Asian Celebrities Dominate the Front Rows at Fashion Week

K-pop and soccer stars, actresses and singers — the fashion week A-list increasingly hails from South Korea, Thailand and the Philippines.

This season, when throngs of fans screamed from the crash barriers outside a Paris fashion show or jostling photographers and gawkers wielding cellphones triggered a commotion at a front row, the center of attention was rarely a Hollywood actress or British rock star. Instead, the most frenzied scenes — and online clicks — were ignited by Asian celebrities, whose dominance on the fashion week celebrity circuit hit new heights.

At Dior, Natalie Portman and Jennifer Lawrence, both ambassadors for the brand, watched as crowds went berserk for the pop idols Jisoo from Blackpink and Mingyu of Seventeen, both of South Korea; the Filipino actor and model Pia Wurtzbach; and the Chinese singer Xin Liu, whose fan army, clad in ice blue and clutching signs, later followed her all over the city.

The South Korean singer and actress Jisoo from Blackpink arrives for the Christian Dior show in February.Geoffroy Van Der Hasselt/Getty Images

The Chinese actress Yang Mi snagged a prime position between Michael Burke, the chief executive of the LVMH fashion group, and Pascale Lepoivre, the chief executive of Loewe. At Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton, the biggest screams greeted Rosé and Lisa of Blackpink; at Acne Studios, fans went wild for a shirtless Johnny Suh, the Korean American singer, flanked by the J-pop star Mandy Sekiguchi and members of ILLIT, the latest band to emerge from Hybe, an agency that represents K-pop acts, including BTS.

Similar scenes took place in Milan and at the Burberry show in London, where official brand ambassadors, including the Chinese actress Tang Wei, the Thai actor Vachirawit Chivaaree, known as Bright, and the South Korean soccer star Son Heung-min, were all in attendance.

Fashion brands have cultivated relationships with key Chinese and South Korean ambassadors for more than a decade. But in a volatile luxury landscape with a stagnating North American market, Southeast Asia has become increasingly important. Data from the consulting firm Bain & Company predicts regional sales growth of 4.8 percent in 2024, with Thailand expected to grow the most thanks to its local consumer base and tourism from neighboring Asian countries. Now many fashion houses are doubling down on celebrity partnerships from that region, especially with stars from Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

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