Gucci under Frida Giannini, the label’s former creative director would have never collaborated with a graffiti artist who is infamously known as ‘GucciGhost’ because this Brooklyn-based artist indulges in graffiti art and is obsessed with Gucci, particularly its GG-logo. GucciGhost aka Trevor Andrew has tampered with and tweaked the Gucci logo in graffiti, wall art and on objects like dustbins.
Most designers at luxury houses would hate anyone who plagiarize or appropriate their logos in downtown street art, But Alessandro Michele, who came in as Gucci’s creative director in January 2015 did the exact opposite – GucciGhost to collaborate with him. Michele told WWD, “I saw the way Trevor was using the symbol of the company and I thought it was quite genius, It’s completely different from the idea of copying. It’s the idea that you try to take to the street, through language like graffiti, the symbols of the company,” Surprisingly Gucci’s top-brass did not get a jolt from Michele’s wild idea. In fact the label’s President & CEO, Marco Bizzarri loved the idea.
Now we got to wait and watch if fashionistas would splurge 3000 plus dollars on handbags with graffiti on them. But then Alessandro Michele is loved by the queens of fashion. They love the gender-bending ambiguity and drama that Michele has infused in Gucci. The Gucci AW 2016 womenswear collection shown at Milan Fashion Week was a winner. Michele demonstrated his experimentalism streak. The collection flirted with the line between the real and the counterfeit to create Gucci’s own bootleg pieces. Spraying the word ‘real’ above ‘Gucci’ and painting the logo onto skirts, the collection was epitome of Michele’s intoxicating madness,
Artists’ collaborations are not new in fashion. It has been 15 years since the Louis Vuitton-Stephen Sprouse duet that made such a splash. Certainly this is the boldest collaboration of a major brand with an artist since that series orchestrated by Marc Jacobs at Vuitton (Takashi Murakami, Richard Prince and Yayoi Kusama following Sprouse), and the flashiest.
Fashion reflects the mood of the society and many were keen to see how luxury fashion, an industry with profit-making at its heart, can seek to comment on a world in crisis. In Milan Menswear Autumn 2016 Fashion Week, Miuccia Prada’s washed up sailors reminded us images of refugees landing in dingy boats on the shores of Greece and in Paris security guards whizzed metal detectors over designer coats outside every show, asking people to empty pockets and open bags.
The designers made strong statements reflecting the state of the world today. At Comme des Garçons Homme Plus, Rei Kawakubo paid a a silent tribute to a world divided by violence by presenting her ‘Warriors of Peace’. Models walked in armor like suits with shoulder pads and articulated sleeves. The boys wore elaborate floral headpieces in their hair as gesture of peace.
Kris Van Assche presented his New Wave look for Dior Homme. The look expressed emotional angst what is also known as ‘Emo-Chic‘ with fingerless gloves and black nail varnish – the subculture of black-clad, angst teenagers. The silhouettes were easy-going; trousers were slim and cropped, or high-waisted and wide; some with stitching details. Then there were the accessories – pussy bow ties and charm necklaces. It’s like the Dior Homme man is expressing a youthful and carefree part of his identity.
Kim Jones also created something of an army for Louis Vuitton. Models donned overcoats and army greens, with dogtag-style necklaces, and military berets. Balmain’s. Olivier Rousteing had his models in Swarovski crystal-coated jackets and Jodhpur-like sweatpants and equestrian boots. There was a clear militaristic influence, Yohji Yomamoto had provocative slogans directed at Angela Merkel.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi loves luxurious things. He keeps a Montblanc pen, he wears a Movado watch, his glasses are from Gucci and now we have seen his luxurious Louis Vuitton stole stylishly draped across his shoulder when he landed in Paris. I thought he must be making a point with the LV stole in France but saw him draped in the same in his meeting with Netaji Bose’s kin in Berlin. Politically a Jamavar shawl would had made a better style statement by PM Modi who chants ‘Make In India’.
Narendra Modi’s two closest lieutenants – Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley and BJP President, Amit Shah too are fond of the LV brand. Amit Shah has occasionally been seen keeping himself warm in Louis Vuitton mufflers and stole. Arun Jaitley too was seen draped in a LV stole at the Rajya Sabha.
Louis Vuitton couldn’t have got better brand ambassadors than the triad of Modi, Jaitley and Shah. Hope this encourages them to ‘Make in India’ some of its products. LV made a venture with desi leather brand Hidesign to manufacture LV luggages in Pondicherry but that deal never materialized.
Karl Lagerfeld, the czar of fashion and Silvia Fendi hosted an uber chic bash to celebrate the launch of the flagship store of Fendi in New York. The occasion also celebrated the 3Baguette Project. The maison collaborated with 5 iconic New York women, Rihanna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jourdan Dunn, Rachel Feinstein and Leandra Medine to design their versions of the 3Baguette, an evolution of the iconic Baguette.
The crowd consisted of VIPs of the fashion and glamour world like Elisabetta Beccari, Antonio Belloni, Rihanna, Sarah Jessica Parker, Naomi Campbell, Sofia Coppola, Anna Wintour, Kendall Jenner, Mohammed Sultan Al Habtoor, Martha Stewart and Delhi’s very own fashion wolf – JP Singh, the only Indian invited. He is seen chatting up Rihanna at the bash. So has JP shifted his loyalty from Louis Vuitton to Fendi? He held the enviable position of LV’s biggest Indian buyer for years…
The phenomenon of counterfeiting is as old as couture itself. In the early 1900s, fashion forgers often sketched designs they saw in Paris shows and sold reproductions in France and overseas. By 1914, more than two million fake couture labels had been sewn into garments, several of which are currently on view in New York City at the Museum at FIT’s exhibition, “Faking It: Originals, Copies and Counterfeits.” Authenticity and copyright protection against knock offs are two of the most debated topics in fashion today. Faking It: Originals, Copies, and Counterfeits investigates the history of both authorized and unauthorized copying, as well as the various factors that have led to grey areas in authenticity.
The Exhibition is on at the Fashion & Textile History Gallery since December 2, 2014 until April 25, 2015. I recommend our designers to visit the exhibition!
Couturiers such as Madeleine Vionnet implemented various initiatives to stop knock offs of her designs, such as marking her label with her thumbprint in order to authenticate each creation. Unfortunately, this did not entirely discourage copying, as can be seen in an unauthorized reproduction of her “Little Horses” dress from 1924. Likewise, in an effort to battle unauthorized copying during the 1930s, the Fashion Originators’ Guild of America registered fashion designers’ work. An example of a black fringe evening dress with the registered label and sketch is included in Faking It. From its inception, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture struggled with maintaining the exclusivity of haute couture, while promoting it through press coverage and licensed copies. When the couture industry began to re-stabilize after World War II, the struggle intensified. The high demand for Christian Dior’s famed 1947 collection led to many unauthorized copies of his silhouette. Faking It uses a Nettie Rosenstein dress from that same year to illustrate such copying.
Chanel once said, “Fashion should slip out of your hands. The very idea of protecting the seasonal arts is childish. One should not bother to protect that which dies the minute it is born.” Chanel’s tweed suits were so recognizable, she saw copies of her designs as a form of publicity. A selection of six Chanel originals and copies from the 1960s to the 1980s will be featured. The 1990s ushered in the era of logo mania and the mass production of counterfeit goods. A special display case in Faking It places authentic designer bags next to their corresponding counterfeits.
At his fall 2007 runway show, Yohji Yamamoto debuted a newly created “YY” logo that was featured prominently on a number of garments and pieces of luggage. The logo was remarkably identical to the familiar Louis Vuitton monogram, and some audience members thought it was referencing Vuitton’s origins as a designer of luxury luggage. Was Yamamoto mocking the French brand? Was he making a comment about consumerism? Or was he applauding the power of a venerable luxury brand? No lawsuits resulted from Yohji Yamamoto’s new logo, but it did flirt with crossing the line of trademark infringement. More recently, Los Angeles designer Brian Lichtenberg created a witty interpretation of the Hermes logo with his “Homies” collection (an entire “Homies” ensemble is featured in Faking It). Fashion lawyers are still debating whether this is a case of trademark infringement or protected speech as legitimate parody.