When Hip-Hop Meets Haute Couture: A Look Into Some Of Our Favorite Collaborations & Capsule Collections

Over the past years, we’ve witnessed some of the most iconic, legendary collections in the fashion industry. Some of our favorite artists have collaborations with Haute Couture fashion designers that will go down in history. Let’s get into some legendary collections and collaborations from some of our favorite hip hop artists and luxury fashion brands.

Stephen Sprouse for Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton over the years built a long list of collaborations with artists, but perhaps none as legendary and memorable as the Spring/Summer 2001 ready-to-wear collection in which Marc Jacobs calls upon fashion designer and artist Stephen Sprouse whose graffiti print and Day-Glo clothes became a defining aesthetic of the early eighties.

After the passing of Stephen Sprouse in 2004, Dietch approached Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton about doing something related to the retrospective. Nine years later they introduced new tribute pieces such as shoes, sneakers, bags, and some clothing, which was released in most LV boutiques around the world. On the accessories side, glow-in-the-dark, graffiti-tagged high-top sneakers with multiple Velcro straps as well as mask-style sunglasses seemed tailor-made for celebrities such as Kanye West. Marc Jacobs also used Stephen Sprouse’s graffiti leopard images for both Fall 2006 and 2008 Louis Vuitton collection which sold out immediately.

Graffiti and vibrant colors were heavily used in both hip-hop and pop culture. From NBA players such as Russell Westbrook to hip-hop artists like Pharrell, Fabolous, Wale, Lil Wayne and many more. Many items from the iconic collection can be found on luxury second-hand websites like Tradesy, Vestiare Collective and 1stdibs.

Dapper Dan For Gucci

Dapper Dan is the OG of luxury streetwear. He was known for his bold use of logos from high-end luxury brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Fendi partnered with unusual materials from ostrich to mink, and python to kevlar. These were similar to hip hop’s forbears, he exercised the same process used in developing the genre: sampling, mixing and cutting. By the age of 13, he was a skilled gambler; which later on helped him finance his first store.

He is most associated with introducing high fashion to the hip hop world. His clients over the years included Eric B., Rakim, Salt-N-Pepa, LL Cool J, and Jay-Z. His main clientele were “hustlers and street people” including drug kingpin Alpo Martinez who use to request bullet-proof parkas and hats. Martinez tale rags-to-riches-to-snitches was the inspiration for the popular 2002 crime film Paid In Full, which is filled with Dapper Dan references.

Dapper Dan’s illegal use of logos landed him in legal trouble. In 1988, Mike Tyson got into a brawl with Mitch Green outside of his store. That incident put Dapper Dan’s store in the media spotlight for the first time. After Tyson was photographed wearing a knock-off jacket from Dapper Dan, his illegal use of European luxury fashion logos brought the attention of those retailers across the globe. In 1992 Fendi took legal action and shut Dapper Dan down for good. The fashion world looked down on him for decades but that didn’t stop him from working underground as a designer. In 1999 he began working with Floyd Mayweather.

Dapper Dan was able to get a fresh start mainstream in 2017. Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele designed a jacket based on the one he designed for Diane Dixon in 1989. In 2017, he launched a fashion line with Gucci which he opened a second store and atelier, Dapper Dan’s of Harlem, the first luxury house fashion store in Harlem.

Pharrell for Chanel

It started off as drawing double C’s on his boots to having his own capsule collection with Chanel. The Virginia native has always been the go-to guy to draw inspiration from when it comes to fashion. I mean he wasn’t voted Best Dressed Man by Esquire for no reason, right? He also has a special relationship with Chanel. The super-producer started writing on his timberland boots in 2010. Pharrell got familiar with the luxury brand from listening to Biggie rap about the bags. He said in an interview with Footwear News he’d worn the brand way before the unisex trend caught on. Williams said,  “One day, I had the audacity to buy a belt even though I knew it was a woman’s brand, and other things that would fit me, like a couple of sweaters that felt like they were unisex,” he told FN.

Chanel never had a men’s line and Pharrell has long advocated for gender fluid styles. His focus was to come with a new approach, to make it unisex so people can have more access to the collection. Imagine doodling Chanel’s legendary logo on your Timberland boots to creating a collection with the same brand years later. As Pharrell would say “See it, Believe it, Recieve it” which is printed on the back of the long sleeve shirt from the collection about a bet Williams made about collaborating with Chanel. Named Chanel-Pharrell; the ready-to-wear and accessories collection includes robes, tees, sneakers, colorful loafers, costume jewelry, bucket hats, and sunglasses. The collection is available at the new Seoul flagship boutique from March 29th and in select boutiques worldwide from April 4th.

Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton

Kim Jones, former menswear director of Louis Vuitton, made his final bow for the Paris house last January (and landed at Dior Homme this month) and on March 26th,2018 Virgil Abloh is appointed Louis Vuitton’s new men’s artistic director. This made Virgil the first African-American artistic director of the 160-year-old French fashion house. The designer debuted his first menswear collection for the brand in June 2018.

The first range from the newly appointed Artistic Director is inspired by The Wizard of Oz and the concept of light prisms. Defining elements of the collection are the outlandish chain detailing on leather goods and bright tonal looks that are new to LV. Standout pieces include the playful Yellow Brick Road sweater, luxury functional monogram pouch holster vest, and re-imagined Millionaire sunglasses. We’ve been riding with Virgil since the beginning and we can’t wait to see what else he has in store for Louis Vuitton.

Kanye West for Louis Vuitton

The self-proclaimed “Louis Vuitton Don” introduced his first shoe line designed for Louis Vuitton during Paris Fashion Week. They later released the line in the summer. Fun fact: Marc Jacobs and Ye had a great friendship. Their relationship grew personally and professionally when Jacobs gave him the opportunity to design sneakers with LV.

These kicks defined Kanye’s mission to mix luxury materials with his favorite basketball sneakers. The Dons represent a special moment in time for Kanye’s design aesthetic. All the Kanye x LV kicks are constructed from the finest of materials and live up to the hype in terms of quality. There are three different models and ten colorways all together. There are also five colorways of the Don’s, two different versions of the Mr. Hudson boat shoe and three high-top Jasper’s. Slight variations can be found from one shoe to the next from the materials, to the laces, to the color blocking. The vibrant colors remind us of Louis Vuitton’s recent collaboration with Stephen Sprouse.

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