Ummmm….before I say anything else: YES it is about the MEN’s Vetements Fall/Winter 2018 collection, even though you might think otherwise. Like dresses, headscarves, and pointy pumps….
The men’s Vetements was shown in the corridors of the Paul Bert Serpette market, north of Paris.
Demna Gvasalia called his collection “The Elephant in the Room”—the elephant in question being the subject of Martin Margiela, and how much Gvasalia has been influenced by the reappropriation methods of the man whose house he worked for, albeit after MM himself had left the company he founded.
The collection had a softer, chicer side to it, like pairing a belted bourgeois fur coat flipped inside out to expose the nylon lining, matched with a polka dot scarf. Or a look fusing a floral black prairie dress to the outside of a reversed khaki trench, with printed full bodysuits, or “morph suits,” worn under a lot of the women’s looks.
This idea of turning oversized jackets around to expose the tags was very Margiela-esque, as were the tribal tattoo T-shirts and crumpled suits that looked as though they’d been picked off the bedroom floor.
When Vetements began, it was a reflection of something underground, Berlin-and-Paris suburban clubby. It’s been responsible for the apotheosis of the hoodie as a fashion object, for the step-hemmed jeans craze, for oversize shapes, giant shoulders, and the ubiquitous comeback of floral peasant dresses.
With this collection, you could see far more intensely worked-at fabrics, hybrids of garments, and details going on. The jeans were cut out like army camouflage net, the denim jackets scattered with floral embroidery, leg-hugging spike-heeled boots were painted with flowers. The tour T-shirts of before had been retooled as patchworks.
Yep, there were certainly the inevitable Vetements hoodies. The elephant in the room blocked their disappearance from the scene. But generally, what stayed in the mind was the eye-grabbing layering of the coats—ladylike print dresses sewn in back of trenchoats, the inside-out exposure of linings, the visible garment labels, not to mention the unresolved curiosity as to what came attached (those Burberry-style checked scarves—yes or no?).
All in all? With this collection, Gvasalia got out all his thoughts, for women and men, way ahead of the rest of the Fall 2018 shows, which start in February.
He’s an agenda setter who almost expects to be copied when those collections roll around. There’s just one remaining elephant on the loose around this show. As much as most of the clothes might’ve looked like repurposed old ones, they weren’t. When the time comes, it will be specially manufactured new ones. Gvasalia remarked on how difficult it is to make clothes look worn. Wouldn’t it be better for the industry’s philosophical upcycler in chief to really start taking the lead in fashion recycling?