The way we talk about fashion is almost identical to the way comic book fans discuss movie franchises. Historically speaking, luxury brands have always existed independently of each other, with each designer presiding over their own universe, much like Marvel or DC. From an early age, we pledge our allegiance to a small number of brands and mold ourselves in their image, beating down anyone who might encroach on their territory. What is clothing if not merch? What is fashion week if not a month-long Comicon? And what Fendace, Gucciagaand Skendi if not fanfiction?
Over the past year, however, fashion’s planetary system has seemingly collapsed in on itself, popping black holes with every hack, swap, and cross-contamination. But what if the boundaries and boundaries of these worlds were more permeable than we have been led to believe? What if designers weren’t the warring entities that Prada diet peddles them like? What if they were muses, bedfellows, or even lovers? Offline, fashion designers are not only aware of each other but, more often than not, they have studied together and forged tight-knit cabals. They are friends, it’s a bit like collaborating, but in real life.
Take Hillary Taymour of Collina Stradafor example, who asked Francesco Risso of Marni play inside her AW22 show last week. It was incestuous, silly and a lot of fun – and while it’s usually the celebrities who make all the surprise appearances these days, there’s an age-old tradition of fashion designers making cameos on each other’s catwalks, going up when Martin Margiela walked for Jean Paul Gaultier in 1986. There’s something so exhilarating about designers publicly acknowledging each other’s existence – it’s to like The Avengers, but not boring. Below, we take a look at all the times the designers crossed enemy lines.