route to Paris: “I’m excited to see what invites I get. So far I have Bruno Pieters, Chloé and Louis Vuitton in the bag, Gareth Pugh’s after party.” Marc Jacobs even created an ostrich handbag named The BB in Boy’s honor.
In Milan, Dolce & Gabbana posted three pre-show video diaries on YouTube and the house blog Swide.com, offering behind-the-scenes footage of preparations for the spring collection. The designers also streamed the backstage prep live on 28 monitors at the show itself and on their Web site, and put bloggers including the Sartorialist’s Scott Schuman, Garance Doré of Garancedore.fr, Tommy Ton of Jakandjil.com and Bryan Boy front row, at the expense of some retail heavyweights.
“What people think of us interests me, as does knowing what they are like,” Stefano Gabbana said before the show. “It’s a dialogue. It isn’t one way.”
Veteran blogger Susanna Lau, also known as Susie Bubble, a longtime front-row fixture at London Fashion Week, crossed the Channel this season for a front-row pew at Chanel. “Fashion companies/brands/labels have given bloggers a modicum of exposure by collaborating with them on different levels (e.g., Garance Doré with Gap…). The media has also played their part in exposing bloggers to a wider audience,” said Lau. Style Bubble has become one of the most widely read fashion blogs, receiving 20,000 hits a day. “I don’t do anything proactive to drive traffic or ‘create hype’….It should be a fairly organic process,” said Lau. “[Brands] are realizing that bloggers are speaking to potential customers.