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The Rebirth of an Icon

Gucci + Dapper Dan Is Harlem’s New Dream Team

Photography by Ari Marcopoulos

Tracksuits. Sneakers. Gold chains. Bomber jackets. The iconic styles of late-1980s and early-1990s hip-hop are back in a big way in New York’s Harlem neighborhood. This is in part thanks to Gucci’s collaboration to open a new atelier with legendary designer Daniel Day—better known as Dapper Dan—earlier this year.

The collaboration came after controversy sprang up online following Gucci’s Fall 2017 runway presentation during which it unveiled an “homage” to Dapper Dan’s 1989 leather-and-mink bomber jacket designed for Olympic runner Diane Dixon. This tribute spurred countless comments from Dapper Dan fans across the internet, urging Gucci to “cut the check” for the designer’s work. And Gucci’s response was to take things one step farther—creative director Alessandro Michele and the other execs at the fashion giant gave Dapper Dan his own store just blocks from his original 1980s 125th Street shop.

Dapper Dan was known as the go-to luxury designer for Harlem’s hip-hop and gangster scenes, even going as far as incorporating hidden pockets and Kevlar in his designs to accommodate his clients’ lifestyles. The use of leather and other fabrics with luxury brand logos such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci became part of his signature style, and Dapper Dan has said they weren’t knock-offs, they were “knock-ups.” Mike Tyson, Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, and Floyd Mayweather, Jr., topped his client list.

The use of leather and other fabrics with luxury brand logos such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci became part of his signature style, and Dapper Dan has said they weren’t knock-offs, they were “knock-ups.”

Today, Dapper Dan’s Gucci atelier caters to VIP appointments for custom pieces, but fans can snag his pre-fall 2018 capsule collection, which Gucci says, “mixes the House and the Harlem designer’s styles.” A colorful array of tracksuits, logo backpacks, shoes, scarves, jewelry, and other accessories is shown off by a group of young Harlemites who embody the renaissance of the Dapper Dan archive.

Something tells us this is just the beginning for Alessandro Michele’s fashion brand and Harlem’s man of style.

— V —

Visit Gucci.com and click “Stories” to find out more about the Gucci Dapper Dan atelier, capsule collection, and more.

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