Dapper Dan made a name for himself in Harlem, New York, throughout the 80s and 90s by creating outlandish one-off outfits exclusively for New York’s hip-hop kingpins, drug lords and athletic superstars. Dapper Dan became a fashion icon for his twist on vintage pieces that used luxury house monogramming.
After recently teaming up with high-end brand Gucci to open up their first major luxury boutique in Harlem, today they just announced that the exclusive, vintage-inspired collection is available online.
The collection combines Dapper Dan’s most popular archive pieces with Gucci’s current do-no-wrong aesthetic. There is an array of bomber jackets, tracksuits, loafers and muscle Ts all blazing Gucci’s signature GG emblems and red, green, gold colour palette.
Dapper Dan first became a New York staple in the luxury fashion scene when he would create unforgettable counterfeits of the trendiest brands of the day including Louis Vuitton, MCM, Fendi and even Gucci. But instead of the ‘knock off’s’ they were described ad ‘knock ups’ as they incorporated luxury furs, leathers and made the pieces all the more extravagant.
Dapper Dan made these looks far more expensive than what other bootleggers were doing and were scarcely affordable for anyone outside the elite circle. He started to ‘Africanise’ European luxury brands by his strong use of colour and dressing those from African descent. For a long time, luxury fashion houses were not catering to New Yorks large African-American population of the 80s and 90s. Dapper Dan did so by combining the urban, street feel of his Harlem home with a luxury market.
His elite customers included Mike Tyson, Salt-N-Peppa, LL Cool J and The Fat Boys. However, his famous clientele was also the downfall of his business. In 1988 Mike Tyson snuffed Mitch “Blood” Green outside Dan’s Boutique. The late-night incident made the papers and caught the eye of the European luxury fashion houses that Dapper Dan had using their logos. A multitude of raids and lawsuits caused the closure of his boutique in 1992. A lot of his retro pieces have inspired the fusion of luxury meets streetwear that we are continuously seeing today.
Alessandro Michele, creative director of Gucci, has embraced this controversial designer’s past and has been working with Dapper Dan over the past year to create this capsule collection. The collaboration features a yellow Gucci logo that looks significantly different from the original. This is inspired by Dapper Dan’s original store sign and his history of manipulating luxury houses iconic emblems for his own work. The logo is stamped across retro looking T-shirts, caps and bumbags while Gucci’s GG logo is screen-printed on leather, nylon, velour and knits.
To make the collection even more authentic and reminiscent of Dapper Dan’s heyday, the collection is modelled by Harlem natives and models in New York 90s-esque settings.
The 2018 Gucci Dapper Dan collection is now available for purchase exclusively on Gucci‘s website. View more pieces in the gallery above.