Gucci and Balenciaga are two of the biggest luxury brands in the fashion world, but how do the two compare? We’ve analyzed a Gucci vs Balenciaga to find out!
Gucci and Balenciaga are both beloved historic fashion houses that belong to the luxury conglomerate Kering. The long histories of these brands have influenced the contemporary designs to create some incredible, avant-garde ready-to-wear clothing, handbag, and accessories collections.
Also, there has been a recent collaboration between Gucci and Balenciaga, named the Hacker Project, which was wildly popular as you would expect from the combination of two of the biggest street-style fashion houses.
Of course, you can buy a piece of the Hacker Project for that perfect combination of these two labels, however, if you are going for other items from the brands, trying to decide between the two can be a challenge. That’s why we’re to help – this article covers both brands’ histories, the differences between them, and top items from each brand before coming to a decision on Gucci vs Balenciaga.
gucci vs balenciaga
The history of Gucci
This staple brand of Milan Fashion Week is a historic Italian fashion brand after it was founded in 1921 by Guccio Gucci. Gucci first began making luxury bags and luggage for the wealthiest in Italian society, before adding shoes, knitwear, and silk goods to the collection.
When World War Two hit, Gucci was no longer able to use leather in the production of their bags and luggage, and so the Gucci coated canvas was born. This canvas featured the now iconic GG monogram as well as the red and green stripe that features on many Gucci products.
Post-World War Two, Gucci found mainstream success as it became popular amongst Hollywood stars, and added eyewear and jewelry to its accessories collection.
After a rocky period in the 1970s and 80s, the house of Gucci was reinvented by Tom Ford in the 1990s, bringing opulence and extravagance back to the brand.
The luxury house saw another reinvention in 2014 when Alessandro Michele became the creative director. Michele combined his geek-chic aesthetic with an element of old Hollywood glamour from the Gucci archives to create a brand that has reached the top spot of the Lyst index of most-searched-for brands.
Under Michele, Gucci has also collaborated with some of the top fashion brands to create luxury fashion collections that have broken social media – collaborations have included Balenciaga and The North Face. A favorite among celebrities, you will often see Jared Leto, Harry Styles, and Lana Del Ray on red carpets or at the Met Gala in New York dressed in Gucci.
The History of Balenciaga
The luxury fashion house, Balenciaga, was founded in 1919 by Cristóbal Balenciaga in Spain, although the label moved to Paris in 1937 in order to show his collections at Paris Fashion Week. Cristóbal Balenciaga was a highly influential and innovative couturier who was named ‘the master of us all’ by Christian Dior.
Balenciaga very quickly found success after moving to Paris and catching the eye of Carmel Snow, the editor of Harper’s Bazaar. The high fashion collections created by Balenciaga were so popular that fashion enthusiasts risked traveling to Europe in World War Two in order to see the fashion shows.
During the late 1940s and into the 1950s, the genius of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s designs was fully realized as he created several cutting edge pieces that have remained highly influential in contemporary fashion still to this day.
As he moved away from the narrow waist silhouette of the New Look, popularised by Dior, Balenciaga created the spherical balloon jacket in 1953, the tunic dress in 1955, and the high-waisted baby doll dress and sack dress in 1957 for the first time.
Cristóbal Balenciaga closed his fashion house in 1968, and it lay dormant until 1986. After it was bought by new owners, Michel Goma, Josephus Thimister and Nicolas Ghesquière were creative directors between the years 1987 and 2012.
In 2012, Demna Gvasalia became the creative director and reinvigorated the brand with a new lease of life. It has quickly become one of the most popular brands, with Kim Kardashian often featuring in the fashion label’s campaigns.
Balenciaga’s Controversy in 2022
Balenciaga has recently received much criticism after a marketing controversy that has caused many customers to boycott the brand. In November 2022, Balenciaga released a series of photographs as part of a marketing campaign in which children were holding teddy bears dresses in leather bondage and BDSM accessories – this was quickly highlighted as inappropriate and the images were removed and the brand apologized.
Another advertisement, that has been released shortly before, was then scrutinized and viewers realized that a Balenciaga handbag was sitting on papers that included text from a Supreme Court child p**nography case. This has led many to speculate that inappropriate conduct toward children is a continuing pattern in the house.
At first, Balenciaga began to pursue legal action against the production company and set designer that was used in the campaign photoshoot. However, the legal representatives for the set designer noted that Balenciaga representatives were at the shoot and handled the props, and so the Balenciaga legal action was subsequently dropped.
Many consumers who were previously fans of the brand have decided not to keep supporting Balenciaga until a change in creative leadership is announced.
Differences between Gucci Vs Balenciaga
There are key differences between these hottest brands that you need to be aware of in order to help you make a decision between the two.
1. Price Range
The difference in the price range of these two brands is significant. If we take a look at handbags, for example, we can see that Gucci handbags range from $790 up to $7,700, depending on the size and materials used. However, there are also some exotic leather bags that are sold for up to $36,000.
Balenciaga, on the other hand, collection of bags ranges from $675 to $5,500 – the brand’s most affordable bag is a similar price to Gucci’s mini bags, but the most expensive Balenciaga bags are nowhere near the top prices of Gucci bags. If you are looking for a little more variety and a little more luxury, then Gucci is the brand to head for.
With this said, the most popular bags from each brand, including the Hourglass bag from Balenciaga and the Marmont and Dionysus from Gucci, retail for very similar prices at around $2,000-$3,000,
If we take a look at the shoes, Gucci’s price point for shoes ranges between $360 and $4,900, while Balenciaga shoes are on offer for between $325 and $1,950.
Again, shoes from both brands start at the same sort of price, but there are much more expensive shoes available from Gucci. Often this will be down to the cutting edge designs and unique materials that are used.
There are some similarities in the materials used by Gucci and Balenciaga. Both luxury houses use predominantly leather, for Balenciaga this will often be calf leather, sometimes embossed with a croc-effect print or a more luxurious aesthetic.
Gucci bags are usually made from calf leather or lambskin leather, although some expensive bags are made from crocodile, python, anaconda, and lizard leather. Both fashion houses also offer certain styles of handbags in cotton canvas or coated canvas – which can be a little more durable and less high maintenance.
In terms of where these bags are made and the craftsmanship involved, they are pretty similar. Most of the time, Balenciaga bags are made in Italy, with top-quality Italian leather, while some of the cheaper models of Balenciaga bags are made in China.
Gucci, as a historic Italian brand, prides itself on all its handbags being made in Italy with high-quality Italian craftsmanship. In fact, many of the handbags are made in a town called Prato, just outside of Florence, where the Gucci headquarters are based.
our top picks from gucci Vs balenciaga
Both of these luxury brands are known for their luxury collections of handbags, shoes, accessories, and ready-to-wear collections that you will have seen on the pages of your favorite fashion magazine or Instagram pages. We’ve selected just a few favorite items from Gucci and Balenciaga that we think you’ll love.
1. small bags
Gucci and Balenciaga both offer incredible shoulder bags that you really need to see!
The Marmont bag is one of Gucci’s best-selling bags that we just had to include in this list – it’s a classic bag that has truly become an iconic piece. Bought into the Gucci bag collection by creative director Alessandro Michele, the Marmont has a structured shape and sumptuous curved quilting, complemented by a double G logo on the front.
The interior is flawless too, with enough roomy for all your must-have items and a handy little zipper pocket. Available in 11 different colors and multiple different sizes, you are guaranteed to find a version that suits you, making it the ideal bag for any style.
The Balenciaga Hourglass is a new addition to the Balenciaga collection that has a striking look. The Balenciaga logo in gold decorates the croc-effect leather of this handbag, which is available in several different colors. The compact interior will fit a couple of essential items for a night out. This handbag is available for $3,000.
Both Gucci and Balenciaga have their own iconic sneakers that you really need to get your hands on.
Firstly, the Gucci Ace sneakers are a wardrobe staple. You may have seen these everywhere on Instagram or stylish shoppers who already have their hands on these incredible shoes. If you are looking for versatile sneakers that will suit loads of different outfits, these Gucci sneakers are just ideal.
The combination of white leather and the red and green stripe, which now features a gold embroidered bee, is quintessentially Gucci. These beautiful sneakers now have a cult following, so if you’re into trends, you really need to add a pair to your collection.
Next, Balenciaga has become well-known for its unique sock sneakers? These sneakers have a bold aesthetic, with chunky rubber soles contrasting the knitted sock body of the shoe, which is printed with the Balenciaga logo. Available in pink or black, these sneakers retail for $995.
3. Tote bags
Tote bags are staples in any wardrobe and Gucci and Balenciaga have some stunning tote bags in completely different styles.
The Gucci Ophidia canvas tote is an absolute classic for the modern working woman. Made from the GG supreme coated canvas and trimmed with supple brown leather, the spacious tote is totally practical and stylish with the red and green web stripe and Gucci logo hardware for that quintessentially Gucci aesthetic.
The durable materials also mean this Ophidia tote will be your go-to bag for years to come. Add this gorgeous bag to your collection for just $1,650.
The Neo Cagole City Lambskin Leather Tote Bag has been a part of the Balenciaga brand for decades, first introduced by Nicolas Ghesquière in 2001. This edition of the City bag comes in lambskin leather, and features aged silver studs and buckles. The exterior zip pocket and rolled leather top handles add practicality.
4. the hacker project
If you want a little bit of both brands, then the Hacker Project Gucci x Balenciaga collaboration is just what you need in your life. Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia has worked with Gucci’s Alessandro Michele to create clothing bags and shoes for you to choose from.
In this first instance, the Gucci Jackie bag has been made in Balenciaga-printed black leather. The iconic Jackie bag features all the classic features, such as the gold piston closure and buckled top handle, but instead of being crafted from plain black leather, the exterior is printed with the Balenciaga brand name in stark white lettering.
These bags have sold out on the Gucci site so you’ll have to head to a resale site like Fashionphile to find the collaboration.
Balenciaga’s Hourglass bag has been reimagined in the iconic Gucci GG Supreme canvas. This small leather bag perfectly explores the idea of authenticity in the fashion industry, through the juxtaposition of the GG monogram against the gold B logo that embellishes the front of the bag. This handbag is fitted with a top handle and a shoulder strap so you can style it in many different ways.
We hope you found this analysis of Gucci vs Balenciaga helpful! For more luxury fashion content, check out the post below.