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.