There is something magical about colliding worlds that are seemingly unrelated to each other. Even as we approach 90 years since the first fashion collaboration in history—Elsa Schiaparelli’s now iconic fashion-meets-art extravaganza with Salvador Dali in 1935—collaborations continue to exist with new perspectives, definitions as well as in new forms.
2021 has been a year of non-stop collaborations. Collaborations were larger than ever before, with the first-ever collaboration that involved two luxury behemoths—namely Balenciaga and Gucci—in what was coined 'The Hacker Project'. Then came 'Fendace', which followed the same methodology as the aforementioned Hacker Project. The slew of inter-brand projects seemed to be relentless, never-ending and highly engaging.
The momentum of the past year seemed to have snowballed into 2022. Barely four months into the year and a plethora of intriguing collaborations have either been released or announced. Here are our top picks of this year’s collaborations so far.
Gucci x adidas
While Prada’s collaboration with adidas was sleek and polished, Gucci's collaboration with the sportswear brand was a constant bout of reinventing and recontextualising adidas’s motifs. The Trefoil logo appeared on tailored suits made out of everything from corduroy to silk jacquards. adidas stripes were seen on capes, dresses and even swimming caps, displaying Alessandro Michele's mastery of appropriating symbols and imbuing them with renewed meanings.
This was neither Supreme’s first collaboration with a luxury brand nor was it Burberry’s first with a streetwear brand. In 2017, Supreme collaborated with Louis Vuitton and it was all that anyone could talk about. In 2018, Burberry collaborated with Gosha Rubchinskiy, which was an ode to the popularity of the nova check amongst Russian youths in the post-Soviet era. For the collaboration, Supreme brought out the heritage in Burberry. Reclaiming its troubled past around the nova check and the 'chavs' who wore it, there was a renewed perspective on the signature print that was a recognisable cool factor in the realm of streetwear.
Balmain x Barbie
This iconic collaboration was living proof that you can be a Barbie man in a Barbie world. In collaboration with Barbie, Balmain created 50 mostly unisex attire for any man who just loves to doll up (pun intended). In the collection, the Balmain logo was reimagined, taking cues from the Barbie logo of the '90s.
Loewe x Spirited Away
It was a manifestation of our dreams of living in a Studio Ghibli movie with Loewe’s Spirited Away collection. Featuring iconic characters such as Kaonashi and Haku, creative director Jonathan Anderson evoked the whimsical elements of the movie through graphic elements that were emblazoned across bags, clothes and small leather goods—possessing the same savoir-faire and quality as other Loewe products.
The Yeezy Gap Engineered By Balenciaga
A fusion between high and fast fashion is always interesting to observe. Yeezy’s militaristic design ethos went together perfectly with Demna's form-focused approach, creating everyday utilitarian designs that were unique in their bellowing structure and cut. An artistic collaboration that managed to merge so many different worlds (namely the affordable, mass market Gap, Demna's world of Balenciaga and Yeezy's musical roots) together in a cohesive manner, it sold out instantly due to the sheer star power of the trio and the collection's relatively accessible price points.
Moncler + DingYun Zhang
Yeezy-approved designer Dingyun Zhang has always flirted with the idea of protection and constantly fuses that concept with organic forms to create otherworldly designs. The same can be seen in his prolific collection with Moncler Genius, which referenced the underwater sculpture of Jason deCaires Taylor, ice-fishing, airbags and other emergency inflatables. Working within the colour palette of corals, every piece in this collection was a statement in its own right and a peek into Zhang's fantasia.
SYRO for Charles Jeffrey Loverboy AW22
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Charles Jeffrey seeks to defy gender norms again through its collaboration with queer footwear brand SYRO for autumn/winter 2022. Inspired by club culture, punk and the New Romantics, the collaboration boasts all-over studs, spikes and giant belts emblazoned over heels in flamboyant '80s fashion.