Gucci presented its Resort 2018 show yesterday in Florence, Italy, and social media was subsequently abuzz from all the ~*quirky and fun*~ looks that the house has become known for under creative director Alessandro Michele's reign.
Not everyone was pleased with the new garments, though — or, namely, one garment in particular.
At first glance, the above look, featuring a balloon-sleeved fur zip-up paired with jeans and rounded out with natural hair in a head wrap, could be considered a runway triumph. It's not uncommon for designers to affix features of Blackness or Black culture on white models, so at least they didn't get that part quite wrong. But when you consider the below comparison, the pat-on-the-back that would've normally been assigned to the designer is canceled out, and cultural appropriation and whitewashing become apparent.
It would appear that Gucci lifted Dapper Dan's riff on Louis Vuitton and repurposed it for its presentation. It's worth noting that in Dapper Dan's heyday, his creative reimaginings were received with legal action by fashion houses. Now, some 40 years later, Gucci will ostensibly turn a profit on a very derivative garment. Here's another angle that shows how utterly similar the two pieces are.
Of the 100 looks presented at yesterday's show, only nine were shown on Black models — a paltry less than one percent of the looks total. With the context of Gucci's recent ad campaign featuring only Black models it begs the question: when will fashion's obsession with Blackness (but criminal exclusion of Black creatives and efforts to actually appeal to Black customers) end? And also, what is the motivation to copy a well-documented piece of Dapper Dan's work?
It's doubtful that Dapper Dan played a part in collaborating with Gucci on this product or that he will receive a kickback from it. We've reached out to his camp for comment and will update this story when they respond.