Vetements‘ spring-summer 2019 collection was violent. But Vetements’ autumn-winter 2019 outing felt even more aggressive. Somehow, I’m not surprised. Demna Gvasalia (and his collective) isn’t afraid of speaking what’s on their mind, whether it’s confronting the difficult past, hard present or uncertain future. The label found inspiration in the dark web, where drugs, guns and other illegal, even more frightening things are available and sold worldwide. Hacker style? Geek chic? Yes, but cross out the latter, ‘fashion’ word. The collection was called “Anti-Social” and opened with a twisted homage to Steve Jobs. The distinctive, black turtleneck worn with a pair of jeans read: “Warning: what you are about to see will disturb you. There is a dark side of humanity the censors won’t let you see, but we will. View it your own risk.” An item that will sell out within a moment, but has a meaning that’s not as frivolous as it may seem. Other than the Vetements classics – XXL hoodies, floral tea-dresses, distorted puffer jackets – this offering had something you would never consider a fashion statement: anonymous-wear. Black fleece masks inside hoods and jackets with flaps covering the face with a peep-hole for looking out (and, occasionally, for taking photos through). “I realize there is no privacy. When I’m on public transport, doing work on my phone, I often see people overlooking it, or taking photographs of me,” Demna said after the show. An avalanche of contemporary problems appears in your mind, when you think of it: surveillance society, facial recognition technology, the fear of revealing our true selves without the social media filter. But then, the balaclavas make you think of terrorists and fierce protests that move like a tsunami through such countries as France. Gvasalia and Vetements sense danger and crisis that spread across our world. They know fashion won’t help it out, but at least, might inform the ones who want to be informed. To some extent, at least.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.