Own a Bored Ape or a Cool Cat? You Can Kit Them Out for the Metaverse at Gucci’s New Digital Atelier

Creative director Alessandro Michele has made himself into an avatar for the brand's latest NFT initiative.

Alessandro Michele and Wagmi-San talk virtual shop. Courtesy of Gucci.

As so many luxury brands scramble to dabble with NFTs and plant their flags in the metaverse, Gucci’s foray makes the most sense.

It starts at the top: Since he took over in 2015, creative director Alessandro Michele has guided Gucci, the biggest brand in the Kering portfolio, to the highest echelon of houses worldwide, with $11.02 billion in revenue last year. He has introduced home and fine jewelry lines, commanded the conversation with stellar campaigns, and delivered knockout collaborations with brands such as the North Face, Balenciaga, and the latest buzzy team-up, with Adidas.

As a designer, Michele has done more than just deliver phenomenal apparel—he has created a standalone fashion universe, blurring gender, time (is it retro or futuristic?), taste, and color. He has pitted nerdy against sexy and made Surrealist gestures, like sending models down the runway holding realistic versions of their own heads. It’s no wonder that his next stop is the metaverse.

Love Parade-inspired looks. Courtesy of Gucci.

Love Parade-inspired looks. Courtesy of Gucci.

Gucci has now partnered with 10KTF, a shop that produces bespoke digital clothing and accessories for avatars in the metaverse city of New Tokyo. This is a canny pairing: 10KTF has a Gucci-level reputation of coolness in the NFT world.

According to the brand, the “10KTF Gucci Grail” collection is “for those who aspire to express their individuality through fashion in the parallel digital worlds.” A limited number of fans can enter and interact with its experimental online space, the Gucci Vault (which also sells actual restored and reconditioned vintage Gucci apparel).

Michele himself appears in this digital realm, as a hirsute dandy avatar. He has designed digital outfits inspired by Gucci’s “Aria” and “Love Parade” collections. Priced in crypto, they have been translated by 10KTF’s digital guru Wagmi-san (that name is derived from the acronym for “We Are All Going To Make It,” a cri de coeur for the crypto community). The new Gucci fashions are compatible with 11 of the most popular NFT collections, including Bored Apes, World of Women, and Cool Cats. So Michele is now dressing celebrities like Jared Leto as well as glamming up famous ape PFPs.

The brand’s prior metaverse outing was February’s Supergucci, a digital collection of ten NFTs mining Gucci’s heritage, along with uber-limited ceramic figurines released in conjunction with the multimedia company Superplastic. If these ventures are any indication, Michele and Gucci are sure to continue blending and morphing physical and digital realities.

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