We didn’t see this year coming, but we heard it from all sides. In Signal & Noise 2016, you’ll find the way we made sense out of all of that sound.
Cool fashion is lucky if it gets fifteen minutes of fame. A buzzworthy brand can barely crest their own wave before fast-fashion retailers are at work, ripping it off for a fraction of the price. Vetements, a French label founded in 2014 by Georgian designer Demna Gvasalia (previously of Maison Margiela and Louis Vuitton) is riding these remaining seconds on a surfboard made of memes. How, you may ask, did we get here? Well...
Hype around the brand quickly ballooned after it caught the eye of Kanye West, who was at their Paris F/W 2015 show, and posed with Lorde wearing a Vetements hoodie before Dior.
Vetements’ S/S 2016 show included the DHL logo t-shirt that launched a thousand street-style snaps. Gvasalia also showed a variety of hoodies printed with 1980s metal album covers, a deconstructed take on the prevalent streetwear trend of the moment; too close to fashion's pulse or a shrewd, reflective self-parody? Only Gvasalia knows for sure.
Vetements collaborated with Champion, Juicy, Levi’s, and others for the S/S 2017 spring. It was less than two years prior that the brand had been creating their own approximations of these styles; now they were business partners. The disjointed and elongated proportions clearly marked the clothing as “Vetements first, everyone else second.”
Whatever the point was, this tactic of irony-so-ironic-we're-through-many-sarcastic-looking-glasses works: That same month, Celine Dion was spotted sincerely wearing a Titanic hoodie.
We thought we knew meta with Celine Dion, but the meta reached new heights yesterday: Whoopi Goldberg set the internet on fire by wearing a Vetements hoodie on The View. On a Monday, no less! The beloved comedian and actress sat elegantly in a red sweatshirt that read “May The Bridges I Burn Light The Way."
2016 — The Future?!?
We're still in the middle of fashion month, so we can expect more street-style Vetements moments. Could we be lucky enough to keep ascending to new heights of so-off-brand-they're-on Vetements sightings? Could it be Hillary Clinton next? Probably not Mike Pence. Might we get lucky enough to see Malia Obama in Vetements x Juicy? Stay tuned to this space for more.
Check out more from the year in music, culture, politics, and style in Signal & Noise 2016.