Who Needs Models? Drones Fly Dolce & Gabbana Handbags Down the Catwalk at Milan Fashion Week

When big fashion houses put on shows, they usually try to surprise and entertain what can be a pretty jaded audience. So when the legendary Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana showed its Fall 2018 fashion lineup during Milan’s Fashion Week, it decided to try something new: Drones carried its line of handbags up and down the runway for viewers to admire.

CNN reports that Dolce & Gabbana isn’t the first fashion house to use drones to model its clothing–Betabrand, a startup that makes comfortable office wear has used them too. But this is the first time drones acted as models for a high-profile fashion house. And there may be a reason other fashion houses haven’t tried this–things didn’t exactly go quite as planned.

The drones opened the show, which started 45 minutes late, much to the audience’s annoyance. Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour reportedly left in a huff, or perhaps went to find out what was happening and deliver a scolding over the delay, depending which report you read. The reason for the late start was this: To avoid interfering with the drones’ signals, audience members had to turn off their WiFi hotspots and Bluetooth.

This was an audience of 600 pampered, upper class fashion fans, journalists, and models, so Dolce & Gabbana shouldn’t have been surprised when they didn’t immediately follow instructions. All things considered, it’s a miracle that it only took 45 minutes to get everything turned off. The company did it by posting signs in many languages around the room, making multiple announcements, and finally calling out individual audience members who hadn’t complied.

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Once every potential interfering signal was safely disabled, eight drones emerged on the runway one by one, each carrying one of the the company’s red, white, or black quilted handbags. Audience members cheered, whistled, and pulled out their smartphones to video the drones as they first spread out and then flew down the catwalk in a line. 

Once the drones had completed their display, human models took their place, sporting the company’s angel- and religious-themed Fall 2018 fashions, and carrying the handbags with them. Lady Kitty Spencer, a niece of the late Princess Diana and cousin to princes William and Harry, modeled a floor-length dress–and tiara–at the fashion house’s secret show the evening before. But the drones were the stars of this show. 

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