Gucci debuted its Cruise 2018 collection in Florence on Monday, with the whopping 115 looks serving as a homecoming of sorts for the place where the Italian house was founded back in 1921. Though the collection touched upon an array of cultural references, from the classics to Renaissance art, it was Alessandro Michele's play on knockoffs and counterfeits that has industry insiders accusing him of allegedly copying a very specific design by Dapper Dan, also known as Daniel Day.
As pointed out by The Cut's Lindsay Peoples on Instagram, Day had created a custom jacket for Olympic medalist Diane Dixon, made from fur and puffy sleeves adorned in a Louis Vuitton logo motif. (A photo of the famous runner from 1988 is one of Day's most reblogged designs on his Tumblr, according to Dazed.) Critiques and comparisons continue to make the rounds on social media.
Whether the eerily similar jacket was actually inspired by Dapper Dan still remains to be confirmed. (We reached out a spokesperson for Dapper Dan, and a representative for Gucci has no comment at this time.)
We should note that this isn't the first occasion in which Michele has created works inspired by bootleg culture. For Gucci's Fall 2016 collection, as well as far an Instagram-worthy installation that covered the house's Fifth Avenue flagship, Michele teamed up with graffiti artist Trouble Andrew to showcase his Gucci Ghost tag, a riff on the double-G logo. And for Cruise 2017, Michele created his own high-end version of bootleg Gucci logo sweatshirts, which are currently one of the most sought-after "It" items by the brand.
On Tuesday, Jian DeLeon of Highsnobiety pointed out the intricate history between hip-hop culture and the high fashion industry via Dapper Dan's coveted designs. By the early '90s, Dapper Dan's boutique business came to a halt when anti-counterfeiting lawsuits were involved, but in recent years, he's been covered extensively by the press and praised for his custom designs. "It's surprising that no fashion brand has tapped his legacy in an official capacity for a licensed collab," writes DeLeon. "If there were ever a time to do it, it would be now."
Or perhaps it's already too late.
Update, May 31, 2:30 p.m.: Though a representative for Gucci originally had no comment regarding criticism over one of the brand's jackets from its Cruise 2018 collection, the Italian fashion house took to Instagram on Wednesday afternoon to confirm that it was, indeed, inspired by one of Day's original designs.
"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," says the post's caption. "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."
Whether Gucci's team has been in correspondence with Day over the past 48 hours has yet to be confirmed. However, in an article published by The New York Times on Wednesday, a Gucci spokesperson said that the brand actually did try to contact Day, "so far without success," as Michele was originally interested in collaborating with the tailor to celebrate his influence on fashion and '80s hip-hop culture. Day's spokesperson, who we've also reached out to for comment, declined to provide a statement for The New York Times.