Vetements Took Me To Church at Paris Fashion Week AW16

(above) Lotto Volkova opened the show
Vetements was hands down the show I was most excited for part of the Paris Fashion Week schedule. Unsurprisingly, as you can imagine, second on that list was Balenciaga, who's show is this coming Sunday, (Demna Gvasalia was announced as Creative Director in October last year). Also an interesting note I've took so far since even back at the men's shows in January, is the change that is happening to in ways, a corrupt fashion system. Last year was defined by so many shock departures and hires from established fashion houses, Raf Simons at Dior and Alber Elbaz of Lanvin left debate about the fast pace of the fashion industry and how in some ways its torturing designers. Designers that are say expected to design upwards of ten collections a year (including pre and resort). The stress these designers are put under is obviously unbearable, some with a "three-year" contract to get their vision out there and see a steady growth in sales is near enough impossible. Stress that in the past has seen the likes of Lee McQueen take his own life and John Galliano's breakdown that left him with nothing in an almost career-ending anti-semitic rant. Creative differences between emotional and fragile artists and majority shareholders has torn houses apart (the problem at Lanvin) and leaves the question open for as to why these multi-billion dollar corporate businesses, presumably do very little in protecting and looking after their creatives. I mention this in my Vetements review because Georgian brothers Demna and Guran Gvasalia (of Vetements) don't hold back on their thoughts of the fashion system as it is currently, and are boldly and irreverently flying the flag for positive change. Vetements has made the decision to now move to the men's shows in June as an "in-season" collection that hits shops immediately after the show, like few other houses, most notably Burberry and Tom Ford who have also gone in a similar direction in that the men's line has been dropped and all will be shown and sold immediately as part of the Womenswear seasons. The first of course being this coming September. February 5th 2016 as for Vogue Runway anyway, who declared it "a date that will go down in history as the day it sank in that the whole fashion is about to reconfigure." Bit dramatic I must add, but what can I say? us fashion kids love drama.

(above) Total Fucking Darkness at Vetements AW2016
As we all know by now, Vetements is derived from the French meaning of clothes and with a manifesto of great individual pieces that people want to wear, which don't necessarily have to correspond to a common collection denominator. The cut-up and stitched back together Levis jeans, the oversized hoodies and bombers, playful, logo-heavy basics or floor length raincoats have dominated street style of the past few months. In the past Vetements have shown in a sex club and last season in kitschy, old-fashioned Chinese restaurant Le President, this season however was staged in the gothic American Cathedral in Paris. "It was a kind of a dark season" Demna revealed after the show, "we had a lot of emotions going on in the team - not depressed but definitely a dark mood. And when we thought about places where we could show, after a restaurant and a club, a church was the perfect concept." It was also revealed that the design collective couldn't help but think that that dark place might have also had something to do with the horrific terrorist attacks on the city back in November. The city that is so intrinsically linked to the making and shaping of the Vetements brand. Gvasalia also expressed his freedom that he feels in amongst his cohorts in Paris and says "It's a generation that isn't really restrained by class, which is how Paris should be. This is a generation that tries to create its own rules to live by." And that couldn't sum Vetements up any better, they're not ones to hold back on emotion. 

The collection was opened by the coolest stylist in the world right now, Vetements key contributor Lotto Volkova, who also by the way was holding a bunch of yellow flowers. Super cute. And as always, the individual garments mixed with Lotta's styling made each look jump out to the acknowledgement of authority figures and rebel against them. Naughty Catholic school girl uniforms, dishevelled oversized ties and staple though-high tube socks made for a subversive take on St. Trinian's. Like with every collection so far, the play on oversized basics like hoodies, sweatpants and bomber jackets was what I loved most and this collection proved no different. This time though the collection had a much darker, moodier twist with more of a heavy metal-cum-goth aesthetic. References abounded in Guns n' Roses motifs alongside a finale walk to Sisters of Mercy soundtrack. For you late 1990's Attitude-era wrestling fans out there like myself, there was the most incredible oversized purple MA-1 bomber jacket with similar Undertaker's Ministry of Darkness/Satanic star logo to the back (above image) it also declared "Total Fucking Darkness" and "Drink from me And live forever." Amidst the brooding nature of the collection, many of the slogans were derived straight from the internet - they were both simultaneously uplifting and perhaps unintentionally funny. Slogans like "You Fuck'n Asshole", "Are We Having Fun Yet?", "Justin4Ever", "Sexual Fantasies" and "UltraSkinny." One particular slogan read "May The Bridges I Burn Light The Way." That one was my personal favourite. Demna Gvasalia wore that one as he said he related to that on a deeper level, finding it to be "positive message."

Silhouettes were also interesting, his admiration for everything oversized has inspired a whole list of designers, but this time Vetements changed the game up, silhouettes were shrunken and awkward. Sleeves were shortened, shoulders weren't dropped but sharp, square and hunched. Trousers were gathered in the back to pinch the waist in and belts were worn high. "We did everything oversized for a few seasons now and we didn't really feel like this is the only message we want to do in terms of volume," explained Gvasalia. "It was more about playing with proportions. The silhouette is the opposite of what we did for four seasons now, but it's also us." The silhouette isn't the only instantly recognisable "thing" Vetements offer though, branding there playful non-logos have also become instantly recognisable, especially through social media and it is something they continue to evolve and reinvent each season. Whether its stating the word "collar" on the collar, a spliced security logo or DHL (yes again, the delivery service) logo, people know they're Vetements and that is something quite spectacular given how young the brand actually is.













 Images courtesy of i-D, Dazed Digital and Vogue Runway
The Wolf of High Street