In The North Face x Gucci, Gorpcore Gets Trippy
Big, waterproof, overly technical coats: menswear loves them. Because in Arc'teryx, and Snow Peak, and all the other labels that make us want to live outdoors like the friluftslivers of Norway, there's a grizzled functionality. We want to tackle the cruel mistress that is Mother Nature. We want to conquer the Everestian run to Tesco Express, just like Edmund Hillary but with Citymapper. Look, we just want to tap into our ongoing, desperate need to play hunter gatherer in a society that no longer requires it (nature or nurture? You decide!) The outdoors are tough. Gorpcore won't let us forget it.
But they're not supposed to be treacherous. Or at least that's not why we originally romanticized them. The outdoors are restorative, long seen to be a natural balm to the stresses of modern life with its calming landscapes and babbling brooks and unfriendly locals. Which is correct. They really are. And in the long-awaited crossover between The North Face and Gucci, we've got the great outdoors as pagans and Greenpeace intended: happy, carefree, and a bit trippy.
First teased back in September via TikTok, when a rippling lone flag bearing both brand logos was staked into the side of a mountain, the full release will likely meet the expectations of hypeheads that had auto-refresh at the ready. Colour is plentiful and bright (a trademark of The North Face that distances the outfit from its competitors), but Guccified in the prints of flammable Seventies sofas and Woodstockian florals. Creative director Alessandro Michele may've switched his Grand Budapest Hotel signature for something a little closer to Kurt Cobain grunge in recent collections, but his inkling for maximalism is alive and well.
And that's just the puffer jackets. A range of boots, T-shirts, backpacks and bobble hats are just as punchy, emblazoned with the dual logos to put give gorpcore – a movement that prides itself on functionality – well within fashion's base camp. What's more, it follows a recent slew of brands that've focused on the lighter elements of the great outdoors, like Loewe and Moncler.
Fashion is fun. So too is playing outside. And when The North Face and Gucci combines the two for a collection that feels genuinely innovative and useful (and timely, given that the great outdoors is one of our few forms of respite in these ungreat times), it's a big breath of vibrant, designer-stamped fresh air.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.