From left: Wengie, the Merrell twins and Jackie Aina at a September 2018 Dior brunch.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: Through a collaboration with YouTube’s newly formed Fashion & Beauty team, Dior provided unprecedented access to a handful of YouTubers during Paris Fashion Week. Beauty and fashion creators Tanya Burr, Wengie, Jackie Aina, Dulceida, Lucy Moon and the Merrell Twins have been given the inside track to Dior. The new alignment is part of the brand’s continued commitment to digital innovation.

For starters, they were decked out in Dior for the house’s ready-to-wear show at the Paris Longchamp Racecourse on Sept. 24. The front-rowers had a bird’s-eye view of Maria Grazia Chiuri’s newest collection as well as the Sharon Eyal-choreographed dance performance. Hailing from Australia, Spain, England and the U.S., the seven influencers are giving Dior greater international reach. Combined, they have more than 24 million subscribers around the globe. The leader in that regard is the Chinese Australian Wen Jie Huang, better known as Wengie, a vlogger, singer and voice actress with more than 12 million subscribers. Rare Global Talent represents the U.S. contingency: Wengie, the Merrell Twins and Aina.

In a statement, Derek Blasberg, director of Fashion & Beauty at YouTube, said, “When I came to YouTube I was impressed by how many style-conscious, fashion-loving, beauty-obsessed creators there are on the platform. One of the first things I wanted to do was close the gap between top-tier luxury brands and our ecosystem of YouTubers, and Dior was happy to be one of our first, exclusive partners. The content these creators have produced has been compelling, in part because it’s genuine, and a great model of what the future of digital fashion media can look like. What I love about fashion journalism is telling stories: And that’s exactly what these creators are doing.”

In the City of Light, the YouTube creators also got an inside look into the fashion house, including a brunch at the Maison Christian Dior and behind the scenes into the backstage activities at Dior’s spring 2019 show. As for the runway, Dior’s newest recruits had a lot to consider beyond the clothes. The dancers’ costumes were also created by Chiuri. The four elements of nature were reinterpreted on the performers’ multicolored leotards, which were meant to resemble body paintings, “the placement of the motifs corresponding to the anatomy, the chakras and the energetic expressions of the dancers’ bodies as the sinuously strode and twisted their way through the petal-dusted space,” according to a Dior Instagram post.

Reached in London Friday, the Merrells planned to play tourists for a few days, before flying to central Jakarta for a YouTube fanfest. High on their list of things to do in the U.K. were Buckingham Palace, “Harry Potter” destinations, the London Eye, Big Ben and “taking some really cute Instagram pictures in some cute outfits,” Vanessa Merrell said. But Paris was fresh in their minds. Vanessa Merrell said, “When we were six years old, we went to Paris for the first time. But we don’t really remember much. So technically this was our first time where we could appreciate everything and the beauty of it all.”

As for any parental supervision during this “very fun, memorable trip,” Veronica Merrell said, “Yes, our parents are with us, We were able to bring them along. Our Dad is helping to film our vlog and we’ll be celebrating our Mom’s birthday in London. In Paris, we were able to bring them to the U.S. Embassy party that was put on by YouTube. That was really cool that they got to experience the glam lifestyle with us. We got to wear these amazing Dior gowns.” Her sister Vanessa continued, “They were so beautiful, just magical. We wound up meeting Maria Grazia Chiuri. I think I said her name right.…It was just a dream come true to be there and we felt like princesses.”

In addition to being YouTube “Streamy” award nominees, the pair will soon drop the holiday collection for their TRUE IMG label. The European runways will provide future fodder. Vanessa Merrell said, “We’re very inspired and we’ll post our vlog about our Paris experience — the fashion show, the brunch — and that will be uploaded Tuesday.”

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