Dapper Dan Is Officially Working With Gucci

In fashion, everything old is new again. Back in May, Alessandro Michele presented Gucci's cruise 2017 collection in Florence, Italy. One of the items in particular drew criticism: a mink jacket based on an iconic piece created by Dapper Dan (born Daniel Day), a Harlem-based fashion designer who created flashy clothing, leather items, and car interiors, usually with unauthorized designer logos in the ’80s and ’90s. The jacket in question, originally designed for Olympian Diane Dixon in 1989, featured giant balloon sleeves with the classic Louis Vuitton monogram pattern (Michele’s take traded the LV monogram for Gucci Gs, naturally). One question immediately ran through our collective minds, did Michele knock off the master of knock offs?
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The Internet thought so, and when the news came out that Dapper Dan was not consulted for the collection, cries of appropriation ensued. Public opinion seemed to think that the Italian fashion house needed to acknowledge where the inspiration came from but Michele said that it was an homage to the Harlem designer and that sentiment did not need to be stated outright. “I understand that I am putting my hands in a kind of very delicate playground, the black community,” Mr. Michele told The New York Times. “But I love the black community. I think they have a big voice in terms of fashion.” It appears the brand is trying to make nice with Dapper Dan.
On Sunday, The New York Times reported that the two will be together again — this time legally. 25 years after Dapper Dan was forced to closed his atelier because of copyright infringement lawsuits, he will open a by-appointment studio for what the NYT refers to as “custom commissions, staffed with some of the original tailors, and sponsored by Gucci, which will now supply the raw materials.” Dapper Dan is also starring in ad campaign for Gucci's mens tailoring and come next spring, his capsule collection with the Italian fashion house will be sold in Gucci stores around the world.
“We are recognizing the power of this work,” Michele said. “The message for me is that we have, in a way, recognized a huge piece of the history of the brand. It is the time to say that fashion is not just the windows of a Fifth Avenue store. It’s more. It’s about culture. It’s about self-expression. It’s about expression of a point of view.”
Dapper Dan is bringing Gucci to Harlem (and out in the open this time).
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