Vetement’s venue, a Parisian church, was packed to the rafters with guests sat on inward facing pews. Long narrow altars saw us up close with the clothes. Vetements - as a label - has heralded a return to the literal translation of its name; clothes. This house - along with brands such as Nasir Mazar, Hood by Air and Public School - is part of a strong counter culture in fashion, which declares clothes as being the new fashion. It's a way of standing still. As a protest against the conveyor belt of trends and disposable storytelling within fashion, the ultimate fantasy is to just drop out all together. This season at Vetements, this also meant adopting the position of angry teenager.
Just like the Japanese designers took the traditional western wardrobe only to decon-recon it and create a new tribe, this house attempts the same - in some small way. Vetements is making new pieces out of old classics - by playing with size, proportion and re-appropriation. For this season's wardrobe of the misunderstood adolescent, this means hoodies, band t-shirts, jock socks (worn as stockings), school ties and tattoo embroidered boots.
Like a bell that rang for the start of class, the influence of Raf Simons' recent A/W 16 foray into the gothic tale of the all American teenager sounded loud and clear. Not new, Simons' long time schoolboy archetype had simply gone stateside this season. With David Lynch having just celebrated his 70th birthday - and the impending Twin Peaks back on our screens - sinister sidekicks and beauty pageant queens found in body bags are the nightmares that pop culture is dreaming of once more.
Heavy weights such as Martin Margiela, Rei Kawakubo and Raf Simons are skilled in pulling apart dream culture and presenting it as a newly packaged dream. Today, it’s not remarkably original. This label is not actually as drop out as it would like us to think it is. It's re-marketing the approach of some tried and tested greats, and is somehow managing to cause a frenzy. As each model walked past us, the label's desire to create cultish offerings was clear. They all smelt as if they had been shrouded in incense backstage. One sweater, an Instagram favourite, read ‘May the bridges I burn light the way.’ In terms of silhouette, this collection wasn't so much burning bridges but confirming this season's trend for a strong shoulder. If this had been Gareth Pugh at the start of his career - who showed us the strong shoulder three weeks ago - he'd be tipping things upside down and not conforming. Here it was hunched up, so the models looked like they were walking in a surrealist take on a teenage shrug.
One thing we can't shrug off is the excitement that this label is injecting into the industry. This label really makes people happy. And maybe that's what it's all about?