Subversion. Good to get the word out right off the bat, because it’s a theme that will reoccur several times when discussing the new Vetements line, which features eighteen collaborations with other brands. Comme des Garçons, Reebok, Levi’s—these are just some of the labels Demna Gvasalia revealed he was working with in an interview with Cathy Horne for The Cut.
For Vetements’ show, which will take place in Paris this Sunday (also ahead of schedule by two months) the decision of which brands to use came from what each was an “expert” in. For example, as Hanes was involved, we might expect to see some white cotton t-shirts or boxer shorts.
So, what exactly is being subverted? For starters, the very idea of what it means to be a clothing label. While the designs come from the Vetements team, all of the materials and production will come from the participating collaborators. Which means that Vetements is a clothing company that isn’t necessarily making the clothes.
The idea of the brands themselves is also being reworked. Vetements-ifying the looks means taking what these brands are known for and doing the exact opposite. Brioni is known for luxury and tailoring, but here Vetements is deliberately cutting corners for a disheveled look. Juicy Couture has a reputation for being “trashy” (Gvasalia’s words), so he wanted to add a touch of elegance. Speaking of elegance, Manolo Blahnik shoes were designed with destruction in mind.
This is an interesting way to acknowledge consumer logo recognition and brand identity. It’s similar to what Moschino has done in the past with McDonald’s and Chanel (and what Vetements has already done with the DHL logo shirt), although here, the added seal of approval that is the collaboration also takes a swipe back at Vetements itself. The brand is just too damn cool, with its styling and its stylishness. It’s fun to see that its “thing” can actually be applied to just about anyone, and that Gvasalia et al. are in on the joke.
While seeing how exactly each brand is interpreted will be fun to watch, it will also be amusing to see if or how different brands are paired together. True street style is not what people wear to be photographed in front of fashion shows, it’s what people throw on to grab something quickly from the bodega. Vetements, the ultimate street-style brand of now, understands that. Gvasalia and co. see you in your Juicy tracksuit or donning your boyfriend’s Brioni because it was closest to the door. They see you and they like it.