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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

Vetements: Clothes for the Revolution

Demna Gvasalia finds the right words to express himself

11 Марта 2016

Vetements, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Vetements, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Demna Gvasalia stood backstage in the Paris Presbyterian church where Vetements, the radical fashion collective, had staged a show.

“May the bridges I burn light the way” were the words in scarlet on his black T-shirt - a more poetic message than those that came down the pews serving as runways. “Are we having fun yet?” enquired the blue top of a dour-faced model/friend, his raincoat hanging from a hoop on his belt. Other T-shirt announcements were angry words spelled out in expletives. The way the models walked, bearing down fast on the audience, looked dead angry too.

Vetements, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Vetements, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

Most of the clothes were oversized, one side of a shirt hanging out or the jackets suspended on hidden hangers. (I am sure I have seen that before at Margiela, with whom Demna has worked.) But we have not seen “anti-fashion” in a while - not since grunge dug its messy feet into urban streets and said “no” to the opulent Eighties.

All that happened two decades ago when Demna - who will do the very grown-up thing of showing his collection for Balenciaga on Sunday - was just 14 years old. Backstage we talked about both events. “The choice of a church was because it was a dark season and there was a lot of emotion going on in the team,” Demna said. “We were in a dark mode - a church was the perfect atmosphere.” But what about the clothes that seem rather less oversize than six months ago, and feel more angry and aggressive. All the slogans, many of them unprintable were found in social media.

Vetements, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Vetements, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

The clothing attitude was gender neutral - the modern way to dress. But I missed the more simple female clothes, which remained only as a flash of dresses in flower-printed apron cloth. “We have changed a lot - there is more play with proportions,” said the designer. “But there is continuity - we are keeping things as before.” I consider anti-fashion as part of fashion. And I was only surprised not to feel more emotional moments, like the opening outfit of very short dress, weighed down by a big upper bodice, but enlivened with a bouquet of daffodils.

It does not surprise me that 20-somethings without jobs in this unfair world divided between the super-rich and the rest should fling a necktie around the spine of a jacket, put on scarlet hoodies to protect themselves and step belligerently forward. Fashion is a bellwether, more often ahead of history's curve.

Come the revolution, at least we will know where to dress.

Vetements, fall 2016 ready-to-wear
Vetements, fall 2016 ready-to-wear

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