Earlier this year, Alessandro Michele’s GucciCruise 2018 collection featured one look that grabbed everybody’s attention. A balloon-sleeved jacket with PVC sleeves in Gucci monogram print, it looked almost identical to one initially designed by Harlem bootlegger Dapper Dan for Olympic gold medal winner Diane Dixon in 1989.
After responding to claims that that look was plagiarised, Michele announced that he had reached to the designer in the hope of collaborating. A couple of months down the line and the promise he made has come to fruition, with Dapper Dan starring as the face of the Cruise 2018 men’s tailoring campaign. The campaign coincides with the announcement of a collaboration between the two on a capsule collection that will be sold at Gucci stores globally in spring. In even better news, the Dan will also be opening a new studio that he hopes will be staffed by the original team he worked with in the 80s. Gucci will be providing the raw materials.
A huge fan of the designer, Michele wants to give Dapper Dan all the recognition he deserves and wanted to further clear the air about claims of the look being copied. “For me, we can talk about appropriation a lot,” he told the New York Times, “I didn’t put a caption on it because it was so clear. I wanted people to recognise Dapper on the catwalk. It wasn’t appropriation, it was a homage, to me.”
It is a full circle for the 80s knock-off couturier, who appropriated Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Fendi logos in his designs. While he had to shut down after legal problems in 1992, could the Gucci collaboration, the studio opening, and his recent mentorship of the VFiles SS18 designers signal his return to fashion?