The fashion rumour mill was in overdrive this week with the suggestion that Gucci was collaborating with Balenciaga, which would mark a new era in high fashion tie-ups, well the rumours are true.
Balenciaga’s silhouettes have been given the Gucci treatment – think logos, crystal embellishments and branded necklaces.
Gucci and Balenciaga branding has been plastered across strong-shouldered coats and a sequinned skirt suit, while Balenciaga’s hourglass tailored jackets have been dotted with Gucci’s iconic interlocking double G monogram.
While it isn’t unusual for designers to launch collaborations with other brands, normally high fashion team up with streetwear labels and brands, such as Nike, Supreme and The North Face. Maybe this collaboration came about as Balenciaga is a stablemate of Gucci at Kering, and we could see more major labels coming together.
The collaboration was unveiled during Gucci’s ‘Aria’ autumn/winter 2021 show to mark the Italian fashion house’s 100th anniversary, with a film directed by Floria Sigismondi, in collaboration with Alessandro Michele in the imagined surroundings of London’s Savoy Hotel refitted as a nightclub.
In the show notes, Michele, Gucci’s creative director said that the collection in part paid homage to the former Gucci lead Tom Ford, as well as Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia, while also highlighted the label’s equine heritage.
“I have plundered the nonconformist rigour of Demna Gvasalia and the sexual tension of Tom Ford,” said Michele in the notes sent out after the show. “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.”
Gucci celebrates 100th anniversary with Balenciaga collaboration
The collection has a horsey feel, from voluminous jodhpurs to harness necklaces and saddlebags worn around the waist to paddock boots, equestrian jackets with exaggerated shoulders and cropped sleeves, riding helmets, and even jockey-inspired silk blouses.
The tailoring was a highlight with velvet trouser suits in teal and navy blue, suits for women featuring thigh-high side splits on the skirt, as well as suits fully covered in sequins. The brand’s Flora pattern was also seen in an all-over motif on a suit with added Balenciaga branding.
There was also a lot of exaggerated features, such as a cloak coat with large pleated sleeves, a vibrant pink jacket with feathered sleeves, and slouchy oversized knitwear with sporty cut-out and zip detailing.
The Tom Ford sex appeal came across in the eveningwear with feathered maxi skirts styled with sequinned bustiers, sheer lace dresses, bejewelled tops, and a striking gold pleated maxi dress.
Michele, added in the show notes: “Gucci becomes for me a hacking lab, made of incursions and metamorphoses. 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.
“On this occasion, then, I want to honour my filial affection betraying the legacy that was handed down to me. Because the promise of a never-ending birth is only renewed through an evolving capacity.”