Dior x Sacai: Welcome to the era of collaborative power


A few years ago, after Louis Vuitton collaborated with Supreme in 2017, and Vetements collaborated with, well, everyone in 2016, it was said that we had reached the “peak of collaboration”. The trick of a big luxury house working with an unexpected brand, usually cheaper and somehow outside of the fashion system, seemed to have reached its peak. Of course, maximum collaboration didn’t mean collaborations stopped: the Vuitton x Supreme tie-up marked the moment when streetwear and luxury stopped dancing around each other and admitted they were together. ‘had been borrowing for years. Supreme now works regularly with brands ranging from Jean-Paul Gaultier to Yohji Yamamoto and, more recently, Pucci; Palace works with Polo, and Gucci with the North Face. And the Vetements collection wrote the playbook for brands like Ugg, Crocs, and Vibram to reinvent themselves as fashionable or anti-cool adjacents: they could pose with a luxury brand as an unexpected collaborator, and the more sophisticated brand received finder’s fees, paid by weight. The “abjection trend cycle,” as Highsnobiety’s Thom Bettridge called it, was ready to welcome almost any “uncool” brand with open arms.

But now, it seems, we’ve entered a new era, where the up-down team has been replaced by something different: power coupling. On Monday, Dior and Sacai announced that they are joining forces for a co-branded men’s collection: a capsule featuring a logo merging the names of the two brands on denim trucker jackets, fishtail coats, bags and berets. Sacai and Dior are not necessarily equal companies: Dior is a billion dollar brand owned by LVMH; Sacai is noticeably smaller, but Sacai designer Chitose Abe is one of the designer cohort, including Dior’s Kim Jones, Virgil Abloh, Matthew Williams, and Yoon Ahn, responsible for firmly entrenching streetwear in the lap of luxury. If previous Dior collaborations have focused on Jones idols and the art world’s greatest statesmen, this one is a meeting of two peers.

Pieces from the future Dior-Sacai partnership.

Courtesy of Dior.

The Dior and Sacai project follows the second part of Kering’s “Hacker Project”, an incredibly bizarre link between Gucci and Balenciaga that saw Gucci “hack” the recognizable codes of its Kering Balenciaga brand: handbags, jacket. hourglass suit, stretchy boot pants, back in April. Earlier this month, for its spring 2022 collection, Balenciaga showed its own take on the concept, sprinkling fusty-freaky couture shapes with disorienting iterations of Gucci bags and belts. (Back in April, I described Gucci’s pirated clothes as “deep fakes of fashion,” and Balenciaga took that a step further by making every model on his show the house muse of Eliza Douglas.) being a branding exercise is actually something a little stranger: because our exhausted minds, going through a world filled with too many logos, are used to seeing certain shapes and designs as shortcuts, swapping one logo for another , as minor as it may sound, makes us bypass a bit. The project’s most pungent conclusion might be its challenge to the Puritan calls around copying that have dominated fashion for the past five years.everyone does it, so nothing is really original. Is it possible to have a more sophisticated conversation about borrowing or even stealing? Around counterfeit products? It’s a question that only two power players could raise.



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