Gucci Dresses Up New Emoji App Backed by Shawn Mendes and 50 Cent.

The Italian fashion giant is the exclusive provider of high-end accessories and clothing for the new app.

Forget entry-level fragrance or lipstick purchases to build a luxury customer base; Gucci is dressing up emojis, Italian style. The fashion brand has signed on as the exclusive provider of high-end accessories and clothing for a new app from Los Angeles-based startup Genies Inc.

Launched on Nov. 19 with financial backing from Shawn Mendes, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and Carmelo Anthony, Genies’ titular app supports emoji-to-emoji chat among a target audience of 16- to 23-year-olds. Users can select from over 1 million combinations of skin tone, eye color, hair, clothing, jewelry and footwear to outfit their avatars.

In addition to testing whether luxury fashion brands can thrive in the virtual world, Genies’ 3D emojis powered by artificial intelligence also compete against Snap Inc.’s popular Bitmoji app. Moreover, Genies plays into Gucci’s ongoing strategy to emphasize video and moving images.

“If you think back 10 years, the way that luxury brands were advertising was essentially print campaigns that were created on a seasonal basis,” said Robert Triefus, Gucci’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “Today, the narrative that we’re telling at Gucci and the communities that we’re engaging with is essentially powered by digital.”