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Balenciaga vs. Gucci: How to Choose These Luxury Brands?

By Laura
June 28, 2023
7 minutes

Rivalry among fashion big weights is always an exciting concept, especially when their fans and customers are in a hot debate. It’s more like a football discussion between two die-hard fans of established clubs in Europe; you can guess how hot and inconclusive it will be.

Balenciaga and Gucci have become internationally acknowledged street-style labels that have even attracted pirates’ admiration on every continent. These luxury brands have existed for over a century and have served different generations of fashionistas in clothing, handbags, shoes, and the like.

Just recently, both fashion heavyweights agreed to a collaboration called the Hacker Project . The coming together saw the production of fashion items having a touch of Balenciaga and Gucci. Great, isn’t it? Of course, it has since witnessed praises and a few backlashes since its inception.

But each brand’s products still exist, and it’s not always easy for intending buyers to choose. If you are struggling with the Balenciaga vs. Gucci debate, you’ve come to the right place for enlightenment and guidance. I’m going to walk you through their history, products, mission, and other details that will help you know how to choose each one.

Balenciaga vs. Gucci: Profile and History

I will present the background information of these two global luxury brands in a table to help you compare them quickly. You may want to pay special attention to their years of establishment and mission statements to see which aligns with your life’s goals.

Parameters

Balenciaga

Gucci

Originating Country

Spain (San Sebastian)

Italy (Florence)

Year of Establishment

1919 (104 years ago)

1921 (102 years ago)

Global Headquarters

France (Paris)

Italy (Florence)

Brief History

Christobal Balenciaga, the brainchild behind this global luxury brand, is best described as a non-conformist. And that’s because instead of following fashion trends, he chooses to create one. His overarching goal was to dress women of impeccable character in a manner different from what Christian Dior and other existing fashion houses in his days did. His clients nearly worshiped his ideas and person that in 1968, one Countess Mona Bismarck closed herself up in her home for three days to mourn Balenciaga’s retirement.

Balenciaga was the pioneering designer of baby dolls, waistless and tunic ‘sack’ dresses, and Lariat handbags. The brand, which first began in Spain and Madrid in the early 20th century, had to move to France because of Spain’s Civil War. On getting to Paris in France, it recorded an almost immediate success that continued to boom till the civil war ended in Spain. The popular lines of this label were (and are) Sleek and Linear, a deviation from the “New Look” championed by Christian Dior. Balenciaga focused more on females’ waist and engineered many fashionable dresses to complement it

Following his retirement in 1968, Cristobal Balenciaga closed his famous fashion house that year and died four years later. Nothing happened to the Fashion House for 14 years until Jacques Bogart bought it. This acquisition opened doors to more styles like the ready-to-wear lines and more designers.

Italian brands are renowned for craftsmanship, innovation, and authenticity, and Gucci had not relented in these virtues since 1921 when it was first opened. Gucci had always been for the elite since its inception, producing luxury equestrian equipment and luggage items for Italy’s upper class. It initially focused on leather-made goods, knitwear, handbags, shoes, and many silk goods until material scarcity caused by the Second World War caused it to venture into cotton-made products.

Around this same time, Gucci came up with the Double G monogram and strip, which have now become iconic with the brand. The global fame of Gucci as the brand of choice among travelers happened in the 1950s, just as WWI was rounding off. The arrowhead of the brand, Guccio Gucci, kicked the bucket in 1953, but the business continued to be managed by his sons – Rodolfo, Aldo, and Vasco.

From traveling items to handbags and shoes, Gucci, under the leadership of the three sons, included wristwatches, jewelry, and eyewear in their product lines in the mid-’60s.

Product Lines / Main Features

Balenciaga had always insisted that his product lines were Sleek and Linear. Despite the many changes to its designers over the years, successive owners have struggled to uphold this vision. These lines motivated the first-ever high-waisted baby doll dresses and cocoon coats, which to date, many still refer to as Balenciaga’s most impressive mark in the fashion ecosystem.

Gucci’s primary love and focus was on leather-made, high-end luggage materials for those who can afford them. From its inception, it had always been a brand for the wealthy and hasn’t changed since then. And while it now produces cotton-made fashion items like clothes, current owners still favor leather materials over cotton and have many accessories to its credit.

Fun Facts

Balenciaga and Gucci Fashion Houses are now owned by the global fashion house giant, Kering. Balenciaga became part of Kering’s property in 2001.

An estimated 1,325 employees work for this global luxury brand as of 2019.

Balenciaga recorded net global net sales of $272.6m in 2022.

Kering acquired Gucci in 2004 after purchasing $8.8 billion stakes in the company.

As of 2019, 17,157 employees work at Gucci’s locations globally.

The global luxury brand records an annual revenue of over 9 billion Euros from sales.

Reputation

Both brands have had tough times through the years, but their reputations for delivering high-end luxury products have not changed. Balenciaga is the brand of choice among women with class and vision globally.

Due to succession issues after the death of one of the three sons of Gucci, the brand suffered a monumental setback for some years before being rescued. Now, it is globally acknowledged as one of the most successful and lasting Fashion Houses in Italy and worldwide.

balenciaga gucci

Balenciaga vs. Gucci: Product Lines

Having looked at the background information of these two luxury brands, it’s time to consider what they sell to see if there’s any difference. Again, I’m going to employ a table to highlight this vital consideration.

Balenciaga

Gucci

Handbags

Apparel

Shoes

Shoes

Read-to-wear footwear

Accessories

Accessories

Watches

Clothing for men and women

Cosmetics

Fragrances

Jewelry

Handbags

Both luxury brands offer similar products, except Balenciaga does not directly produce its fragrances. Also, you will find more female apparel or clothes with Balenciaga than male ones, but Gucci seems a bit gender-balanced. Similarly, Gucci has more product varieties and styles than Balenciaga. Let’s look deeper at these luxury labels using other parameters.

Balenciaga vs. Gucci: How Do They Fair Price-Wise?

gucci No luxury brand is ever cheap for an average buyer, and certainly not Balenciaga or Gucci. However, Gucci’s products are generally more expensive than Balenciaga’s. To illustrate this, I will use two products that they both offer. Handbags from Gucci sell for between $800 and $8,000, while Balenciaga’s handbag prices hover around $700 and $6,000. There are Gucci bags that cost as much as $36,000, but there are no such price equivalents with Balenciaga.

If we consider their shoes, this price disparity is also pronounced. Gucci’s leather shoes start from $400 and go as high as $5,000. This range contrasts Balenciaga’s shoes which range from $350 to $2,000. The price difference shows that while both brands have shoes that start from similar prices, Gucci produces more expensive options than Balenciaga. And as mentioned above, beyond price, Gucci has more shoe varieties than Balenciaga.

Balenciaga vs. Gucci: Which is More Popular?

gucci ins

From its inception, Gucci had always had the upper hand over Balenciaga in terms of popularity. Many celebrities and political figures have helped popularize it, and even today, its massive online presence and approval are something Balenciaga will have to double up to meet.

Nevertheless, when Demna Gvasalia took over Balenciaga as the creative director, things changed slightly as Balenciaga began to outshine Gucci in popularity. In 2021, Balenciaga dusted Gucci to the top of most searched luxury fashion brands . Perhaps, the current social media followership will further establish which of the two luxury brands is more popular.

Social Media Platforms

Balenciaga

Gucci

Twitter

Left Twitter in 2022

7.1 million

Facebook

2.5 million

19 million

Instagram

14.2 million

51.9M

Gucci is clearly ahead of Balenciaga based on these social platforms’ followership strength, and that may be because more people prefer it to Balenciaga or other fashion brands.

Balenciaga vs. Gucci: Who Has the Better Craftsmanship?

For fashion products like handbags and shoes, craftsmanship matters a lot. Both Balenciaga and Gucci are well above average in this regard, with both utilizing high-quality Italian leather and expertise to fabricate eye-catching and long-lasting products.

The slight difference, which may distinguish between them in terms of superior craftsmanship, is where both operate. Gucci had always sought and produced its product from Italy, while Balenciaga made some in Italy and others in China. The China-produced products are often less expensive but also inferior to the Italian products.

As such, if you want the best and most consistent leather-produced shoes or handbags and you can afford them, Gucci is superior to Balenciaga in this sense.

Balenciaga vs. Gucci: Which Brand Lasts Longer?

balenciaga bag Without being durable, no brand can earn itself the luxury badge. Balenciaga and Gucci products are mostly leather-made, and none of these labels tries to cut corners when crafting their products. Nevertheless, from the material employed and customers’ feedback, Gucci still has a higher resale value after a few years of use.

Balenciaga’s leather products are usually lighter than Gucci’s because their leathers are sourced from lamb’s skin. On the contrary, Gucci’s leather shoes and bags are made from cow hides, which have a longer lifespan than lamb’s skin. Besides this almost insignificant difference, both brands are at pal in product quality.

So, How Do You Choose Between These Luxury Brands?

First, neither brand is a greenhorn in the fashion space, as 100 years in the business is no joke. Again, since both are globally acknowledged luxury fashion brands, there is a standard of operation that none doesn’t want to compromise. Stated differently, a purchase from either will not likely lead to regret.

That said, Balenciaga leads Gucci in the area of affordability. It offers luxury at a price that allows you to save for other purposes. As such, if saving money while looking exquisite is your life’s goal, choose Balenciaga over Gucci. There are slight differences in product styling and maybe outside approval, but those do not invalidate Balenciaga’s luxuriousness.

Conversely, if you have enough means to purchase ANYTHING you want and do not consider your budget restraining, go for Gucci. It has more product varieties than Balenciaga and certainly got a higher market value than it.

Conclusion

While acknowledging the global impacts of both Balenciaga and Gucci, they each have some things to improve. For Balenciaga, it must work on stabilizing its designers. Changing designers incessantly, I settled fans.

Gucci, on its part, has to work seriously on counterfeit products that have made identifying authentic products a nightmare.

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