Balenciaga and Gucci’s hackathon has switched venues, with the Spanish-born luxury house now taking the lead in their landmark collaboration. After Gucci’s “Aria” runway show first showcased the collision of the two iconic brands in April, Balenciaga has now taken on many of Gucci’s signature motifs as part of its “Clones” collection.
Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia has taken what was once sacred ground and made it his own, most notably through bags. Under his stead, the “GG” monogram now reads “BB” — and even more audacious are the limited-edition bags that have been tagged “This Is Not a Gucci Bag.” That’s only half true, of course, as they are definitively Gucci and Balenciaga bags.
From a design perspective, the luxury house’s continued collection is more or less exactly what you’d expect. And indeed, so too will be the consumer response, regardless of what the critics may say. Logo-mania will ensure the Gucci and Balenciaga goods are runaway hits scooped up by the über rich who’ll say, “Why flex one luxury logo when two can be had at once?” The two brands have read the market, and the market says, Yes, throw all this shit together.
Looking closer — Balenciaga’s spring 2022 ready-to-wear collection opted for just one model, the artist Eliza Douglas, and was filmed with a virtual audience that couldn’t release their phones from their grip. “It’s a show that never happened,” Gvasalia told Vogue. “But the clothes are real; they were made.”
So too were the Gucci bags, which included some of the luxury house’s most iconic silhouettes. Even the classic “GG” belt has been remixed to read “BB,” while scarves complete Balenciaga’s takeover in response to Gucci doing the same in reverse.
The “This Is Not a Gucci Bag” is a reference to René Magritte’s 1929 The Treachery of Images painting, but also to Gucci’s vandalism of its own products. The brand’s “Fake/Not” capsule slaps the printed message on its accessories as an in-house laugh at all the bootlegs that have flooded the market — and now Gvasalia and Balenciaga are in on the joke too.
If you want to get in on the laughs as well (or perhaps more accurately be the target of them) you’ll be able to do so this fall when Balenciaga’s “Clones” collection goes on sale.