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Gucci presents the new collection Gucci Aria in collaboration with Balenciaga

Gucci Aria – the new level of hype

Gucci, in the face of its creative director, Alessandro Michele, decided to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the brand with a wingspan but got a little bit drunk and began to call exes. In this instance, its ex-competitor, Balenciaga to create the new collection – Gucci Aria.

It looks like a cheap Chinese counterfeit, I pondered, looking at the layered double monogram printed on a sparkling rhinestone fitted jacket. The “counterfeit” appeared to be a real luxury and collaboration (i-D magazine kindly asked not to call this great tandem “just collaboration”) of the two significant players of the luxury market and the brainchildren of a single conglomerate, Kering.

The Gucci Aria show was saturated with references to the history and the beginning of the company’s formation and homages dedicated to Tom Fords, whose impact in the 90s transformed Gucci into a synonym of glamour and made it the most desirable brand in the wealthy fashionistas’ wardrobes. So, the models were let out on the runway wearing riders equipment (in the beginning Gucci dressed jockeys), caps with “Savoy Club” captions (the hotel in London, where Guccio Gucci used to work before establishing his brand), and red velvet suit made iconic by Gwyneth Paltrow – a wave to Tom Ford. All of this is styled with jockey boots, nose rings, leather whips and floral prints. Guccio Gucci, Tom Ford and Alessandro Michele’s epochs were mixed in a delirious cocktail of styles, telling the brand history from the very beginning to a present moment.

This would have been enough to make a statement. But somewhere amidst the tinsel made of rhinestone, sequins, prints and monogram, there was lost another logo – Balenciaga. Alongside which the collection was diversified with iconic Balenciaga socks-shoes and hyperbolized shoulders. The notorious Gucci Jackie bag has been covered with the Balenciaga logo delighting the hypebeasts and fashion victims; meanwhile, the cult Balenciaga Hourglass has been in bloom with a signature Gucci print – Flora.

However, was it indeed necessary for brands that have been leading the luxury market in recent years? What was the reason for Alessandro Michele’s eclectic maximalism meet with Demna Gvasalia’s severe aesthetic of Russia of the 90s?

The fashion industry has bogged down in collaborations, which recurrent news about sometimes makes the eye nervously twitch. For upcoming collections brands willingly unite with artists, celebrities, cosmetic companies. Mass-market perpetually launches capsules elaborated by young talents, meanwhile, H&M runs a trigger for the hysteria of all fashionistas, releasing collections on a par with luxury brands.

Yet no one has ever seen the “luxury&luxury” collaboration before.

Prada and Raf Simons have become the only exception, presenting a joint collection in January, which made fashion editors and bloggers heads spin. If in their case, the collaboration occurred between the brand and the welcomed big designer, in the case of Gucciaga or Balencigucci (comment below which version you prefer the most), we have seen the amalgamation of two luxury competing giants. And that makes a big difference.

The fusion of two completely different DNAs, or, as the press release states, “mutual contamination” – is not an outwards to the new untilled fields. It is not an innovation, not a jailbreak from the habitual, and not a rejuvenation of brands, whose current creative directors’ ides make their founders spin in the coffin. This is just hype.

Hype because the placement of two different monograms on the coat will significantly increase the interest in it. Hype because owning the Jackie bag with a solid Balenciaga logo is doubly cool and will look swanky on Instagram. Hype because two fashion houses of the French conglomerate must make money and restore the budget after the coronavirus pandemic crisis. Hype because only this forces rival brands with distinct vision and approach to enter synergy – this is what everyone will be talking about, after all.

This is hype but very beautiful. And is also pretty genius – you know why.

Courtesy: Gucci, Les Facons