While some celebrity-brand hookups are matches made in heaven, others can leave us feeling cold or wracking our brains as to why and how they happened. A bit like actual hookups.
Done right, nothing stirs up a consumer frenzy like a good old collab. As Kanye’s Yeezy Boosts for adidas have proved, people will even ditch their beds for tents pitched on the street to get their hands on some grail co-branded goods.
Get it wrong, though (as so many grab-the-money-and-run projects have proved) and both parties can kiss any credibility they once had goodbye.
Here are the best and worst of recent history:
Kanye West x A.P.C.
Like him or lump him, rate him or rant incessantly about him, Kanye is one of the biggest trendsetters on the face of the earth right now. Meanwhile A.P.C. is one of the leading names in Parisian cool, consistently delivering quality wardrobe essentials infused with quintessentially French style. This collaboration’s #GODLEVEL success, therefore, was pretty much written in the stars.
Spread over two seasons, Kanye x A.P.C. worked because 1) it looked like A.P.C., 2) you could imagine Kanye actually wearing it, and 3) most importantly, it was a collection of military- and workwear-inspired pieces that every man’s wardrobe needs.
OK, maybe not the $150 balaclava. But you get the picture.
Bradley Wiggins x Fred Perry
British casualwear brand with a historic cultural appeal meets seven-time Olympic medallist/modern-day mod/the man who brought rock ‘n’ roll and sideburns to the Tour de France, cyclist Sir Bradley Wiggins.
Not, perhaps, the most organic of pairings – Fred’s known primarily for its polo shirts, not performance gear – but there’s enough synergy here (Wiggins’ Britishness, his mod affiliations) for this long-running collaboration to make sense.
And atypically for a sports personality-fashion collaboration, it actually looks good, featuring quarter-zip tipped cycling shirts, track jackets and low-top trainers in a 1960s-inspired palette.
Kendrick Lamar x Reebok
There’s not – on paper, at least – a whole lot of common ground shared by one of Compton’s finest emcees and the Bolton-born sportswear giant, but the results of Lamar’s riff on Reebok’s Ventilator model speak for themselves.
Unveiled last year, the tasteful off-white trainer features Kendrick’s signature woven into the tongue while the words ‘Blue’ and ‘Red’ appear stitched onto the left and right heels, respectively, nodding to the long-standing beef between L.A. gangs the Bloods and the Crips.
So fire was Lamar’s first foray that Reebok have tapped him again for his spin on the brand’s Classic leather trainer. It is, unsurprisingly, much better than a verse on a Taylor Swift track.
Michael Jordan x Nike
Bold, brilliant, and a perfect allegiance of two of the best brands in their respective arenas – and to think it almost never happened.
Released for the 1984-1985 NBA season, the first Nike Air Jordans, the Is, were the result of the sportswear giant’s long and arduous courtship of adidas-obsessed Chicago Bulls baller Jordan. On top of that, the Is were banned by then NBA commissioner David Stern for featuring “non-regulation” colours – i.e. too much black and not enough white.
Fast-forward to 2016, and the Nike Air Jordan series comprises some of the most iconic kicks of all time, with hundreds of variations on the theme released so far in an attempt to satiate our desire to be like Mike.
David Beckham x H&M
Speaking of sportsmen and style, Golden Balls sticks it in the back of the net every time. Unlike many other celebrities, he doesn’t just lend his name to any old brand for a quick payday, but actually walks the walk, too.
Beckham’s style is invariably on point, but it’s his accessibility – the pub-safe way Becks dresses – that’s earned him style icon status. Little wonder, then, that it was in Swedish affordable fashion retailer H&M that he found his match.
The relationship might have started a bit pants – with Beckham’s undies-heavy Bodywear collection – but his Modern Essentials line, launched in 2014, is the last word in celebrity clothing partnerships, marrying Beckham’s self-professed love of smart-casual classics with H&M’s peerless ability to offer decent quality clobber at price points you won’t need a Premier League footballer’s salary for.
Guess x A$AP Rocky
You could describe the 1990s, washed denim brand’s desperate attempt at a revival as a case of flogging a dead horse. In this particular case, though, the dead horse is more of a festering mule; and who better to flog that mule’s corpse than fashion victim of the hour, A$AP Rocky?
“I think this is dope because hip-hop hasn’t seen these colourways and patterns since the early 1990s,” says Rocky of the partnership. To which we’d respond, “For good reason.”
The only people falling for this awkward match are kids too young to remember just how tacky Guess stuff was. And those dumb enough to believe that a T-shirt will turn them into a fashion killer just because they saw a rapper get paid to wear it once.
Kid Cudi x Giuseppe Zanotti
If this seems strange, then what’s probably stranger is the fact that Kid Cudi isn’t the first rapper luxury footwear designer Zanotti has teamed with. Before Cudi, there was Kanye, who tapped Zanotti for four collaborative pairs of footwear for his debut spring 2012 runway show in Paris.
But just because it happened once doesn’t mean it should happen again. And these pictures – those of a sensitive disposition may want to look away now – prove that.
Inspired by Kid Cudi and his reputed preoccupation with intergalactic travel, this collaboration is not of this earth. And not in a good way.
Each to their own though; while it might not be to our liking, if a fire engine-coloured Vans Sk8-Hi with a couple of fish fingers slumped over the top of it is ‘your thing’, then you’re in for a treat.
Adam Levine x Kmart
When asked to name your style icons, that whiny bloke from Maroon 5 probably isn’t topping the list. Likewise, when you think of reputable fashion brands, gun-touting discount chain Kmart might just narrowly miss the cut.
The only thing that comes close to this madness is that time Ringo Starr advertised Skechers (yes, that actually happened).
Which collaborations do you rate and which do you wish were never born? What’s your dream celebrity-brand pairing?
Hook us up below.