The Story Behind Vetements’ Shrinkage

As the fashion realm adopts the buzzy brand’s oversized look, Vetements switches things up

Pick five collections that have walked down the Fall 2016 runway. Chances are at least three of them will have sleeves that reach beyond the fingertips, oversized wool coats, or big quilted jackets. Acne Studios, Isabel Marant, Givenchy, Chloé, Nina Ricci, Jacquemus and more all incorporated Vetements’ signature, slouchy, long-sleeved, puffy look into their lineups—and that’s just in Paris. No, I’m not saying that anyone is intentionally copying Vetements—the brand is just the hottest thing on the planet at the moment, and its distinctive look seems to be what the kids want right now. And no, I’m not saying Vetements invented oversized clothing or gritty, deconstructed ’90s grunge. I’m just saying that the brand’s aesthetic seems to be permeating the fashion zeitgeist. 

But there’s a reason everyone is touting designer Demna Gvasalia as a trendsetter—he sets trends. He doesn’t follow them, even if he spurred them. So, what did this clever cat, who, by the way, made his critically acclaimed debut at Balenciaga yesterday, do for Fall? Well, just as everyone is jumping on the big, baggy bandwagon, Vetements showed a collection dominated by shrunken sweatshirts, velvet suits, denim jackets, and beyond. The silhouettes here (with some exceptions, obviously) were tight and tiny, but still exuded the brand’s special breed of offbeat cool. “We did shrink a lot of stuff this season,” Gvasalia told me after his show. “We’ve done so much oversized for a few seasons now and we didn’t really feel like that was the only message we wanted to [present] in terms of volume. It was more about playing with proportions,” he continued. “We really shrunk pieces—we washed them on high temperature and said, Let’s just see what happens. So basically, the opposite of oversizing—shorter sleeves, very small shoulders that blew up…But we had both in the collection. We kind of liked the continuity of keeping things from before and adding new stuff. So it’s kind of building up our DNA.” Mission accomplished. Will this tidbit “break the internet” like the nude selfie Kim Kardashian posted today? Probably not. (Also, doesn’t she know it’s fashion week? The idea is to wear all the clothes, not none of them.) But still, fun fact, non?

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