Gucci’s ‘Aria’ co-ed collection kicked off Gucci’s 100th-anniversary celebration, however, most notably was its Balenciaga ‘collaboration’ or ‘Gucciaga’ as the internet have ceremoniously dubbed it. What Michele called a ‘hacking’, is in fact one of the most significant collaborations of fashion in recent memory, although he himself wouldn’t call it that. Like a musician sampling the hits of past producers, Michele took inspiration from multiple Gucci periods (like Tom Ford’s time at Gucci), and combined them with signature Balenciaga designs such as broad-shouldered tailoring, windbreakers and knee-high boots, which have all been reinterpreted in recent years by Demna Gvasalia. Where else could you see Tom Ford-era velvet blazers alongside BDSM-inspired equestrian gear? Nowhere, and that’s why this collection is paramount.
The major standouts were the co-branded blazers, fur jackets and accessories, including the celebratory ‘100’ and ‘Savoy-Club’ items, appearing more like Gucci merch than an actual collection. And who can forget the co-branded jewellery? Only Michele could take an emerald ‘GUCCI’ choker and pair it so elegantly with a ‘BALENCIAGA’ metal-linked necklace.
Following the show, a film was then presented, co-directed by Michele and Floria Sigismondi. Set in a nightclub, with models walking in harnesses and whips, the film compliments the celebratory nature of this collection. Gucci has just turned 100 after all, a party is in order. What is interesting in this collaboration is the lengths that Michele and Gvasalia have gone to completely re-shape fashion. Since their arrival, these two have changed the very notion of luxury fashion with their gender-bending, against-the-current designs that have become as iconic as the men who created them.
This fused offering is of course extravagant and beautiful, especially for those who love a co-branded hat or jacket, but does it show a sign of cultural exhaustion? Have these massive luxury fashion houses gone through so many looks and designs that the only way they can cause a splash is through a ‘collaboration’? In a post-show press conference, Michele discussed the idea that “Rejuvenation is the only way to make fashion live”. Is he right? Or is this just Kering’s way of indicating to fans that they will be creating their own fashion sphere, a sort of MCU for high fashion? Perhaps this is Michele saying that he’s throwing the fashion guidebook out of the window, ushering in an era of ‘screw the rules’.
The larger than life questions aside, luxury, at its very essence, is anything that’s desirable, and in the current fashion climate, collaborations and bold logos are indeed desirable. This move makes sense, because there’s no doubt these items will be sell-outs and I imagine we’ll be seeing them resell at unimaginable price points.
Michele presented a collection that flawlessly represented Gucci as a brand, one that can take heritage and propel that into the future. Who knows what Gucci will look like in 100 years, the only thing we know is that we’ll want to be wearing it.