Is it really a collaboration? Alessandro Michele "hacks" the silhouettes of Balenciaga in this new collection, celebrating Gucci's 100th year

The rumours were true: Gucci and Balenciaga have joined forces to release a collection this year.

We’ve seen streetwear giants collaborate with high fashion labels but who would have thought that we’d see a day where two of the trendiest and biggest luxury fashion houses, both owned by Kering, would come together for a special project?

Gucci debuted its highly anticipated Aria collection last night, where it was revealed that the creative geniuses Alessandro Michele, creative director of Gucci, and Balenciaga’s Denma Gvsalia had put their minds together to unveil a stunning collaboration. It also marks Gucci’s 100th anniversary.

(Related: Gucci Launches its First High Watchmaking Collection Featuring the Tourbillon)

The Aria collection was revealed through a film screening at the Floral Conservatory in Gardens By The Bay yesterday evening, with Covid-19 precautions in place and adhered to by all attendees. Little was known about what would unfold that night and cars were sent to pick up each attendee to send them to the location.

And, well, the suspense was worth it. Call me biased, but from the moment Lil Pump’s hit track Gucci Gang came on (and subsequent Gucci-themed hip hop tracks), I knew we were in for an amazing show and collection.

The runway show opened with a male model walking into the “Savoy Club”, in a nod to the London hotel where Guccio Gucci used to work at, dressed in a red suit. As the show went on, models walked down a long runway lined with flashing cameras.

So when exactly did Gucci meet Balenciaga on the runway exactly? It was a subtle appearance at first, almost a blink-and-you-may-miss-it moment; but it happened by around look three apparently. 

And then it became absolutely clear as Gvasalia’s touch was unmistakable and the Gucci branding was seen on models in Balenciaga silhouettes, on bags, shoes and more. It was a remarkable sight to behold.

But it was the combination of the logos on some of the ready-to-wear pieces that made members of the audience sit up. The reality of two luxury brands coming together for a collection in 2021 is both exciting and surreal.

Plus, the collection was a celebration of the equestrian world of Gucci mixed with old Hollywood’s glamour with a whole lot of sexiness. 

(Related: Exo’s Kai Partners Gucci For an Exclusive Collection Launching in Singapore in April)

(Related: The Gucci x Ken Scott Epilogue Collection is a Celebration of the Late Designer’s Floral Works)

But don't call it a collaboration. Or a capsule collection. Gucci's creative director Michele wants it to be regarded as a "hacking" of Gvasalia's Balenciaga designs. 

As Michele said in show notes: “In this sense, Gucci becomes for me a hacking lab, made of incursions and metamorphoses. An alchemical factory of contaminations where everything connects to anything. A place where thefts and explosive reactions happen: a permanent generator of sparkles and unpredictable desires …

“On this occasion, then, I want to honour my filial affection betraying the legacy that was handed down to me. Because the promise of a never-ending birth is only renewed through an evolving capacity. Crossing this threshold, I have plundered the nonconformist rigour of Demna Gvasalia and the sexual tension of Tom Ford.”

Call it whatever you want, Gucciaga, or Balencci—one thing’s for sure, this collection will likely break the internet once it drops and we’ll be talking about it for years to come.

The Gucci Aria collection is slated to be available in stores in September or October 2021.

Watch the full collection in the video below

© 2022 Tatler Asia Limited. All rights reserved.