Let’s start from a very abstract concept. If Phoebe Philo decided on menswear (something Hedi Slimane has done a few days ago – read the news, if you still haven’t…) during her tenure at Céline, she would have chosen Haider Ackermann to do it – that’s for sure, looking at his latest offering for Berluti. It’s heavenly. It’s precisely what seduces me in menswear. Those soft cuts, colours. Not speaking of the jaw-dropping materials used. Just take a glance at the butter-y leather cognac coat or the pastel blue (!) pants. Or that luxe shearling. I really don’t need anything else in life. The ‘borrowed from men’ women’s line also has lots to love about it – from Stella Tennant walking down the pale pink runway to that one grey suit that is pure perfection. This might be my ultimate favourite of the men’s autumn-winter 2018 season.
Shown in the corridors of the Paul Bert Serpette market, north of Paris, Vetements autumn-winter 2018 collection left me with very mixed feelings. As the fashion collective’s main representative, Demna Gvasalia, summed it up, “we took it to the flea market because that’s where it always begins.” But the clothes, and the styling, didn’t only resemble a trashy thrift shop aesthetic. The designer, who has worked for years at Maison Margiela, decided to openly refer the brand and its legendarily anonymous designer as the main source of inspiration. Diet Prada, the passive aggressive Instagram fashion critic, has already criticized Demna’s choice to do the Margiela tabi boots in the show – like, what’s the sense, if we’ve got the original?
But as for me, it’s not only about the Margiela factor that makes this collection so problematic. Vetements wants to convey the feeling of real authenticity in their clothes. For instance, Demna went to the kindergarten next door to the Vetements studio in Zurich and set the children the project of making illustrations for the T-shirts. The models, who walked the show, are said to be ‘really’ dressing like this on the daily. The clothes do look like old and tattered, and that’s the entire sense behind them. But aren’t they being manufactured from new materials before they hit the stores? If not, then the 1000 euro price tags are a complete absurd. If yes, well… I think you get this kind of hipocrysy. I really do love people who consciously dress in a ‘cheesy’ and ‘trashy’ way, go to flea markets. But dressing up in Vetements to look ‘disruptive’ is somewhat a non-sense. It’s like wearing a t-shirt of a band you’ve never listened to.
Ann Demeulemeester certainly is one of the most poetic designers / labels, and Sébastien Meunier is fully aware of that. A poetry reference, in form of William Blake, could happen to be too literal. But, the result is just the right balance of the house references, poetic ‘way of dressing’ and Meunier’s personal romantic aesthetic. In adopting the British Romantic’s work for Demeulemeester, the designer composed a collection that was more than just clothes. Those were the emotions, as well. Having been most moved by Songs of Innocence and of Experience, he featured the book’s cover on a velvet-ribboned tank top worn with a velvet shirt and skinny, black pants. Loose sleeves, ‘undone’ shearling coats and tasselled belts were another details, noticeable in between the lines, of Sébastien’s smooth direction at the Belgian brand.
In his first menswear collection for Maison Margiela, John Galliano does what he tries (sometimes with success, sometimes not) at the womenswear line – present the newglamour. From deconstructed trench coats to elongated and exaggerated Savile Row jackets, that was a very bold outing of show-boys in their rubber swimming caps and mummified head-pieces. When speaking of Galliano, it’s always about the tiniest detail – he’s the haute couture craftsman, after all. Even if I’m not a total fan of this collecton, I like that idea of over-the-top glamour that John leads towards the men’s wardrobe – like the biker jacket corset. Also, I’m happy to see him venture again into menswear. Waiting to see more.