There's been Coco Capitán, GucciGhost and even Donald Duck, and now Gucci are adding another name to their list of interesting collaborators - Daniel Day AKA Dapper Dan.
Not only does the the legendary Harlem tailor (who in the 1980s and early ’90s was the go-to for rappers, gangsters, and boxers who loved his custom-designed counterfeit clothing) star in the brand's men's tailoring campaign, but he has also worked with Alessandro Michele on a capsule collection that will be sold as part of the brand's pre-fall offering this Spring. Plus towards the end of 2017, Dapper Dan will re-open his atelier in Harlem, powered by Gucci.
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The partnership comes about after a spate of controversy on social media surrounding one of the looks in Gucci's Cruise '18 collection, specifically a monogrammed puff-sleeve fur jacket that looked extremely similar to a creation that Dapper Dan made for Olympic runner Diane Dixon back in the 80s.
In an interview following the show, Dapper Dan said he was: 'very surprised... Everyone was. It was a wild moment... The jacket and his original were 'very similar — unmistakably similar.'
In response to online criticism, creative director Alessandro Michele clarified that it wasn’t a copy, but rather an homage to the tailor’s work. Taking to Instagram he posted a photo of the look with the following caption: "Inside the #GucciCruise18 collection by #AlessandroMichele, a look that celebrates an iconic style of hip-hop fashion culture from the 80s—a plush jacket featuring puffy sleeves monogrammed in GG motif. Legendary tailor Dapper Dan @dapperdanharlem influenced the trend by making such custom pieces for his rapper and athlete clients out of logos from famous fashion houses, including #Gucci. In a homage to Dapper Dan, this jacket worn with jeans and a lurex headpiece is flanked with a striped knit with cross-stitch embroidery, cotton shorts and a georgette gown with trompe l’oeil details."
Then in June, in a profile in The New York Times, Day acknowledged that Gucci had made contact with him following the controversy, explaining how the entire Gucci design team had come to visit him in Harlem and that they were 'at the table.' Rumours about what this exactly meant were rife but it seems it's finally now clear with the announcement of the partnership.
Speaking to the NYT again this week Dapper Dan clarified his thoughts on the 'homage' in that Gucci cruise collection and his fans' reactions saying: 'People were excited in a different way than I was. I was just excited about it being there. The part about appropriation, Alessandro and I are part of two parallel universes. The magic that took place as a result of what he did was bringing these two parallel universes together. That opened a dialogue between us when we finally got in touch with each other. I found out how similar our experiences were, the way he grew up and the way I grew up, and how he was influenced by me. I was never apprehensive about what took place. The public was more up in arms than me.'
'I would not submit to any collaboration that wasn’t on this level. I think that would be doing a disservice to the culture that I am a part of to accept anything less than what Alessandro has offered me. I think it’s something that the younger people in my community could be very proud of.'
Shot by Glen Luchford, the campaign will launch in October followed by the collaborative capsule collection next spring.