Despite the recent departure of from Vetements the brand shows no signs of slowing down, their latest collection is filled with the same witty reinvention of wardrobe staples. Vetements without Demna looks very much the same as Vetements with Demna. It’s the first collection for Guram Gvasalia without his co-founder sibling Demna Gvasalia, who is the creative director of Balenciaga. The label has single-handedly upended modern luxury with items that riff on thrift store graphic tees, band merch, hoodies, vintage Levi jeans and work jackets sourced from uniforms or performance wear. For Fall 2020 Vetements continues to make headlines for casting celebrity lookalikes including, Kate Moss, Angelina Jolie, Mike Tyson, Snoop Dog, and Sharon Stone, provoking a dialogue about real vs. fake.
In an homage to Demna’s legacy, the anonymous team behind Vetements mined the archives (nine seasons) and imbued the collection with the signature of it’s predecessor. Some of Demna’s most famous pieces were resurrected in various ways. For example in the opening look, a black hoodie and the much Instagrammed flaming applique boots from his first collection opened the show. Draped 90s style floral dresses, one of the brand’s signature looks were cut as evening gowns and knee-grazing cocktail dresses for party girls. And with tailoring now replacing streetwear, oversized blazers have largely replaced the hoodie. New suits were elevated with floor length skirts rather than the usual trousers. Jackets were shown as minidresses, as were trench coats and some rounded shoulder puffer coats with cinched waists. Metal band t-shirts were paired with jeans and combat boots, but also delicate tutu style nylon skirts with so many fluffy layers they looked like a pompom.
Sculpted dramatic jackets have long been a trademark of the brand, helping to catapult Vetements coveted signature silhouettes to superstar status. This season jackets came in many shapes, not only the oversized, boxy variety, but also quite rounded, raised, and even turned inside out as seen on a gray tweed blazer. Puffer jackets deviated from soft rounded shapes, to full squares with shoulders resembling an extended cereal box. These were paired with the all-in-one fetish knife boots detailed for fall with new athletic color-blocked styles.
Vetements’s low brow approach to high fashion has put them on the map, but its also attracted plenty of criticism that perhaps it isn’t “real” fashion. The celebrity dopplegangers who walked the runway seemed to poke fun at this critique, saying both who cares, and also what makes something real? All fashion is built out of a language of visual cues, history, and context. And at any rate, the craftsmanship and quality of the clothing reflect how seriously the design team takes their work. It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Vetements without Demna Gvasalia, but so far the house is staying true to its roots and continuing to keep tongues wagging. It sure feels like a surefooted return.