Post by CM
If you didn’t believe it before, the mere existence of Vetements proves that the fashion world is being truly shaken up. Like so many industries that in recent years have been forced to drastically alter their approach to business thanks to the internet, fashion’s new forerunners are making traditionalists very uncomfortable with their rapid rise and subsequent huge popularity.
The label was founded in 2014 by brothers Demna and Guram Gvasalia and five other pals, who all attempted at the beginning to stay anonymous in their quest to move fashion away from the cult of the celebrity designer. That Demna has gone on to become creative director of Balenciaga, taking over from Alexander Wang, is beside the point (for now); his brother told a panel at the Vogue 100 Festival that “Balenciaga is like Demna’s extra-curricular activity”, firmly asserting that their focus is on this boundary breaking brand.
You’ve probably seen the DHL look; their latest collection comprises of appropriated, everyday logos and urban, internet-age inspired street style. The only difference is their oversized DHL branded t-shirt will set you back €245.
The concept is to move away from aspirational fashion into a more real-world feel; young, hip designers tapping into the conciousness of youth culture (albeit ‘youths’ who can afford to part ways with hundreds or thousands of euros on a skirt emblazoned with Liam Neeson’s character in the shite Star Wars movies).
Some inspiration comes from the devil-may-care street looks from downtown Georgia (the country, not the state) where the brothers come from. But that’s where problems arise for me. Is it all just a sniggering in-joke, designed to emperor’s new clothes the spend-thrift population? Is it signing a urinal and calling it art?
Maybe. But. Their last show closed to cheers when Russian stylists and Vetements muse Lotta Volkova Adams strutted down the runway. Volkova Adams is no Gigi Hadid, yet she emanates that cool, subversive thing that makes you want to be a tiny bit like her. She first discovered fashion from Eurotrash, when Jean Paul Gauliter made his weird and raunchy appearances, and that certainly goes along with the collective’s aesthetic – that fashion is a bit weird, can be ridiculous but is also a lot of fun.
It’s very rough and ready – those boots sported by Volkova Adams are ‘reclaimed’ – and maybe that’s why so many young and forward thinking customers are rushing to sing it’s praise. In an age where fashion is still very much a luxury commodity, it’s kind of funny, sort of rebellious, to see and be seen in a crap yellow t-shirt and a denim mini skirt you could easily have picked up from a market stall and distressed yourself.
Vetements is definitely the annoying youngest teen of the family, wanting to make waves, clamouring to be nonchalant but seething with ambition and annoying the older cousins who have done everything by the book but haven’t made as much of an impact. It’s what Snapchat is to Facebook, or Dadism was to the conventional art world – it’s tearing up the rule book and shoving the remains down everyone’s throats as a bit of food for thought. As for Demna’s first outing for Balenciaga? Well, here’s a taste of what he has in store…