The front row is a global divided. Montagues and Capulets, Add Crazy in naked legs rather than doublet and hose. Between the two blocs – editors on the only hand, “influencers” on the other – there’s little love misplaced. Last autumn, American Vogue staffers branded the influencers “pathetic,” describing the process as “turning up, looking ridiculous, posing, twitching for your seat as you test your social media feeds.” The influencers hit lower back, branding their Vogue attackers as haughty and out of contact. (“Get back to your Werther’s Originals” become an especially preference comeback.)
We assume they are airheads; they suppose we are parents. So, to find out who’s right, I have arranged a process switch at London fashion week. Doina Ciobanu is 22, has 225,000 followers on Instagram (at the time of writing), and indicates a version, VIP guest, and emblem ambassador. Ciobanu grew up within the former Soviet republic of Moldova, wherein she began running a blog aged 16. She moved to Bucharest at 19 and now lived in London. So, for Saturday at London Fashion Week, I will do her task, and she or he will do mine.
My task is to write down approximately the suggestions. Writing to deadline frames my days, and the whole thing else – designer interviews, checking out up-and-comers, analyzing rising developments – has to in shape around that. Doina’s task is to offer online content, by and large, self-images with pretty brief captions, some of which might be organized in collaboration with labels whose clothes or splendor products she wears inside the photos. I am an expert; Doina is an avatar.
Julien Macdonald is interviewed through Doina Ciobanu.
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Julien Macdonald is interviewed via Doina Ciobanu. Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian
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The unstated style editor dress code is low-key. Black trousers and a navy jumper are quality. The goalposts have shifted during the last decade, as style week has turned out to be a greater public occasion-however, still. Today but, I am an influencer. So my first outfit is a brand new-season Gucci emblem T-shirt, Mih extensive-legged, floor-sweeping jeans, a checked Simone Rocha jacket with puffy sleeves. I even have introduced my own black Nicholas Kirkwood shoes and a cherry-purple Alexander McQueen bag that is many years antique. The outfit feels cumbersome, both literally (I can’t get the belt to sit down right, and I’m afraid of tripping over the hem of the denim) and figuratively. It takes up a lot of mental space being dressed like this.
I meet with Doina in a Pret near London Wall, across the nook from the Julien Macdonald show. She has come dressed as a journalist, in denim and a black sweater, together with her hair in a bun. But she doesn’t appear like a journalist in any respect, now not simply due to the fact, the sweater is a fancy one which Julien sent over this morning for her to wear to the show, however due to the fact she is 22 and, like most of the new wave of influencers, absurdly stunning. Imagine Kendall Jenner crossed with Emily Ratajkowski, and you get the concept: now not simply appropriate, however with a specific aesthetic, this is millennial catnip. Eyes disproportionately big, cheekbones defined even in repose; she looks as if an animated Snapchat filter.
Being Doina is a complex commercial enterprise. Brands pay her. An agent negotiates costs
Doina’s favorite book, she tells me, is Plato’s Republic. She reads newspapers in English – the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times – however, fiction in Russian. (“A lot of factors in existence, you can make explicit them better in Russian.”) Her lifestyle plan is first to build an emblem alongside the lines of Chiara Ferragni, aka The Blonde Salad, the 29-yr-old Italian influencer who has constructed a non-public logo worth an anticipated £10m, after which to turn out to be the primary woman president of Moldova. “I even have plenty of time,” she says. “I will try this first, and then, after I am forty, possibly I will go into politics.” I am forty-three. What have I been doing with all my time?
Doina greets the street-style photographers with kisses outside the display before obligingly recrossing the street if you want to get a higher shot of her arriving. And then crossing the street once more, which will get the shot once more. And once more, and once more. She does this eight or 9 times, permitting every photographer to seize the equal reportage-fashion shot of her, reputedly serenely detached to the lens. These pix will appear on street-style blogs; the photographers will tag her, so she will be able to locate and program the photographs.
Jess outside a show at London style week 2017.
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Jess outside a display at London style week 2017. Photograph: David Newby for the Guardian
Being Doina is a complex enterprise. Some brands pay her to model for their social media marketing; others pay her to advise their merchandise. An agent negotiates prices. “He appears at what a regular model could receive a commission, and at what a pinnacle superstar would get paid, and pitches me someplace in the middle,” she explains. A logo will ship Doina pictures or samples of a brand new season’s merchandise – it may be mascara or a chunk of jewelry – and “if I just like the logo and it suits my aesthetic,” she can select pieces she is happy to advise. But many posts are unsponsored, starring Doina in garments she has bought or borrowed. These improve her aesthetic and voice and construct following.