There's been a lot of talk within fashion circles about heavy metal lately, thanks to Demna Gvasalia's affinity for pentagrams, skulls and genre-inspired typography at Vetements, as well as artists like Justin Bieber, Kanye West and Zayn "borrowing" from the aesthetic of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica and more for their super-trendy tour merch. Marc Jacobs even cast industrial metal icon Marilyn Manson in his fall 2016 ad campaign recently.
But was is all just a warm up, as Italian luxury menswear label Brioni — which hired former My Theresa buyer Justin O'Shea as its creative director back in March — has undergone an extreme metal makeover. Not only has the house debuted a new logo in a Gothic, Olde English font (not dissimilar to West's popular "The Life of Pablo" tees), but it's also cast Metallica in its first campaign under O'Shea. The world-renowned band poses as a group: James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo are captured in black and white, allowing elements of their personalities, individual styles and, of course, tattoos to peek through. If there's one O'Shea signature that the fashion world's already clued in on, ink is certainly it.
O'Shea, whose love for tailoring and tattoos skyrocketed him to street-style fame over the years, was tasked with revamping the historic Kering-owned label; Brioni's banking on his cool factor and proven insight into what sells to make the brand relevant and desirable to a younger generation. But is casting a band that arguably peaked in the late '80s/early '90s the way to do it? Playing on millennial nostalgia seems to be a key move among designers at the moment (Alexander Wang was inspired by Hot Topic for fall, Juicy Couture is collaborating with Vetements, etc.), and many of the 30- and 40-somethings who were fans of Metallica in its heyday likely have the spending power to drop serious cash on a Brioni suit. Still, we're curious to see whether O'Shea's loud new marketing strategy is a success on the sales floor, and how it will be represented in his first full collection, set to debut on July 4 during Paris couture week.