Vetements / 'anti-fashion' fashion?

Discussion in 'Fashion Industry' started by habenula, Sep 13, 2016.

  1. habenula

    habenula Rising Star

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    Note: this thread is somewhat similar to the 'state of fashion' thread, so I apologize if it seems like a repeat and feel free to merge them.

    There are some designers that I feel like I just don't 'get', Vetements being one of them. There was some buzz a while ago about a few of their more questionable designs, like the DHL t-shirt and the lighter heels. To some extent I get that it's a commentary on fashion as a whole and what is considered to be 'cool', but I think that charging $300 for a tshirt with a cable logo on it is sort of next level.

    Anyway, I feel like brands like Vetements and Yeezy revel in the idea that fashion is mindless indulgence or whatever. It just seems kind of insulting to brands that actually have some sort of craftmanship, especially since these weird anti-fashion 'it' brands actually do get worn by a lot of celebrities and get a lot of exposure. It's like this weird new kind of normcore, except more aggressively ugly.

    I could kind of get on board with some aspects of normcore, but this is a bit too far.

    Here's some pictures:

    513570562.jpg 513573550.jpg SS16---VETEMENTS---16244BLACK.JPG Vetements_DhlShirt_Cover.jpg Vetements+Runway+Paris+Fashion+Week+Womenswear+64JpdacYJZLl.jpg
     
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  2. Silent Night

    Silent Night SkinnyGossip Royal

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    This reminds me of this article about the Berlin Biennale. Summary: cynical, ugly, vapid meta-commentary is bad.
     
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  3. chicbones

    chicbones Grand Dame

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    I love designs that are a bit edgy and different as long but for me there has to be a reason behind it (e.g. it's flattering despite being unconventional). I'm definitely not cool enough to fully appreciate anti-fashion and I think most people who don't end up looking stupid in it so I tend to avoid it unless I genuinely love the item.
     
  4. Skinny_Mini_Me

    Skinny_Mini_Me SuperStar

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    I think it has a kind of "emperors new clothes" vibe. If anyone questions it "they're just not cool enough to get it". Jeremy Scott falls into the same category for me.
     
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  5. sore

    sore Community Duchess

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    I'm too busy doing showlists atm :naughty:, but I wanted to post a couple remarks at least:

    1) Please don't put Yeezy, Jeremy Scott and Vêtements in the same category. Vêtements does quite savvy stuff, although I agree they are hopelessly overrated. But at least they know their fashion history 101. Demna Gvasalia's first collection for Balenciaga for example (although it's obviously not the same as Vêtements) was really good in my opinion; it was a nice take on the brand's signature designs over the decades, with a deconstructivist twist to it. Jeremy Scott's designs are more a commentary on pop culture per se, albeit one in poor taste. I still can appreciate the originality of what he does. Or rather did - before he started repeating himself a hundred seasons ago. Kanye on the other hand is the insta model of fashion design. It makes me so incredibly mad that other designers have to work hard for decades in order to be recognized - if ever -, while Kanye puts on shows that look like he designed them while he was taking a shit and everybody's going crazy. So much hate.

    2) In order to 'get it', I advise everybody to educate themselves about the designers all the 'hot designers' are imitating, namely Rei Kawakubo, Yohji Yamamoto, Margiela and the Antwerp Six.

    3) I'm actually stunned that people are still talking about 'craftsmanship' as if modern art had never happened. Marcel Duchamp's art was obviously not 'crafty', but it was all the more genius. (Like, you know, when people say 'I could have created this artwork myself!' their first question needs to be: But why didn't I do it?)
    That being said, the craftsmanship (in the strict sense of the word) the design houses put into their collections doesn't equal a designer's 'craft'. And very often (see Hedi Slimane's early menswear and Raf Simons' overall oeuvre), sleek, sharp tailoring requires A LOT more craftsmanship than anybody who has never sewn can imagine. Also, in order to judge whether something is 'crafty' or not, you need to see the garment in person, or at the very least look at a whole lot of HQ detail pictures.

    Also, the Berlin Biennale was one of the best things I've seen in years art wise, and I see quite a lot for professional reasons. The article linked offers very little insight in my opinion, but it doesn't make much sense to discuss it here when I guess hardly anybody here has seen it. Still, the main point of the article seems to be that DIS has never curated an exhibition before and therefore should not have been allowed to curate one now. You know. Just because! (To claim that 'they haven't read their art history textbooks' is ridiculous and just a profound misunderstanding of what they've put on.)
     
    #5 sore, Sep 13, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
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  6. habenula

    habenula Rising Star

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    Thanks for this! I definitely see your point with the Kanye comparison!

    Maybe I'm missing something, but I don't see the connection between Margiela / Yamamoto. I don't see the sort of draping and attention to detail in the more 'blockbuster' pieces (looking at you, DHL shirt and black hoodie) that I see in other brands that are more "out there" in terms of mainstream appeal.

    I guess my main issue isn't with the designers, as their main goal is to produce art, which is a way of making some sort of statement about the current climate of fashion. It's just a very unique kind of art that is available to consumers on a massive scale. Vetements would make more sense to me as an installation than a widely distributed collection, though they're obviously not going to *not* sell their clothes.

    The hype just seems very weird and the market seems saturated with normcore and post-normcore and beige and blah blah blah. Then again, I am a total groupie for helmut lang, so what does that say about me?

    Sorry, this was a lot, but I respect what you have to say and enjoy hearing a more educated critique grounded in actual art knowledge.
     
  7. hannegabyfreja

    hannegabyfreja Grand Dame

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    Vêtements is the most pretentious thing in fashion in my opinion. I remember the Man Repeller wrote a great article about it.
     
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  8. sore

    sore Community Duchess

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    @pitachip
    I'm not sure I understand everything you said, but let me try to give you an idea about why I compared Vêtements to Margiela and the likes.

    First off, all of the Vêtements collective designers graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. There's just no possibility they are not somehow influenced by MMM. Also, Demna was MMM's head of design, so...yeah.

    Just to avoid misunderstanding: I'm not talking about today's Yamamoto or Margiela. I don't know how well you know the archives, but the influence I'm talking about has nothing to do with everything they did after Margiela himself left. Yamamoto's most influential designs are from the late 80s and 90s.

    What I'm getting at is deconstruction, of course. MMM and the Japanese Three had different ways to deconstruct fashion (MMM from 'within', the Japanese as 'outsiders' who historically had to deal with western fashion since around 1900), but it comes down to a similar approach: The first step to deconstruct something is to understand how it is constructed.
    Western fashion is historically based on a gender gap that doesn't exist in the Kimono, for example. This gender gap (briefly: women's bodies are highlighted while men's are not) is one thing Yamamoto has been working on all his career. He has always been interested in the relationship between body and garment, how the body moves, what kind of volumes and silhouettes it creates. I could go on about this forever and it's really just a quick glimpse of what makes their work so special.

    Look at the second pic you posted, for example; I personally think it's brilliant. Look at how they took a typically male garment and exaggerated it to the point were the signifier they are playing with almost implodes. The pattern, the broad shoulders, the oversize sleeves, the way they are connected to the rest of the piece (it looks ripped apart, but it's actually a mode of construction, a very Margelian one btw). Then, on the other hand, there's something very female about this look: The way it exposes the neck, you almost feel it falling off the shoulder a little, the way it's tucked into the pants, the waistline, the worked-in overknee boots - that are actually reminiscent of a woodworker's gear (you posted a cropped pic, I think you need to see a full one to get what I mean). Quite interesting oscillation in a so simple-looking design, if you ask me.

    So, yeah, they are a little overrated, but I think they're doing deconstruction quite well and added the styling as one of their key elements, something MMM and the others weren't overtly concerned with. (Actually, it's really really interesting what they did to the idea of styling.) It feels very contemporary in a way I can fully acknowledge.

    @hannegabyfreja
    care to elaborate, please?
     
    #8 sore, Sep 13, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2016
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  9. Layla

    Layla Grand Dame

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    I would love to read more of your commentaries on fashion, this is fantastic.
     
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  10. habenula

    habenula Rising Star

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    Ah! This is really interesting to read, thank you! I definitely do not have the historical context that you do -- I really appreciate the knowledge you're bringing to this thread.
     
  11. hannegabyfreja

    hannegabyfreja Grand Dame

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    Yes. I do agree with what you are saying and I do think that Demna is a talented designer for sure. However, when a designer's inherent douchiness becomes overly apparent, it ruins the brand (for me) and leaves me unable to appreciate the clothes. Anyone that says that they wouldn't pay retail prices for their own designs is an attention seeking asshole.

    He is a smart businessman for sure and his personality is exactly what has propelled the brand to this level. When Demna is too cool to be bothered with fashion, of course the public now think that Vetements is so cool that it has risen above any other brand. But then when Guram was asked why their clothing was priced so stupidly above any other brand:

    Current example - https://www.net-a-porter.com/au/en/...s/layered-printed-cotton-jersey-t-shirt-dress 100% cotton tshirt for $1760 AUD.

    Of course. Demna (a designer, whose livelihood literally depends on the success of his brand) isn't crazy enough to buy fashion and doesn't think that it is overly useful, but insists on using molton cotton, which is double the price. Because he is so concerned about the utility and affordability of his clothing.

    Demna - a man who claims to be influenced by urban Paris, yet repeatedly uses all-white casts - is nothing more than a concocted publicity machine.

    How to create the most subversive cult label of the moment:
    • Keep the hype going by making limited stock - "For us, the important thing is that we don’t restock and once you come to the showroom, it’s the only chance you’re going to have to place an order." “In order to make people want something, you need to make scarcity."
    • But remind people how 'down to earth' you are - "You can make an amazing dress and embroidery with high-tech materials and it’s “wow,” it’s really “wow.” Sometimes I see things and I’m like, “Wow, how did they do this?” But then again, is this really important enough? Because, I mean beyond the effect, the actual practicality [matters too].
      Being ‘down-to-earth’ with clothing is something I really missed as well. At Margiela, it’s always supposed to be conceptual because that’s the DNA of the brand. At Louis Vuitton, it was very different. It was a luxurious product and had to be beautiful fabric and the cost — a t-shirt for 1,000 euros — I thought that was crazy."
    • Remind people that yours is the only luxury product - "Margiela is a very specific company with a very different way of working. It’s not a classical model like the old houses. I wanted to see the other side, the more corporate side and the luxury product, because Margiela, for me, wasn’t really a luxury product, it was more investigative fashion rather than about the product itself." Of course, when he went to these houses he found that "Luxury was always something that was scarce. Today, I don’t consider Louis Vuitton to be a luxury brand – yes, the quality is luxury, but if you can go to the store and get whatever you want, it’s not luxury. "
    • Claim that your product is so influential that you literally predict terrorist attacks - "In the same way, before Charlie Hebdo we had made all these security and police sweatshirts. Something is in the air, I guess. It’s strange. At a certain time you feel certain things and then it filters through to the world."
    • But on the other hand, your product is irrelevent - "We live in a world where clothes… I mean they don’t really matter, do they?"
    • Don't show in the regular fashion week schedule because you are too subversive for that
    I love the new Balenciaga. Do not get me wrong. And I also love many Vetements pieces. But my disdain for Demna and the image he has cultivated for the label overshadows that. He works hard to keep up the anti-fashion, normcore image that people eat up. Vetements is SO different and it is just SO down to earth and SO representative of street culture. In the end, you are paying an incredibly inflated price tag for literally a plain cotton sweatshirt. Vetements is hyper famous because it constantly finds ways to remind the world how cool and different it is. And the most ironic thing about it is that the people who are paying these prices - the people who think this label is subversive and different from everything else - are in all likelihood, the same people who have bought into every cult Kenzo Celine Givenchy (etc) item of the past ten years.

    It is like Alexander Wang, who doesn't even try to produce creative designs anymore. He can put whatever he wants on that runway and charge 3 grand for it because he can. However, I appreciate him and his business model because it is honest. He is unashamedly cultivating an image and selling it. He doesn't care about being corporate or a sell out - he will use Kylie Jenner for a campaign and collaborate with H&M and Adidas or whoever. Demna never will, but his tactics are just as publicity hungry. He will show at a different time to everyone else and not use the regular fashion models and people will gush about how he is so different and talented and not a sell out. So edgy! So deconstructed! Such democratic fashion! Except that he and Wang are cut from the exact same publicity-hungry fashion-victim-brainwashing cloth and at least Wang is upfront about it instead of desperately creating a holier-than-thou industry outsider image.

    Rant over!


    Here is the Man Repeller's article:

    And my favourite quotes from the US Vogue September 2016 thread at TFS:
    • Love that they put Demna with 2 models of color, I wonder if he moaned that it would "compromise" the shoot's "integrity." - VogueDisciple93
    • And the greatest response to that by MulletProof - "He didn't, he found the models and even Vogue so foreign and unsettling he asked to be photographed separately... explicitly while getting wood in the Georgian mountains.. just so his aesthetic is not misunderstood. Models are in NY. "
     
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  12. sore

    sore Community Duchess

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    @Artemis What exactly do you disagree on and why?
     
  13. sore

    sore Community Duchess

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    @hannegabyfreja

    I agree about most of the things you said. I don't like him either and never thought I'd defend him one day. But as opposed to Wang, who doesn't live up to the hype he's trying to create at all (at least in my opinion), I think Demna is doing interesting stuff, so I have to give him that.
    Also, I think I view some of the things you said a bit differently. For example, fashion is about luxury and always has been. But what exactly is luxury to begin with? The main criterium is usually that not everybody can have it and not, say, the exceptional quality of something. It's about an artificial limitation that creates desire. An exceptionally well made bread is not luxurious, because it still sells for fairly little money, is not superfluous (at least not to people outside of SG ;) ) and everybody can have it. Luxury brands have usually made their clothes seem luxurious because they are so incredibly expensive (their profit margin is INSANE most of the time). But a lot more people can afford them or are willing to afford buy them nowadays than ever before, many of them living proof that money can't buy you taste. So, at least in my opinion, his work and marketing/selling strategy is (among other things) a comment on the state of fashion in relation to articfical limitation, and I think he's being quite clear about it.

    I still don't like him and I hate his pretentious 'followers', but as I said, I think what he does is interesting.
     
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  14. Artemis

    Artemis VIP - Model
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    @sore I agree that Demna is a businessman. The pieces that are wearable (jeans/t/sweats) are all in the $$$$ range, and most are (very lightly) deconstruct/restruct. Talk about margins.

    I agree that he's very much like Ducamp and Berlin Biennale.

    [​IMG]
    If Duchamp invented (or even just made) the urinal himself, I'd call him a genius; this guy is just a self-indulgent business asshole. I love modern art but this isn't art, it's a joke, a gross nihilistic one.

    [​IMG]
    What's the point of this fixture? Social commentary? "Ah yes our society is shitty <smug>." "Well I don't use a selfie stick when I take a picture of my vag <smug>, that's tacky <sneer>." Or is it a showcase of how we interact in an increasingly distanced and globalized world? Doubt it. This sculpture is hateful and mocking. It's a sort of reductio ad absurdum of reality that, to me, intends to disgust but also stroke the ego of the spineless viewer. If you want to use this "art is just reactions" model and consider this sort a thing a criticism on society, the artist's mission would be better served by showcasing a beautiful girl elevated, not face/down ass/up. Who doesn't feel a little underdressed, thick, and homely in front of Vigee Le Brun (at the MET still, maybee)? Turn on the light and the roaches will scatter.


    Back to Demna.
    1. He's a lazy business man, like Duchamp, using other people's wares and slapping a fringe and a signature on designs and calling it superfucking highbrow. We've been doing deconstruct/reconstruct for like 30 years!!!! (and doing costume-y reproductions of the 70s, 80s, 90s, 00s). I'm so bored. There's nothing new here. I had this sweatshirt when I was a 13 year old anarchist (it was the most aggressive thing you could buy at Walmart) and I wore it riding around in truck beds.

    [​IMG]

    2. Most of his pieces aren't physically wearable and therefore, not being utility*, must be art. What is the point of that art? Ugliness? Rehashed 2000 grunge mixed with offcuts of Y Yamamoto? To me, if you ain't original, you're not an artist. I'm just so terrribly, terrribly bored with this fake ass Brooklyn fashion.

    *unless you're trying to peacock some cash and how much you dgaf about anything even though that shit is for teenagers and you're likely in your late 20s early 30s but your parents still pay some of your bills?

    But I do like some of his accessories and I do this faux grunge look a lot which is okay because it's really easy. Shift weight, look bored (conveniently, I already am).
    [​IMG]
     
    #14 Artemis, Sep 14, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2016
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  15. sore

    sore Community Duchess

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    I think we have to agree to disagree on most parts of the discussion, but there's one thing I can't not comment on:

    No. Just no. If he had invented the urinal, he wouldn't have invented the readymade. If he had made the urinal himself, nobody would talk about him today and he wouldn't have influenced about 90% of today's art scene. The whole point is that he did NOT make it himself, but chose it and declared it art in a performative act. He channeled the very notion of art by positioning the artistic task as an intellectual one and the artist as a thinker rather than a craftsman. (A development that had been ongoing since Leonardo da Vinci, by the way.)
    Also, why would you think he was a 'business asshole'? Do you really think he put that urinal up because it sold like crazy for a high margin? Of course it didn't sell. He was already quite successful with his paintings before he started with the readymades (turning away from what he called 'retinal art' and the idea that art needs to be beautiful), which is not to be confused with being rich. The readymades were a huge scandal and were never fully appreciated until after WWII. He turned to playing chess shortly after the urinal for a decade. The only business move he really made was when he allowed the Schwarz reedition of his readymades shortly before he died. So...almost 40 years after he had invented the readymades. Does that qualify as 'business asshole' for you?

    I'd love to have an art thread, by the way, if anybody else is interested. :)
     
  16. Artemis

    Artemis VIP - Model
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    Oh I agree that it was incredibly influential--I just think it's bad. It's bullshit. I think he must be pretty slick to have gotten it into the Tate(I think?). He sold the "idea" not a product, like . . . invisible clothes. As far as exchanges go, you can trade for money/barter or prestige. He got A LOT of prestige. (As a model, I get paid in prestige wayyyyy too often). Now, I don't hate Rothko, Pollock, or Kelly. They were creative (perhaps Kelly a little less so but I like running past his larger fixtures because they look really cool that way) and crafted, though with less applied skill than say Caravaggio, their art THEMSELVES. Though they didn't paint beautiful women on settees or Biblical virtue scenes, in my mind, they attempted to capture abstracted emotion, without context (byo). Putting a toilet in a pretty white room is bullshit.


    Yes we should! I like that you know so much about art and fashion :kiss: Are you in school for it?
     
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  17. marieebo

    marieebo Community Duchess

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    I just saw this thread and I honestly want to quote everything you wrote. You just can't put Demna Gvasalia in the same category as people like Jeremy Scott or that mess that is Yeezy. Demna's first collection at Balenciaga was exciting and reminded me of Nicholas' collections for the house. He made people excited about a fashion house that's been dead (creatively, at least) since Wang took off.
    I think you can easily spot a designer or a brand that becomes the 'coolest thing' for the season but will be old news by the next. That's definitely NOT Vetements case, because while it is definitely over hyped, there is substance too and like you said, one can easily spot the influence Margiela had on the designers.
    I'm not a big fan of the brand but I think it's definitely a young fashion house that's leaving a mark and will grow, because it has two legit talented and fresh designers behind it
     
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  18. Serea

    Serea Rising Star

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    I have to admit, I'd never heard of Vêtements before reading this thread, so I just had to look up their runway shows to see what we're dealing with here.

    So. This may or may not be off-topic (okay, it's off-topic), but I'm only popping in to say that
    1) I think that the designs are horrendously boring/ugly, in my humble and meaningless opinion, and (more importantly)
    2) this design
    [​IMG]

    would look much more fashionable if it sought inspiration from this:
    [​IMG]

    I don't know why my brain just saw that red-hooded model and immediately thought "Assassin's Creed!" which I've never played anyways. Whatever.
     
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