Fashion / Fashion News

Rumours that were more than just whispers: Balenciaga ‘hacked’ Gucci’s 100th anniversary collection, ‘Aria’

Gucci Balenciaga

Just a few days ago, there was a buzz, unlike anything we had seen in a long-time around the possibility that two of fashion's biggest luxury Houses, Gucci and Balenciaga, were collaborating on an upcoming collection.

As Gucci was preparing to reveal its first collection of the year entitled Aria, WWD reported that creative director Alessandro Michele was planning on using the highly-anticipated show to reveal the collaboration. As we found out late last night, these rumours were more than just whispers; with the two Kering-helmed brands confirming their creative partnership with a collection that was truly one for the ages.


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And what a momentous occasion to unveil Alessandro Michele and Demna Gvasalia's latest work. Not only did it signal a new relationship for the brands, but Aria also marked the Italian label's centenary anniversary collection. While we certainly anticipated a showing of extreme bell-bottoms, oversized shoulder pads, vibrant block colours and some 70s/80s crossover magic; we were waiting with bated breathe to see how Gvasalia's heavy cyber and streetwear energy would translate through.

As Gucci phrases it, the collection represents more of a “mutual contamination” or “hacking” between the two houses; rather than an artificially curated blend of distinct DNAs.

“I have plundered the nonconformist rigour of Demna Gvasalia and the sexual tension of Tom Ford,” Michele wrote in his show notes.


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Continuing, “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.”

Staying true to the Houses' iconic horse-bit hardwear, Alessandro's interpretation of equestrian chic echoed through the collection. Layered leather harnesses, monogram riding boots, leather jodhpurs and luxe jockey helmets. While the connection was undeniable, the 94-look show never wavered on Gucci's penchant for drama and glamour. Crystal-adorned, silver-chain body harnesses, plenty of feathers and lace and to finish, an Oscar-worthy gown complete with a bedazzled anatomical heart purse.

As for the Balenciaga influence, Gvasalia's instantly recognisable silhouettes of sharp-shouldered tailoring and nipped-waist design shone through. Of course, Gucci and Balenciaga didn't sleep on an opportunity to crossover two unmistakable House logos; emblazoning a merging of the BALENCIAGA and the double-G monogram across blazers, coats and accessories.


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Last year, the Italian House joined forces with The North Face, with a collaboration that offered joyful monogrammed puffer jackets, anoraks, quilted skirts and knitted hats.

It may seem strange to some that two luxury Houses would team up together. But then again, it wouldn't be the first time Gucci has collaborated with another fellow designer. The brand has worked with the iconic Comme Des Garçon on more than one occasion. They first collaborated on a cult paperbag tote and then on a follow-up floral edition in 2019. Both went decidedly viral and sold out exclusively on the Dover Street Market Ginza. Prior to that, Gucci also worked with Comme Des Garçon on a limited edition scarf. So it is certainly not out of the ordinary for Gucci to team up with other designers.

Could this be the start of a lengthy partnership for Gucci and Balenciaga? Who knows. But if this first collection is anything to go by, there's no question that fashion aficionados the world over will be begging for more.

You can watch (or re-watch if you're like us), the Gucci Aria show in its entirety below. Lights, camera, action in its truest form.

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