At Paris fashion week in March, there was one label that EVERYONE was talking about (or wearing): Vetements. And since it was announced this week that the fashion house has been invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to have a guest slot at Paris Couture Week, it's the talk of the town again. The design collective - headed up by Demna Gvasalia, who since October 2015 has also been the creative director at Balenciaga - had fashion editors and street style stars literally losing their shit over deconstructed dresses, ripped jeans and, err, a black raincoat. When people talked about Vetements I kept hearing words like ‘energy’ and ‘scene’ and ‘I NEED that dress!’. I chatted to a well-respected, level-headed fashion editor of a broadsheet newspaper in the lobby of our hotel and she was obsessing over the jeans. And InStyle’s own editor Charlotte Moore was whipped into a frenzy about the floral dresses. ‘It's about a dress that's feminine and sexy but still seriously cool’ she said, ‘and not just because of the hype - but because that deconstructed cut gives them a loose, louche almost ill-fitting look, that's very fashion right now.’
I think I must be missing something. These are people whose opinions I really respect but I just can’t see what they see. Because for me, frayed jeans, torn dresses, grey marl tracksuits and delivery man logo T-shirts are just really, really ordinary. You could find them in a charity shop or alter them yourself; those signature jeans hems (above) in particular are totally do-able. When I had a closer look in the showroom in Paris and inspected the collection up close, I actually got a bit cross. What the hell is everyone getting so excited about? Surely the guys at Vetements are taking the piss and we’re all the butt of their joke?
But a quick look at Net-a-Porter or Matches and you’ll see that the hefty price tags are no laughing matter. Not only that, many of the items – including £1,070 over-knee sock heeled boots (practical!) and a £415 hoody – have completely sold out. You can still bag yourself a DHL T-shirt for £185 though. Phew. (Alternatively, you can order one on DHL’s online store for $6.50. I don’t know how much the shipping costs would be but presumably, you’d still be saving well over £100) Amusingly, a parody brand has now appeared called Vetememes, selling those black raincoats but emblazoned with the Vetememes logo. They’re currently on pre-order for $59…and have Gvasalia’s blessing. Considering all the brands Vetements are parodying, that seems only fair.
Anyway, I realise that Vetements are making a statement and subversing fashion with their tongue-in-cheek designs, much in the same way that Jeremy Scott did for his McDonald’s Moschino collection in 2014. But unlike Moschino, whose iPhone cases will only set you back around £50 (and you’ll use them every day), nothing in Vetement’s collection is cheaper than £180. It’s all very well having fun with fashion, but some of us have got to pay the mortgage, thank you very much. If I’m going to invest in a pricey item of clothing I want it to be something that is universally beautiful, appreciated by everyone, and won’t be so dated I can’t possibly wear it to fashion week next season. Because by September you can forget the DHL T-shirt: everyone will be wearing the Vetements single sleeve lumberjack shirt (below). It remains to be seen whether Vetements' couture offereing - which will have to adhere to strict rules such as the house having a Paris-based atelier with at least 20 staff - will be a different beast to its usual deconstructed parodies and something altogether more beautiful...