Fashion

Gucci’s 'hacking' of Balenciaga is a fashion power move — and finally available to shop

By Alice Cary

Gucci Balenciaga

Photo: Greg Avenel

Alessandro Michele’s whimsical retro aesthetic has been spliced with Balenciaga’s underground boldness, and the fashion world is here for it

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Four months on from the release of the stratospherically successful The North Face X Gucci collaboration, Alessandro Michele is back with another creative union — this time a surprise “hack” of its Kering stablemate, Balenciaga.

Gucci Balenciaga

Gucci Aria. Photo: Gregoire Avenel

To mark Gucci’s centenary year, Michele unveiled a collection “contaminated” with the hallmarks of disruptive creative director Demna Gvasalia’s work. In other words, Gucci’s Aria show incorporated a touch of Balenciaga attitude—and what *British Vogue’*s fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen predicted could be the “most bullet-proof merchandise of the social media-driven fashion era”. Shop the collection here.


The Hacking Project

The Hacker Project small Jackie 1961 bag

Gucci

SHOP NOWEUR 2100
The Hacker Project small GG Marmont bag

Gucci

SHOP NOWEUR 2200
The Hacker Project medium Ville bag

Gucci

SHOP NOWEUR 2600

After the show a simulated text exchange between the two creatives posted on Gucci’s Instagram Stories revealed where Gvasalia’s love affair with Gucci began—his first purchase was a bottle of Gucci Envy perfume he said was the only thing he could get in post-USSR Georgia. Michele was similarly effusive about the house in the ’90s. “Tom [Ford] is a genius”, he wrote.

Gucci Balenciaga

Gucci Aria. Photo: Gregoire Avenel

Michele’s whimsical retro aesthetic was spliced with Balenciaga’s underground boldness: a nostalgic velvet suit (Michele’s nod to the “sexual tension” of Tom Ford’s time at the helm of the house) opened the show, then several looks later, an emerald shorts suit was paired with a jockey hat, horsebit harness, sparkling choker and monogram riding boots.


The Gucci Hacking Project

The Hacker Project small Hourglass bag

Gucci

SHOP NOWEUR 1980
The Hacker Project GG sequin coat

Gucci

SHOP NOWEUR 8800
Women's The Hacker Project knife boot

Gucci

SHOP NOWEUR 1980

Pieces emblazoned with the names of both brands instantly set social media alight. The collection included a dazzling diamanté skirt suit covered with strips of “Balenciaga” and “Gucci” emblems, striking logomania blazers, and angular outerwear decorated with the Gucci monogram and layered underneath Balenciaga’s graphic font. Meanwhile offbeat hosiery/shoe hybrids screamed Demna.

Gucci Balenciaga

Gucci Aria. Photo: Gregoire Avenel

The hazy florals that were smattered across TNF puffers here took form as detailed botanical drawings, and bold psychedelic prints enhanced oversized waistcoats, jackets with equestrian buckle fastenings, and an all-in-one bodysuit.


The Hacker Project shopping

The Hacker Project jumbo GG jacket

Gucci

SHOP NOWEUR 2980
The Hacker Project single earring with symbols

Gucci

SHOP NOWEUR 650
The Hacker Project lycra top

Gucci

SHOP NOWEUR 1800

Silhouettes were accentuated by peaked lapels and stiff shoulders that have become Gvasalia signatures, and a sprinkling of kitsch glitter was seen throughout. Nods to the Georgian designer’s varsity motifs took form as Gucci-fied equestrian baseball caps emblazoned with “100”, and normcore Balenciaga corporate wear was given the Michele treatment with feather cuffs, frills and sequins. Gucci’s typically whimsical palette was punctuated by the occasional appearance of Balenciaga’s royal blue, plus a lacquer PVC dress (complete with a whip).

Gucci Balenciaga

Gucci Aria. Photo: Gregoire Avenel

There were also amalgamations of cult accessories from both houses—Balenciaga’s hourglass purse was covered with double Gs, while Gucci’s timeless Jackie 1961 was anointed with Balenciaga logo stripes. The jewellery didn’t disappoint either: one model wore a pair of curb chains adorned with the letters of both brands, while dangling septum gems, chunky jewellery and delicate brooches were the cherries on top of a kaleidoscope of looks.

The Hacker Project is available to shop online at Balenciaga.com and Gucci.com.

Originally published on Vogue US


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