Browse all

Did we just enter the era of branded weddings?

This weekend Dolce & Gabbana set a precedent that could be followed in the future

Did we just enter the era of branded weddings? This weekend Dolce & Gabbana set a precedent that could be followed in the future

Willingly or not, the whole world this weekend followed the unfolding of the Portofino wedding between Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker. The entire mega-star clan of Kirs Jenner and family, including the "adopted" couple of Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly, gathered for an Italian-style wedding under the auspices of Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, who, while denying that they had signed a sponsorship deal with the two, have «hosted» the event, provinding the entire wedding with a coherent aesthetic, dressing the bride and groom and the main guests, and even hosting a reception on a mega-yacht parked in the harbor. The event was, in terms of media value generated, as well as the sheer volume of both organization and media value, something pharaonic - a very important precedent in the world of luxury marketing, and especially from a brand that over time has experimented with new methods of marketing aimed at the ultra-wealthy such as the NFT collection put on sale for $5.7 million and the Alta Sartoria line that maintains a direct contact between the brand and the world's most upscale clientele through a series a made-to-measure service that also includes exclusive dinners and events around the world. Looking at the various outfits in which Kourtney and her husband were immortalized on the weekend tour with the rest of the family, one therefore wonders: have we entered the era of branded weddings?

The idea, come to think of it, is not quite as off-the-wall as it might seem: already during this weekend in Portofino, attendees are talking about a pop-up shop opened on the spot by Dolce & Gabbana at the same time as the festivities. But when you think about how the wedding photographer was Ellen Von Unwerth, how even the cushions on the motorboats were decorated with the brand's prints, how the hand of the two Sicilian designers was felt in the altar set-up unifying the entire event under one style, it becomes increasingly clear that organizing a celebrity wedding is perhaps the next step in the luxury experience a brand can offer its most prestigious clients. Trying for a moment to look beyond the aesthetics of the individual wedding, and focusing more on the nature of the event format, it becomes clear that even if a brand has never organized or hosted a wedding before, fashion brands have all the practical know-how, availability of talent and professionals to organize such events. After all for parties, shows and presentations in the various metropolises of the world, brands are already in charge of event production, from venue decoration to catering and bar service - the concept of branded hospitality is already something widely practiced by brands, the next step taken this weekend by Dolce & Gabbana was to put it all together: event organization, party organization, guest wardrobe, their own archive, celebrities. The individual parts of the whole are not new in themselves - but their sum is.

On the level of media value, it is clear that a celebrity wedding is practically a nuclear reactor of views and interactions. And this doesn't just apply to Dolce & Gabbana: just think of how much the wedding dresses designed by Virgil Abloh for Hailey Bieber and Giorgia Gabriele made the rounds on the web, as did those by Givenchy and Alexander McQueen for the two British royal weddings. Not to mention, then, how the ideal of the wedding in Italy has entered the imagination of the mega-rich around the world on the entertainment side as well - the last three episodes of the latest season of Succession all revolved around a grand, opulent wedding in Italy complete with garden banquets, bachelorette parties, and vows said in baroque churches in the Tuscan countryside. In general, however, Dolce & Gabbana's "hosted" wedding in Portofino opens a glimpse into the future: the time when fashion brands will start incorporating wedding planning into their offerings may not be that far off. After all, brands have already opened bars, restaurants, and hotels halfway around the world, sponsored concerts, installations, and receptions, the only difference being that a celebrity or ultra-billionaire wedding has the potential to generate tons of extra views and publicity as well as bring the brand's capabilities in front of the eyes of other, very rich guests. It wouldn't be a surprise if it came to light in a month or two that a billionaire couple, seeing Kourtney and Travis' wedding, asked Dolce & Gabbana to host their wedding too, thinking of everything from the location to the couple's outfits.