Did Gucci cross a line when it used AC/DC on its Autumn/Winter 17 runway?

When Axl Rose took over as AC/DC front man for a handful of US shows last year, it left fans feeling bittersweet. How could Axl in all his respected Sunset Strip sins and glory, replicate the original Bon Scott or the beefy grunt of Brian Johnson?

Fast-forward to last week's Gucci Fall show in Milan and fans of the Aussie rock band have been bitten once again – this time cheated on by one of fashion's greatest houses.

Creative director Alessandro Michele sent a male model down the runway wearing a designer AC/DC T-shirt. Shock horror! The model's fitted blue jeans were less ball hugging than Bon Scott, but this bizarre twist of fashion fate put Gucci on the B-side.

Rock renaissance

But it's not the first time Michele, dubbed the fashion wizard, has waved his magic wand over amped '80s rock renaissance themes.

Last year he unveiled a Gucci gown with the AC/DC logo emblazoned on the back of an evening dress for a high voltage fashion statement. It even made the cover of NYTimes Style Magazine showing us that rock has definitely crossed over into the mainstream.

This was the definition of anti-establishment – punk at its most raw and it didn't come with hefty price tag.

Jane Rocca

Why should you care?

Hitting the wrong note

Even if intended as irony, Michele's use of the AC/DC logo hits the wrong note.

Gucci might be one of Italy's most progressive fashion houses with a taste for the surreal and love of renaissance and pop culture. But when they repurpose rock 'n' roll's brand and plant it on the runway for the bourgeois to adopt at high-end prices, this is the antithesis of what rock 'n' roll represents.

Anti-establishment roots

The first band T-shirt emerged around the time of Elvis Presley and The Beatles – it's now become a big business to peddle your brand when on and off tour. One of the first to bring it to the catwalk was Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood who in the 70s ran a clothing store called Sex in London. They sold leather, rubber outfits and custom made T-shirts held together by safety pins.


It was when McLaren (who also managed The Sex Pistols/later Adam Ant) returned to London from a trip to the US on tour with the New York Dolls that he started making T-shirts influenced by NYC's punk scene.

This was the definition of anti-establishment – punk at its most raw and it didn't come with hefty price tag.

An important question

So when a big fashion house puts a band logo on the runway in 2017 you have to ask yourself has the band sold out?

We live in a time when Vogue magazine discuss the rise of metal iconography in fashion (because supermodel Bella Hadid and Justin Bieber wear band T-shirts so it's worth documenting). Suddenly it's cool to hail heavy metal and when Kanye West wears Megadeth the masses follow.

Trickle-down effect

Demna Gvasalia, creative director of Balenciaga and of Vetements fame, featured Parisian punks on the runway last year with a dose of metal inspired sweaters – from hooded pentagrams logos to gothic scripture typed down the sleeves of menswear tops. His looks are the most copied in the biz with Urban Outfitters quickly mimicking the look and marching items into store not longer afterwards.

Ramones T-shirts moved from the New York's once grotty Bowery to fashion boulevards while H&M sells Metallica, Nirvana and Guns 'n' Roses T-shirts for high kicks.  And Justin Bieber wore a custom made Metallica tee on his Purpose tour last year – bringing the band's message to his fans who probably weren't even born when Master of Puppets was released back in 1986.

We can also thank former One Direction member Zayn Malik enlisting Iron Maiden's illustrator to design a new T-shirt for his tour to take the metal font to the masses. Now we know metal T-shirts aren't just for bong smoking longhaired gents who thrive on double bass kicks.

Whatever wizardry is behind the 'Animalium' inspiration for Fall (and let's face it, fashion editors worldwide dare not criticise it) Michele should have stopped his rock referencing with the invitation – a limited edition 12-inch record (with tracks by Florence Welch and A$AP Rocky) which is probably more collectable.

What are your thoughts on rock band logos appearing on the runway? Tell us in the comments section below.