Vetements’ Fashion World Domination

Article publié le 4 juillet 2016

Byline : Jessica Michault
Photo : courtesy of Vetements

Juicy Couture, Canada Goose and Manolo Blahnik were just some of the brands that took up the challenge of collaborating with Demna Gvasalia on his lasted ready-to-wear collection for Vetements. The show, presented at the Galeries Lafayette yesterday, was on the official French couture calendar. A benchmark move for a brand on the path to fashion world domination.

In the space of two years, the brand Vetements and the dynamic duo brothers who launched the label, Demna and Guram Gvasalia, have succeeded in their pursuit of industry domination. The final hurdle was jumped on Sunday when the haute couture fashion week started in Paris with the runway show of the brand’s latest ready-to-wear collection. It basically drop kicked traditional haute couture to the curb and paved a path to what could be a fashion new world order.

Vetements spring-summer 2017

The system is old, and it has to be reinvented and it has to be changed,” said Miroslava Duma, the co-founder of and a close friend of the brothers. “Guram was really the first person to talk about this out loud. They are pioneers, and I think they have the guts to at least try to change the system.”

When it was announced that the cutting edge house has been accepted on the official couture calendar this season it sent chockwaves through the industry. It can takes brands years, if ever, to be invited to show on schedule. The Vetements brand did it in two.

The past twenty-four months has been a whirlwind, to say the least, for the house. A company that started in Demna’s living room found itself, after its first runway show, with 27 stores picking up the line, thus making the label profitable almost right from the start.

Vetements spring-summer 2017

Then in March of last year, Vetements was one of the finalists for the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers. Six months later it was announced that Demna would be taking over from Alexander Wang as the new artistic director of Balenciaga. There he not only took on the womenswear but he also, this past June, presented the first catwalk menswear collection for the house.

Demna brings a real youthful energy to fashion,” explained Cecilia Dean. “And there is that fanaticism around the Vetements brand that is really refreshing. I don’t think we have had that in a while. I think that is very exciting. “

So what makes Vetements so special? The brand has tapped into the fashion zeitgeist where the street and real life garments are crashing up against creative minds who want to explore the potential of the familiar, transforming and elevating those wardrobe staples and everyday favorites into new entities that at once underline the mundane aspects of life and makes those prosaic pieces look and feel special.

Vetements spring-summer 2017

This perspective, which has its lineage in the work of designer Martin Margiela – a brand where Demna worked for four years –has created a real cult following including famous fans like Kanye West, Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift and Rihanna and die-hard fashionistas who will do whatever it takes to get their hands on one of the limited edition Vetement creations.

And this is an important point. Guram has been extremely careful about where the Vetement brand is distributed and has turned down some major buyers in the industry who he feels don’t understand the fundamental nature of the house.

Vetements spring-summer 2017

He is also implementing that age old practice of supply and demand, similar to the tactics used by Supreme, of limiting the production run on many pieces. After all, scarcity is a great way to build desire.

In my opinion it’s all about strength and braveness. On one side you have Gucci and on the other side you have Vetements,” argued Simone Marchetti, the fashion editor of La Repubblica. “They are really redesigning, rebuilding the old fashion panorama. Talking about Vetements, in particular, Demna is changing all the rules. And I think it is also important to not just focus on him. His brother Guram is the mind behind the business and he is very, very good. It’s like an amazing sailor in a perfect storm.”

Speaking of perfect storms, that is what Vetement had on its hands on Sunday. The brand took on the whole  “fashion collaboration” phenomenon, which is starting to sound as tired as the ubiquitous “pop up store” trend, and pushed it to its absolute limit. The brand teamed up with over 17 different labels, each of them leaders in their particular field, to create garments of the highest standard that were given the added oomph of a Vetement twist.

It was very modern,” said Carine Roitfeld after the show. “It was the first time I have ever seen a collaboration like that and it worked very well. It had meaning and was very well edited. Oh and those Manolo Blahnik hip-wader boots were just fantastic,” she added.

She was right; those Manolo Blahnik boots were fashion editorial fodder for sure. So were the classic button-up business man shirts from Brioni that, in Vetement’s hands, were designed to deliberately pucker open in the middle or the supersized, inflated Canada Goose outerwear. Looks that had a bit more real world potential included the Juicy Couture sweatpants evening gowns, the all-in-one Levi’s denim jumpsuits and the vacuum-sealed-looking oversized leather jacket created in concert with Schott NYC.

I think that is the way forward for our industry,” stated Glenda Bailey the editor-in-chief of American Harper’s Bazaar. “I thought that was so well executed. It made me smile and it made me very happy because you looked at those clothes and it felt very cool. It was exciting to see all of that merchandise, all of that spirit, on one runway.”

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