This 'sun umbrella' from the adidas x Gucci collection has been the subject of much criticism in China for its lack of waterproofing. Photo: adidas x Gucci

Who would have thought it? Gucci, one of the world’s most popular luxury brands – especially in China – is currently the subject of a wave of controversy in the nation. The cause? An umbrella.

A much anticipated collaboration between Gucci and sports equipment manufacturer adidas went viral in hours, but not for the right reasons: users of Chinese social network Weibo were particularly critical of the 11,000 yuan (S$2,260) brolly, which doesn’t actually offer any protection from the rain.

While the collection is not yet available to buy – it will be released June 7 – internet users can already access the product pages and details of its various items. The retro-inspired ‘umbrella’, printed all over with adidas and Gucci monograms, is finished in a cotton and linen blend fabric with a carved birchwood handle.

A note, spotted on the bottom of the page, mentions that “this item is not waterproof and is meant for sun protection or decorative use.” On the Gucci US website, where it is priced US$1,290, it is listed as a ‘sun umbrella’.

Meanwhile, those who might actually like to protect themselves from the rain in the colors of adidas x Gucci can rest assured that the collection will feature a genuine umbrella.

Nevertheless, discussion is proving very lively on Chinese social networks, to the point that a hashtag relating to the topic currently has more than 140 million views, reported the BBC. “Would you spend more than 10,000 yuan on a non-waterproof umbrella?” wrote one Weibo user.

Questioned another: “Why don’t high-priced products have basic functions?”

Still, some may still see the umbrella as a worthy collector’s item – let’s not forget that Balenciaga’s latest campaign featured busted up sneakers selling for more than 1,000 euros, or S$1,500.

In any case, there’s little doubt that this retro-themed collection will be snapped up as soon as it’s In all likelihood, even if the umbrella doesn’t prove a global sensation, the buzz it has created will help the collaboration become even more viral than it already was.

Other pieces likely to prove viral hits include men’s leather clogs, pumps stamped with the adidas logo, and platform sandals/sliders – throwbacks from the ’80s and ’90s that are sure to make a splash. Let’s see what happens, June 7.

(Related: This 60’s sandal is back in fashion for summer 2022)

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