Milan Fashion Week: GucciGhost Brings Gucci to Generation Snapchat

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Gucci GucciGhost 2016 Milan Fashion Week Snapchat avatar aw16

“Basic b**ches wear that sh*t / so I don’t even bother.” That was the chorus of Kreayshawn’s 2011 hit song Gucci Gucci, which warned of using fashions labels—and logos—to define your personal brand and style. Fast-forward a half-decade later and none other than Beyonce, in her Super Bowl-timed Formation video, is using the Gucci fashion label to define her personal style.

gucci beyonce gucci beyonce 2

Gucci F/W 2016 Milan Fashion Week GucciGhost collaborationBut that’s cool because the Gucci known for its double-G logo is a heritage brand that shows with its new Fall/Winter 2016 womenswear collection at Milan Fashion Week that it knows how to play with its past and update its own iconic legacy in an irreverent manner aimed at Generation Snapchat.

Day one of Milan Fashion Week kicked off on Wednesday with creative director Alessandro Michele looking to Gucci’s past—and future—in the brand’s latest collection. Only a year in the role, the “inclusive, laissez-faire” (as Vogue put it) Michele has been credited with boosting the Italian luxury house’s bottom line to its best results in three years. Now he’s going all Throwback Thursday by digging in the vault and using a clever brand identity strategy by tapping a Gucci wannabe to make hay with its classic brand identity for the modern era so it doesn’t come off as raiding Granny Gucci’s closet.

In an interview at Milan Fashion Week, Michele called Gucci’s runway show theme “1980s Renaissance,” juxtaposing it with street art elements that played fast and loose with that identity. In part this also means a renaissance of Gucci’s visual identity, such as the Gucci logo pattern on Beyonce’s Formation dress and the red and green stripes on her (and her dancers’) outfits. Gucci’s runway show revived the GG logos that would do the early 1980s proud, before giant logos became gauche. It also recalled the spirit of Stephen Sprouse hand-painting Louis Vuitton logos on its bags.

Gucci’s now iconic double-G logo was introduced on a belt buckle in 1964, decades after the fashion house was founded. And while Gucci is bringing back the traditional Gs, it has also embraced a dynamic brand system.

Brands typically have a wordmark logo (Coca-Cola), a pictorial logo (Ferrari’s prancing horse) or an abstract logo (the adidas trefoil, later replaced with a word mark, or Pepsi’s red, white and blue globe).

A brand using a dynamic logo system will use a single fundamental design and riff on the familiarity of that design to suggest other ideas while at the same time staying anchored in the brand identity. MTV and its ever-shifting animated logo (even post-2010, when it dropped “Music Television”) remain the king of the dynamic visual identity, while the Google doodle project, which remakes the Google logo on almost-daily basis, updates that tradition of not being afraid to blow up your logo.

And so we come to GucciGhost, aka Trevor Andrew, aka Trouble Andrew, the Canadian-born, Brooklyn-based musician/street artist hired by Gucci to play with its logo and take over its Snapchat and Instagram accounts for its fall/winter womenswear collection revealed in Milan this week.

Or as Vogue covered its runway show, “Alongside the ‘bourgeois Renaissance’-inspired clothes, came bags that were made in collaboration with the graffiti artist GucciGhost (real name Trevor Andrew), who Michele brought on board as an official member of the Gucci design team after seeing his unsolicited interpretation of the double G logo on the street.”

Andrew’s reinterpretation of the Gucci logo was sprinkled throughout Gucci’s Fall/Winter runway presentation, from a double-G print skirt (paired with a prim sweater, pearls and bow-tie) and graffiti-covered bags to the program and its social media channels.

Gucci GucciGhost logo fur coat F?W 2016 Milan Fashion Week collaboration graffiti

As Tim Blanks commented for The Business of Fashion, Andrew’s spray painting included “‘REAL’ on a tote, the double GG graffiti-style on a fur coat, ‘LIFE IS’ on a mink-trimmed baseball jacket… signs which, in the words of Michele’s philosophical statement, ‘are decontextualised… and reactivated beyond shared conventions.’ Again, there was a simpler read. It was simultaneously luxury and the street that was being taken out of context and turned around.”

As Michele himself stated on Gucci’s Instagram feed from Milan Fashion Week, he dipped into Trevor Andrew’s archive of Gucci-inspired art to bring it full circle: “I took the most interesting things of @troubleandrew’s and I asked if I could re-customize them. I find it interesting that the GG pattern has made this circle around the world. I customized his work and he says I’m like a doctor who treats them, makes them better. He puts in his culture, I have mine. The two things together are good. Diversity always produces something interesting.”

Trevor Trouble Andrew GucciGhost Gucci AW16 fashion show Milan collaboration

It’s a street smart and social media-savvy move by Gucci to stay tied to its heritage brand status while also firmly planting the old house in the present and future of fashion.

GucciGhost Gucci Trouble Andrew AW16 collection Milan fashion week

Gucci’s show also featured a GucciGhost creation that plashed the word “real” in graffiti style on a handsome leather Gucci handbag.

Interesting enough, Gucci’s show also featured a GucciGhost creation that plashed the word “real” in graffiti style on a handsome leather Gucci handbag.

gucci shoes

One could read this design as a rebuke of sorts to American mall fashion brand Guess, to whom Gucci lost a high-profile trademark lawsuit. Or simply as another way to tweak its storied past for a Snapchat Story-ready present and future.

Gucci vs. Guess shoes image via Fashionista.

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