The new collaboration between Gucci and Balenciaga isn’t really a collaboration. The two high-fashion brands have combined their power in the name of fashion diplomacy.
On Gucci’s 100th Anniversary, Creative Director Alessandro Michele has honoured past designers, influences and themes. However, Michele has also altered those designs through a distorted perspective. Michele used the collection titled ‘ARIA’ as an opportunity to mess with expectations.
Rumors in the fashion world were spreading about an upcoming collaboration between Michele and Balenciaga’s Creative Director, Demna Gvasalia. However, it is not the traditional collaboration people expect. Michele has almost walked into the Balenciaga House to borrow staple symbols and designs.
Ultimately, Michele remodelled Balenciaga’s sharp shouldered blazers and hourglass suit jackets to his image. While Gucci’s logos were embedded on Balenciaga clothing, the design was also reversed. The classic Jackie bag by Gucci was decorated in Balenciaga logos.
The Inspiration Behind ‘Aria’
In a press release from Gucci, Michele describes the collaboration as his “hacking lab”. In his show notes he writes,
“an alchemical factory of contaminations where everything connects to anything. A place where thefts and explosive reactions happen: a permanent generator of sparkles and unpredictable desires…
“Crossing this threshold, I have plundered the nonconformist rigour of Demna Gvasalia and the sexual tension of Tom Ford; I have lingered over the anthropological implications of what shines, working on the brightness of fabrics; I have celebrated the equestrian world of Gucci transfiguring it into a fetish cosmogony; I have sublimated Marilyn Monroe’s silhouette and old Hollywood’s glamour; I sabotaged the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie and the codes of men’s tailoring.”
Initially, the collection feels like a paradox. As the high-fashion brands haven’t collaborated, they have essentially stolen the other’s identity. Now, Gucci and Balenciaga have gained more power in the fashion world than ever. The symbolism of moulding past and future together for Gucci’s anniversary has created unparalleled line.
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