Gucci’s Fall/Winter 2022 first co-ed runway show of the year is “Exquisite Gucci”. In it, Creative Director Alessandro Michele’s most recent collection teases the highly anticipated collaboration with sports brand Adidas. It feels like a match made in heaven, Michele himself having a preoccupation with the old-school sportswear brand.

Credit: GQ

Alessandro Michele reveals that the Gucci x Adidas collaboration is his “long-time hidden desire”. Models glide down the mirrored optical illusion of a runway as if placed inside of a disco ball, a nod directly to the notion of metamorphosis – which permeates and informs Michele’s work.

An Attempt to Democratise Fashion

Credit: Hypebeast

Collaboration culture is an undeniable force behind the fashion industry. It has existed for decades. Take, for example, the infamous collaboration between Adidas and Avant-Garde designer, Yohji Yamamoto in their ‘Y3’ collection from 2003. Adidas x Alexander Wang in 2018. Collaborations help to define the (now commonplace) practice of merging fashion with sportswear. The appeal of marrying sportswear and opulence is founded in the paradox of cheap luxury. And further realised in the brand’s ability to breathe a breath of inclusivity into the often rigidly exclusive domain of high fashion via collaboration.

With 2021 announced as ‘the year of the collab’, 2022 seems to be following suit. The year is already rife with upcoming brand collaborations. These include competing sportswear brand Nike and designer Jacquemus. Thus, it seems there is no end in sight for high-low collaborations.

The Fan Favourite?

Credit: Hypebeast

The show takes us on a vibrantly nostalgic trip down memory lane as Michele unveils an ’80s sportswear-inspired look-book. Few symbols in fashion are as recognisable as Gucci’s signature two green and red stripes and Adidas’ three white stripes.

Michele is seen drawing specifically on the brand’s iconic and similar iconography – which appear to operate as elements of continuity in the apparel, shoes, accessories, headwear and bags. The collection features well-known and much-loved shoe styles. One of which, is the Adidas Gazelle sneaker, stamped with the classic GG-canvas motif , coupled with Adidas’ three white stripes. Another is the cult-favourite three stripped Adidas track jacket.

“Stripes and lines are incredible symbols” says Michele backstage at the show in Milan.

As for accessories and bags, models are adorned with leather bags, gloves and a myriad of hats. Even swim caps hit the runway, all prominently brandishing the three white stripes once more.

Collaboration successfully makes its mark as all pieces are deconstructed and imprinted with hybridised branding. This sees Adidas’ Trefoil print combining with Gucci’s iconic trim and re-coded emblems. According to the athleisure brand Adidas, the merging of both brand’s logos thus, “find synergy to amplify two legacies.” 

‘Anti-Snob Snobbism’

Credit: GQ

Alongside the runway pieces, there are a number of items yet to be seen and soon to be available to purchase on June 7, 2022.  With a price point ranging from $300 AUD to $5130 AUD, it seems collaboration culture hasn’t swayed Gucci’s hefty price tag. An umbrella from the collection embellished with the Trefoil print and signature Gucci trim retails for over $2,300 AUD. Thus, calling to question: can luxury can truly exist in the absence of wealth?

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