Back in April, Gucci debuted their 'Gucci Aria' collection, staging a 'collaboration' with Balenciaga that was as arresting as it was puzzling. We're not talking about a 'collaboration' in the traditional sense, both houses have been keen to steer clear of the big C word, instead calling it a 'hacking', plain and simple. However you may refer to the clash of worlds, whether it be a 'hacking' or a 'collaboration' in the traditional sense, no one can deny that the unison of two of fashion's most powerful players can only mean one thing; have fashion partnerships finally reached their zenith? Fashion loves a good collaboration, as design houses know, so when these two fashion greats came together, onlookers were struck into an awe-inspired silence. While the whispers did the rounds in fashion before the show premiered, no one really knew what would happen. Alas, it all became clear, and The Hacker Project was born which essentially involved a meeting of two minds, a to and fro between Gucci and Balenciaga, under the Gucci name. Next up was Balenciaga's turn to 'hack' Gucci for their S/S 22 collection. That's right, a hack. Not a collaboration.
To dive deep into the hacking that's been happening at both respective houses of late, Balenciaga have released The Hacker Project podcast - a conversation between both powerhouses and their creative directors; Alessandro Michele of Gucci and Demna Gvasalia of Balenciaga. Hosted by renowned fashion critic Alexander Fury, the podcast explores the bold collision of two universes, two leading fashion designers and their respective houses, all coming under one roof. In its first episode - a 30-minute discussion released on 9 June - Fury asked both designers about their relationship, the mixing of house codes and how their partnership came about.
With both Michele and Gvasalia 'hacking' each other's collections by putting their own spin on each other's house codes, rather than a steal of identities, it's more of a celebration of both houses, what they both bring to the table and how they can build upon one each other. 'I wanted to take something from the Gucci brand identity that Balenciaga doesn't really have', admitted Gvasalia during the first episode. Analysing this unique crossing of paths while paying his acknowledgement to the mass amounts of talent that both Michele and Gvasalia uphold, Fury said in the podcast; 'What I find very interesting about it is that there's a great confidence to this hacker project. Both of you have incredibly strong signatures, so you can borrow from each other's signatures because you both have such a strong identity as designers yourself.'
Written in the press release for Gucci's 'Gucci Aria' collection, Michele explained his reasoning for calling it a hacking above all else, referring to the explosive reactions that occur in a 'hacking lab', being on the brink of irreparable changes so thrilling they're electrifying. '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.'
Seeing these two fashion greats get together to relish in each other's talents is more than enough for the fashion press to feast upon. Now we get a podcast, hearing them share their thoughts and ideas too? Fashion should be counting its lucky blessings right about now.
To listen to the masterminds of fashion in conversation with one of the leading fashion critics of our generation, you can listen to the podcast which is out on Spotify now.