- Words Solly Warner
Gucci and Balenciaga just teamed up for a totally unique collection that broke every rule of fashion.
In what has been described as the start of a new era in fashion, two of the most pop-culturally relevant fashion houses on the planet have come together. Kicking off their 100th anniversary celebrations, leading luxury brand, Gucci debuted ‘Aria’; their latest co-ed collection and runway show which has been widely talked about due to its unconventional partnership with French fashion cousin, Balenciaga.
Ultimately only considered possible due to both fashion houses falling under the same Kering umbrella, both creative directors, Alessandro Michele and Demna Gvasalia, share a vision for re-shaping contemporary style by dismantling the traditional rules of fashion gone by. “Rejuvenation is the only way to make fashion live,” Alessandro said during a post-show press conference. “I wanted to take the dialogue to extremes. I developed a deep reflection on what I was doing, and I wanted to celebrate the brand, but also to look elsewhere to do something different.”
Gucci’s representatives were firm in making it clear that the partnership was not a “collaboration”, but a “hacking lab” whereby Alessandro lifted and united key elements from Balenciaga’s history and Demna’s image, with his own imprint. Throughout the collection, we saw Balenciaga’s exaggerated silhouettes presented with Gucci’s usual bedazzling finesse. Think square shouldered outerwear with crystal-encrusted blazers and hybridised accessories, all complete with skirts and leggings covered in full Gucci logo camouflage.
However, the presentation wasn’t only a “Gucciaga” monogram bonanza. Velvety classics from Tom Ford’s ear could be seen amongst the chaos, as well as harnesses and chokers turning usually buttoned-up equestrian gear into kinky, fetishy motifs. The catwalk was lined with walls of flashing paparazzi cameras and the show ended with a video co-directed by Floria Sigismondi. After walking to the soundtrack of every “Gucci” titled song that you can imagine, models paused in a darkened anteroom before being released into a magical forest where they frolicked with white horses, peacocks, and rabbits. Whatever this means, it looks fun, and it looks hopeful, a post-pandemic dreamscape.
Perhaps this “collaboration” was not so farfetched. Whether its Gucci X The North Face or Balenciaga X Crocs, neither are strangers to a big time collab, with both houses also ditching the traditional fashion show format. With Supreme x Louis Vuitton likely to remain as the most landmark luxury collaboration of our era, so called “unexpected partnerships” may soon become a thing of the past before we know it.