If some time ago we wondered the opposite, if Balenciaga was becoming the new VETEMENTS, now the trend is reversed after a series of episodes of darkness and other aesthetic factors that seem to have sentenced the fate of the high-end brand. A change of plane that glimpses the relegation of Demna Gvasalia‘s ‘main character’ to a secondary character who abandons his role as an antagonist of the established codes.
It is a new reality in which VETEMENTS once again generates the cult that it has already experienced in the past, with a new generation of followers who now worship Guram’s post-apocalyptic fashion religion.
ALTERING THE SCRIPT
The tables seem to have turned for Balenciaga and Vetements. Brands that have been inspired in a dual way, as a creative synergy that has often seemed to be merged even in the same aesthetic or disruptive identity that drinks from decadence, exaggeration and darkness. From the capitalization of rave culture or contemporary anti-fashion that began versioning VETEMENTS in 2014 when it came on the scene.
Vetements’ comeback thus recalls its own glory days, to its origins when its DHL T-shirts ironized with the status quo of fashion; representing an ‘anti-capitalist ode’ towards consumption as reflected by Demna in her last apotheosis collection set in a Parisian McDonald’s, as well as the deployment on the streets of omnipresent pieces from which it fed, above all, counterfeit or counterfeit fashion. After all, this design collective always defined itself as an ‘anti-luxury’ brand, even if its prices posed a contradictory argument.
Vetements’ decline following Demna’s presentation of the collection for McDonald’s in 2019, and his subsequent departure from the house, ushered in a post-Demna era that left the collective bereft of a leader, with only normcore lookbooks on Instagram seemingly empty of meaning.
When Guram became the brand’s creative director in 2021, and introduced VTMNTS, he did so accompanied by a two-page press release in which he promised to “start a small revolution” in fashion by selling, as he reflected after the fact, expensive pieces. In other words, Vetements was becoming or reaffirming itself as a luxury brand, something it had denied since its origins.
THE NEW VETEMENTS
VTMNTS‘s new era of radiance coincides with an apparently decadent time for Balenciaga, who, after having hacked or ironized fashion through shredded sneakers or $2k garbage bag handbags, now opts for a much more moderate aesthetic with which it plays with the establishment.
In contrast, since the beginning of this year, Vetements’ virtual profile seems to glimpse that #NewVetements through street style photos, selfies alongside celebrities or viral scenes that initiate a strange revival that was also reflected in the brand’s spring-summer 2024 collection, both in the lookbook and in its interpretation of haute couture. This was the first proposal that managed to captivate the public since Demna’s departure, initiating a change of narrative in the house.
In it, we could see a review of hybrid streetwear with colossal silhouettes and bodycon, blazers or outerwear garments that ‘hung from the mannequin’ from the extreme exaggeration, while others wrapped the figures as sculpted bodice dresses. Though what captured the collective gaze were Vetements’ recognizable pieces in 16 sizes larger with below-the-knee tops or XXL long pants, which, despite reinterpreting the art of exaggeration once again, felt fresh and new that aimed to recreate the shock of AI-generated clothing with garments in the real world.
Guram’s new direction for VETEMENTS is thus generating rumors of an exciting luxury-oriented comeback and a ‘renewed identity’ with visions of grandeur. We can only wait to see the outcome in material form.
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