Luxury brand collaborations have long been a staple of the fashion world. The trend goes way back and the earliest collaborations have their roots in the synergy between famous artists and designers. In the 30s, Italian designer Elsa Schiaparelli used surrealist Salvador Dali’s iconography in her work. Later, in the 60s, Saint Laurent used Piet Mondrian’s geometric work to create a range of dresses and accessories, which quickly became popular with fashion enthusiasts for their playful and whimsical design elements.
Recently, it seems like just about anyone and everyone is working on a collab. From Barbie and Balmain to SZA and Crocs, the collab phenomenon knows no bounds. Current, inventive collaborations combine design aesthetics and the lucrative strategy of leveraging juxtaposing elements, limited edition drops, and shared audiences. Although we still see brand and artist-driven collaborations today, such as LV and Kusama (which Entrupy supports btw), and the highly instagrammable Prada Marfa installation by artists Elmgreen and Dragset, more and more brand collabs capitalize on the reach of brand x brand and brand x celebrity partnerships. A few highly coveted high luxury collabs in the form of logomania and seamlessly integrated aesthetics include Gucci x Balenciaga and Fendi x Versace.
The fusion of high and low fashion is also ubiquitous, as seen in the recent Adidas x Prada, Gucci x North Face, and Dior x Birkenstock collabs. Luxury brands no longer require a diffusion line and instead can reach the mass market by partnering with retailers such as H&M and Target. Karl Lagerfeld set the precedent for the high fashion x low fashion collab when he was the first to partner with the retailer in 2004. Noteworthy H&M collabs since then include Moschino, Lanvin, Stella McCartney and Comme des Garçons. The much anticipated Mugler x H&M collab is slated to debut this Spring.
The celebrity drop has also become widely popular. From musicians and actors to athletes and influencers, a range of celebrities has partnered with a fashion brand to release a clothing or accessory collection. By partnering with a well-known figure, brands can reach a wider audience and generate buzz around their product lines. Celebrities also benefit from the exposure and the opportunity to expand their personal brand beyond their better-known areas of expertise. With the proliferation of social media platforms like instagram, Twitter, and TikTok, celebrities can now directly reach their followers and promote their collaborations. This communication between a celebrity and their fans makes the collabs even more personal.