We find ourselves back at church
The ambient, organ tinkered American Cathedral in Paris is a popular ex-pat destination and a clear change of pace from the typical Vetement show venue: a narrow Chinese restaurant and a sex club.
Since the house's leader Demna Gvasalia was named artistic director at BALENCIAGA in September, more has changed than just his choice in show venues. The label has been picked up by mainstream luxury retailers like NET-A-PORTER, although their buy is on the safer end mostly picking up the popular redone denim and solid black knitwear. In the less commercial market Demna's commodified coolness sold like hot cakes. This season felt like it had both sets of new customers in mind, with more wearable options and new takes on the obvious fan favorites like reimagined trench coats, hooded sweatshirts, and Bic lighter heels.
But look a little bit closer and you'll find that the f*ck-conventional-fashion genre cultivated by Vetements is still there—perhaps burning even stronger than before. Instead of a model, a stylist called Lotta opened the show holding a fresh bouquet (unlike the fake rose that doubled as tonight's show invite.) One of the aforementioned graphic hoodies came with the words, "may the bridges I burn light the way." If that has been the strategy thus far, it sure seems to be working.
What we love about this collection is the sense of humor and the plays on normcore. Was that a reconstructed Eastpack backpack or original Vetement? And the use of the binder clip as an accessory is something that all stylists could share a chuckle over. Despite the church setting, it all felt a little bit "back to school." (Or, perhaps that's where someone on the Vetements team went to school.) Some of the "funny" is also functional like jackets with belt loops handy for holding a second jacket. Perfect for sunny Paris days that suddenly turn into a snowstorm. And one could make an argument for the silver cigarette packs being eco-friendly.
The takeaway: Sometimes even the innately stylish need Paris's hot new designer to tell them that their old Eastpack is cool again. That's why Vetements seems to be the quickest route to cool for people who know what's up and can actually pull it off. Alas, we'll have to wait and see what happens at BALENCIAGA after church on Sunday.