Since creative director Alessandro Michele arrived at Gucci's helm in 2015, he set upon remixing the codes of the luxury house with his penchant for maximalism and genderless dressing, with the so-called 'Gucci Effect' rippling throughout the industry. In recent seasons, however, Michele has focused on the brand's early archive, starting with the Aria collection which unveiled a project with fellow Kering group Balenciaga, featuring hero products like the Jackie bag and horsebit metalware. For their latest collection, shown during Milan Fashion Week in February, Michele collaborated with sportswear giant adidas on the Exquisite Gucci collection. The heritage of both adidas and Gucci was encoded via a fixation on stripes across ready-to-wear pieces, most notably tailored suits. Now, they've released a previously unseen collection honing in on adidas' athletic-wear roots.
The adidas Three Stripes feature on one leg of track pants, with the other decorated by the iconic Gucci red and green combo. Retro sportswear silhouettes continue through the new drop with a focus on the tracksuit, in shorts and bowling shirts, plus flared jogger pants with a 70s twang. Tennis-inspired polos and a knit dress take sportswear from the street to the court, although graphic t-shirts don't go amiss.
House codes synergise with the adidas Trefoil and GG monogram strewn across silk scarves and bucket hats. Accessories are bolstered with the addition of golf bags in leather and the GG monogram, with the new adidas x Gucci logo together with colourful umbrellas. Staple Gucci handbags feature in the collection, such as the Gucci Horsebit 1955 crossbody and tote. Drawing from both brands' footwear archives, are the adidas Gazelle sneaker and Gucci's horsebit loafers, the latter interpreted by merging the Gucci red and green Web with the Three Stripes.
Throughout, Gucci continues their commitment to sustainability, having previously launched their Gucci Equilibrium project. The new collection with adidas includes responsibly sourced materials, such as a baseball cap made in part with ECONYL® regenerated nylon.
Adding to Michele's 70s and 80s references, in order to envision a Gucci x adidas retro paradise, Michele looked to archival catalogues as inspiration for the lookbook's imagery which subsequently saw a cast of characters strike dynamic poses against brightly coloured backdrops alongside sporty props, all captured by photographer Carlijn Jacobs.
If only one thing is for sure, Michele's Gucci has evolved since the designer's first A/W 15 collection for the house, yet the references remain similar. A sporty take on the traditionalist men's suit underpins the adidas collaboration in the same way the suits worn by dandies all over Europe in the 19th century have served as the main inspiration for previous collections. Once again, Michele has transformed the men's suit, but this time, it's with the helping hand of adidas.