Gucci x Balenciaga Collaboration
Brand collaborations are at the crux of consumer culture. From Louis Vuitton x Supreme to Fendi x SKIMS, unexpected partnerships are continually reshaping the fashion industry as we know it. While some of these collaborations are criticized for being little more than publicity stunts, a select few are sensational hits. The joint Gucci and Balenciaga “Hacker Project” is a shining example of the innovation that can emerge when two luxury fashion houses unite in a modern day love affair.
The Hacker Project
“Ideas from a hybrid universe,” is how Gucci describes the Hacker Project. “Exploring ideas of authenticity and appropriation, Gucci and Balenciaga motifs merge to create new interpretations of signature pieces.” This hybrid universe is seemingly simple but actually complex, forcing consumers to confront their expectations of branding, collaboration, and design ownership, all at once.
As the Hacker Project narrative goes, Alessandro Michele is “contaminating” Demna Gvasalia’s bold Balenciaga designs with Gucci’s retro, feminine aesthetic. The result is underground edge met with floral whimsy… and a social media frenzy waiting to happen. While this collection signifies a new creative chapter for both fashion houses, it also embraces tradition. But, tradition with a twist. Gucci’s iconic GG monogram canvas – a staple since the ‘60s – was reimagined with the double-B logo. Instead of shying away from the logomania of recent years, the Hacker Project leans right in. And, in the spirit of some mind-bending fashion humor, Gvasalia vandalized a large tote bag with the spray-painted words “This Is Not A Gucci Bag.” Objectively, it’s the print and monogram mash-ups that make these co-branded bags the collection’s highlight.
In the digital, social media-oriented era that consumes us, brands are constantly seeking the next buzz-worthy, Instagram-able moment to garner attention. The Hacker Project is no exception. On November 15, the collection dropped globally at 74 physical spaces – including pop-up locations and transformed Gucci/Balenciaga stores. This physical dimension added another layer to the highly-anticipated launch, enhancing the contextualization of the collection’s theme and the opportunity for customization services. In select locations (and for a limited time only), purchasers of the double-B monogram bags can receive hands-on customization by a local artist. In New York, artist Jack Greer was there to tag bags with “THIS IS [your name’s] BAG.” For the bolder consumer, Greer was also there to graffiti shopping bags with the collection’s stand-out headline: “THIS IS NOT A GUCCI BAG.”
It should come as no surprise that Hacker Project accessories are quite literally flying off the shelves, with the most highly sought-after bags already listed as unavailable. But, Sotheby’s beat the hype, and a selection of (sold out) styles are immediately available on Buy Now. From the women’s Medium Tote Bag and Small Boston Bag to the men’s Shoulder Zip Bag (in both black and brown canvas jacquard), these timeless silhouettes deserve a place in your closet.