Dolce & Gabbana drones fly the catwalk at Milan Fashion Week

If runway models fear their job could be under threat from bewigged humanoid robots kitted out in the latest garb, then they’re looking at the wrong technology.

At Milan Fashion Week on Sunday, Dolce & Gabbana stunned the watching crowd with a memorable opener that replaced human fashion models with drones. That’s right, folks, the Italian luxury brand fired up a bunch of quadcopters and sent them buzzing down the runway, showcasing its latest assortment of pricey offerings.

OK, so the drones weren’t draped with a selection of stylish jackets and pants (perhaps next time), but instead carried Dolce & Gabbana’s latest range of quilted leather handbags as part of its fall and winter collection.

Around seven of the copters hovered along the runway, each one with a Dolce & Gabbana handbag dangling beneath it. Named “Devotion” and featuring heart-shaped closures, the flying bags made quite an impression on the audience, which, incidentally, had had no idea this was coming. In fact, with the show kicking off nearly an hour later than scheduled, the increasingly impatient audience had started to wonder if anything was coming at all.

The preparations for the surprise flying display turned out to be rather messy, with the unfortunate delay suggesting that the robot revolution isn’t quite ready for prime time. Not when it comes to fashion drones, at least.

There’s no suggestion that the human models backstage had gotten together to sabotage the flying display, but there was clearly a serious issue keeping the machines grounded. And it seems it may have had something to do with audience members’ reluctance to switch off Wi-Fi on their smartphones, a request made by the event’s organizers to reduce the chance of any interference affecting the drone flights.

“Signs and announcements in several different languages pleaded multiple times for audience members to turn off their personal Wi-Fis and hot spots,” reported Fashionista, which attended the event.

Once D&G was happy with the safety of the airspace, the drones suddenly flew out over the runway. Several members of the 600-strong audience whooped in excitement as the machines, complete with propeller guards, made their way along the catwalk. A couple of people in white coats strolled cautiously about nearby, possibly ready to intercept any flyaways or administer first aid in case a major malfunction resulted in an unfortunate letting of blood.

But happily, there were no reports of any such calamities, and the drone show appeared to go off without a hitch.

As the quadcopters buzzed off, human models wearing D&G clothes hit the runway, presumably relieved that the fashion brand hasn’t completely done away with their services. Yet.