Vetements to Rescue Creative Directors
Vetements May Have Solved a Growing Fashion Problem
A couple of months ago, I wrote an article about the unrealistic expectations and crippling pressures placed on creative directors at storied fashion houses; the stress eventually squelches the creative process and, in the name of capital, artistry takes a backseat. Then, after not very much time, the couturier, honoring the holiness of his craft, makes the arduous decision to step down from his once-distinguished position, no longer able to consciously cloud the already murky waters of ready-to-wear turned fast fashion.
In (somewhat) recent news...
• Alber Elbaz (14 year tenure) left Lanvin
• Raf Simons (3.5 year tenure) left Dior
• Alexander Wang (< 3 year tenure) left Balenciaga
• Frida Giannini (8 year tenure) left Gucci
• Stefano Pilati (< 3 year tenure) left Ermenegildo Zegna
• Grace Coddington (28 YEARS) left Vogue
You get it. The guillotine is swinging with a vengeance. But a vengeance from what? The breakneck speed of 6 (7 if the house does bridal) collections, perhaps? Or the impossibility of competing with fast fashion (i.e. H&M, ZARA)? Sarcasm aside, yes is the answer, and Vetements novel two-in-one collection model is the solution.
Now, I'm aware that combining two collections (menswear and womenswear) into one is nothing new; however, combining menswear and womenswear into a single January show, TWO MONTHS ahead of the women's shows is slightly anti-establishment. Women's shows typically begin in February in New York, then make two stops in London and Milan, before ending in Paris mid-March. It's a notable shift that Guram Gvasalia, Vetements' 30 year old CEO, strategized with his elder brother, creative director Demna. The duo's overarching goal is to cut out the necessity for pre-collections, beat the plagiarists, cease overproduction, and persuade other houses to follow suit.
Guram on the shake-up:
Designers are human beings who need to have some spare time to get rest and gather strength. Instead, designers are put under enormous pressure and insane schedules... The industrial machine sucks out their creativity, chews them up, and spits them out. Once a genius, the designer is left behind incapable of being creative. Reducing [runway shows] to two main collections will give designers enough time to revitalize.
No longer is Vetements seen simply as a streetwear-ing, discotheque-going, disorganized gang from Eastern Europe; other houses are taking notice, with Balenciaga honoring Demna with creative directorship at said French house. What the brothers are taking on--a plan to lead a change in the fashion schedule for everyone--is a conscious parallel to Helmut Lang's fateful move when he announced he was showing in New York ahead of the entire season. Shortly thereafter, Calvin Klein and Donna Karan followed suit, and then all New York designers fell in line.
This is a sentiment I've echoed for months: fashion is too fast, too overexposed, too commercialized. It's going to bust. And now, the waterhole of instant gratification has grown so bloated that designers are reaching their respective boiling points. Thankfully, Vetements is building another well--hopefully one with gold dust in it.
To view the most recent collections from Vetements, please do visit their online home.