Can Balenciaga Break With Kanye?
If you’ve been paying attention to the fashion scene, you’ve likely heard (or read) the word, “break” bandied about, mostly in the context of designers like Balenciaga and Gucci. So imagine my surprise when Gucci’s first woman to head the house told me via email that “there are several ways of breaking a brand, including by breaking a ‘trend’ or a’movement.'”
At first, I thought, maybe they’re breaking Gucci. After all, I’d read that the house has broken trends before, including on its two Gucci campaigns. But when I talked to a couple of marketing analysts who specialize in breaking trends, I learned that it’s more complicated than that. They say that if a brand is already in a cycle and the market is not ready, then the brand should “take a breather,” so the new fashion moves aren’t so jarring. Then, if the new movement does catch on, it’s easier to sell the current lines.
So what do the analysts want to keep on the Gucci radar? According to a recent article by Fashionista, the brand’s new campaign (for spring 2011) “celebrates luxury and contrasts it to the ‘factory floor’ nature of the working class.” According to the analysts, this campaign “highlights the contradictions between these two elements of Gucci.” So what exactly is this contradiction?
The analysts don’t offer a straightforward answer, but a good example would be Gianni Versace’s Spring 2011 campaign. That’s the famous Versace “factory-floor” commercial with the young, pretty models in crisp, white short shorts and Versace in a flowing wool suit. Now, it’s not a true contradiction as Versace and his creative team were clearly trying to make a connection from the factory floor. And the “factory-floor” aspect is a good example of how trend-breaking creative can catch on. But this time, the commercial goes beyond the factory-floor, focusing on Versace’s “cult status” and his place in the history of fashion.
Still, the new campaign still focuses on the factory-floor and