When two historic fashion houses collide, magic happens, and it’s right here to see on Rodeo Drive
Words by ELIZABETH VARNELL
A little vandalism goes a long way for Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia, who personally spray-painted “This is not a Gucci bag” on a prototype tote meant to mimic the Florentine house’s GG diamond monogram canvas — save for swapping the expected letters to double Bs. The dialogue between the two brands first surfaced in April 2021, when Gucci’s Alessandro Michele debuted the Gucci Aria collection in a runway film, featuring looks riffing on Balenciaga house codes and silhouettes.
The dialogue between the two brands first surfaced in April and continues months later
Two months later, the Hacker Project continued with Gvasalia’s response, a digital showcase of his Clones line, complete with Gucci-esque leather goods. These conceptual interpretations of each other’s recognizable house signatures let both designers explore and interrogate ideas of authenticity, counterfeiting, appropriation and even the altered digital realities of our times.
This November, the arch collections arrive in Los Angeles, replete with Balenciaga’s double-B tone-on-tone leather goods and nylon puffers, and Gucci’s shoes, jackets and hourglass-shaped handbags emblazoned with the Balenciaga moniker. May the sampling continue. 347 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-278-3451, gucci.com; and 338 N. Rodeo Dr., Beverly Hills, 310-854-0557, balenciaga.com.
THE HACKER PROJECT
Creative Director: Alessandro Michele
Art Director: Christopher Simmonds
Photographer and Director: Harley Weir
Make up: Thomas De Kluyver
Hair: Paul Hanlon
MUSICAL VIDEO CREDITS – THE HACKER PROJECT
“GUCCI” Bree Runway, Maliibu Miitch
(Cleveland Bell, Henry William Durham, Victor May, Brenda Wireko Mensah, Ricky Taylor)
© Musicworks (BMI)
© Sentric Music Publishing ltd, licensed by Oyez! Srl
© 2020 Sony Music Publishing Italia on behalf of Sony/ATV Music Publishing Allegro UK
(p) 2020 Universal Music Italia srl
Contains a sample from: Gucci You’re Thru”” by the Gucci Girls
Courtesy of Essential Media Group
Feature image: Courtesy of Pablo Enriquez
This story originally appeared in the Winter 2021-2022 issue of C Magazine.
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