The rumour of Gucci teaming up with Balenciaga for its centenary collection has turned into reality. Yesterday, the Italian mega fashion house launched a 94-outfit line-up, Aria, in a 15-minute-long fashion film, co-directed by Floria Sigismondi, a renowned film director who has worked with Rihanna, Dua Lipa, Katy Perry and David Bowie in the past.
For the new collection, Alessandro Michele, Gucci’s Creative Director, deep dived into the mood board of Balenciaga’s Creative Director, Demna Gvasalia. He calls this collaboration a hack of sorts, in which Aria’s designs are pilfered from Balenciaga, a fellow Kering-owned luxury fashion brand.
For luxury fashion loyalists, the Gucci x Balenciaga ensembles are a visual treat, a stunning throwback to the past 100 years of Gucci, which began in 1921 with its Founder Guccio Gucci.
In fact, the fashion film opens with a scene of a model in a velvety red suit walking into the Savoy Club – an evident tribute to The Savoy Hotel in London where Guccio worked as a lift boy in his youth.
The film captures the hotel set-up. The walls are laden with flashing cameras and the entrance is turned into a runway. The film instantly draws you into a make-believe vintage era full of haute couture and high jewellery.
The Aria collection sees Balenciaga’s oversized, angular and power-dressy silhouettes that breathe life into Gucci’s glamorous, party-esque outfits – from sharp-edged blazer and hour-glass coats to free-falling, curve-fitting dresses.
Alessandro was also hugely inspired by designer Tom Ford, who was Gucci’s former Creative Director from 1994 to 2004. Ford revived Gucci in the 90s and early aughts by injecting his dazzling and extremely sensational design vocabulary into the Italian brand.
So it was only natural that Ford’s famous Gucci red velvet suit that Gwyneth Paltrow wore to the 1996 MTV awards would be remade and reinterpreted for 2021. Notice the silver-chained black choker and the pointy shoulders.
There are ample references to Gucci’s heritage. A closer look at the accessories reveals avant-garde crystal-coated hearts, metallic clutch bags, leather harness strap and helmets. All along, logos of the two luxury giants don’t go unnoticed.