Words by Eleanor Taylor-Davis
NOTORIOUSLY ILLUSIVE AND FERVENTLY ADMIRED, THE PARISIAN FASHION LABEL-CUM- CREATIVE COLLECTIVE VETEMENTS IS AN ABERRATION IN THE WORLD OF FASHION, AND ITS NOVEL TAKE ON THE INDUSTRY HAS ALREADY CAUSED SOMETHING OF A STIR.
In an industry defined as much by flamboyant designers as it is by their designs, Vetements’ decision to conceal the identities of its team came as a refreshing change. By opting out of the glare of the headlights they direct all attention toward their creations, giving them the autonomy they deserve. And what this does is allow the clothes to speak volumes on behalf of its elusive designers. They exist as examples of unfettered style genius in their own right, unsullied by the spectacle of the designer.
Hailing from various locations in Central Europe, the designers trained separately at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Die Angewandte in Vienna and Studio Bercot in Paris. The common factor in the team is their training (though not simultaneous) at Maison Martin Margiela, another label symbolising ambiguity. The influence from the fashion power house governed its later movements and encouraging them to follow similar paths with their own creative endeavours. The very spirit of cult is surmised in the designers’ style statement “to redefine the essence of fashion”. They represent a breakaway — a rebellion, even — to the majority of clothes on the market at present.
Eschewing the usual trends and style moments that typically define seasonal collections, Vetements believe in a more holistic approach to style, one that gives the wearer “freedom to form their own visual voice”. Emphasis is shifted from the designer to the wearer who, in interpreting these pieces in their own way, becomes the curator of their own stylistic vision. A process both collaborative and democratic, the ethic Vetements herald is one creativity has long been a symbol of, but which fashion — in recent years at least — has been moving away from as the industry becomes more about elitism and alienation.
And what of the clothes themselves? Well, these are designed very much with the wearer in mind: practical clothes made for real people. The tailoring and quality of materials are key factors in Vetements vision and simple cuts are carefully balanced with contrasting silhouettes and exaggerated proportions, while palette, decoration and pattern are all kept mono- chrome and minimal.
Judging by the response the collective have received in their short existence, it seems an upheaval of the occasionally pompous attitude of the fashion industry was just what its followers were after, and a bit of mystery always adds to the charm. This new cult offers a fresh perspective and new direction and, most importantly, their principles make sense in an industry as fickle as that of fashion. It’s incredibly useful to have a few well-tailored statement pieces that last beyond the season. If the Vetements style revolution looks like this, we’re happy to hop on board, and urge you to do the same.