“Dapper Dan is a cultural and historical figure. While other conglomerates were trying to shut this icon down, Gucci swept in, providing him with a platform to create the iconic Gucci x Dapper Dan trend, says Tarun Panwar, who features in this shoot which, is the Italian behemoth's take on the Harlem Renaissance that gave the world geniuses and LGBTQIA+ icons like Langston Hughes, Countee Cullen, Claude McKay, Ethel Waters and Florence Mills, Alain LeRoy Rocke, L.S Alexander Gumby, and Richmond Barthé.
In his 1993 essay, “The Black Man’s Burden”, Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote that the Harlem Renaissance, “was surely as gay as it was black”. And yet, the queerness of these geniuses has often gone unrecognised by the society.
Under creative director Alessandro Michele, the brand partnered with the Harlem icon, Dapper Dan, in 2017. Then, in 2018, with support from the fashion house, Dan opened an atelier in Lennox Avenue — the first ever luxury fashion store in Harlem. This is just one of the few steps that Gucci has taken in cultural and social revolutions throughout history, making it one of the most esteemed legacy fashion houses in the world.
Intricately embroidered in the fabric of history, lie fashion and queer rights, the Harlem Renaissance led to a revolution in the world of fashion, with the women of Harlem embracing higher hemlines, lower-cut necklines, padded shoulder suits, and colourful Art Deco patterns.
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