Text by Tricia Oliviera | Photos by William Lai
If you were wondering why there's a spray paint of the text "Gucci" over Balenciaga's storefront at Paragon on Orchard Road, this marked the launch of Balenciaga's Hacker Project in collaboration with the Italian label, pop-up and pop-in stores globally.
Balenciaga and Gucci introduced the Hacker Project during their spring 2022 shows, with firstly, the Gucci series introducing cross-branded Gucci merchandise that featured the Balenciaga signature. Second came the Balenciaga series which combined Gucci codes such as its enduring colorways, luggage details and logo patterns, with recognizable Balenciaga structures and styling throughout the merchandise.
Seen at Balenciaga's Spring 2022 fashion presentation
The Hacker Project has now been introduced in 74 physical spaces worldwide with Balenciaga pieces that reinterpret Gucci codes and in so doing, question the idea of branding, appropriating and counterfeiting. Stand-alone pop-up stores and transformed Balenciaga store spaces will take creative approaches to present the project’s ideas and products — cross-branded ready-to-wear, accessories, bags and cases. Each physical launch highlights special activations and exclusives that transform surrounding areas and recontextualize the brand, further investigating the Hacker Project’s themes.
Several of Balenciaga’s signature architectural elements — logo-shaved carpet, velvet stage curtains and weathered metal — have been reimagined for the introduction. Carpets and curtains are etched with a classic Gucci allover print, but with double-Bs substituted in for double-Gs. Aluminum displays are stained with acid to mimic scrubbed graffiti. Store windows are tagged in the graffiti style with “Gucci.”
In select locations and for a limited time, double-B monogram shopping bags will be hand-tagged by a local artist at the time of purchase. These can be customized and personalized with a customer’s first name, reading, “This is [insert first name’s] Bag.”