With fashion week coverage dominated by Gigi Hadid the most powerful brands are now to be found walking on the catwalks

The most powerful women of the catwalk circuit are no longer to be found on the front row or in the industry boardrooms – but on the catwalks themselves. A tiny elite of models who have become social media superstars wield influence and commercial clout the like of which the supermodels of the 1990s could only have dreamed of.

Milan fashion week has long been ruled by luxury brands, but this week a new brand leapfrogged Prada and Gucci to dominate coverage: that of 21-year-old Gigi Hadid, whose stratospheric rise in modelling is inseparable from the 23 million followers she has on Instagram. (To put this figure into perspective, consider that Donatella Versace has 858,000 followers.) This week Hadid, the star of MaxMara’s advertising campaign, walked in their catwalk show along with her 19-year-old sister Bella. The pair also starred on the catwalk for Fendi, designed by Karl Lagerfeld.

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