Demna Gvasalia left the Vetements brand, created by him and his brother Guram in 2014. Inside the fashion world, this news sounds quite loud - Gvasalia has been one of its main characters for the past five years. Well, in a rather broad sociocultural context, it also has a resonance - the latter is just the most interesting. But let's start with the first one to make it clearer.
2014 has become a key year for new fashion. At the very end, it was decided to appoint Alessandro Michele as the new art director of Gucci, and the fall-winter 2014/15 collection was the first for the new Parisian brand Vetements, invented by the designer Demna Gvasalia and his brother Guram, who became the brand's CEO. Actually, this year can generally be considered the beginning of a new fashion wave, a new way of making fashion. Technically, the essence of it was not to deal with fashionable design as such, but more or less inventive styling, mixing different vintage looks. To practice, in fact, pastiche and camp, as we would say in 2019 - at the same time we called it “stylists' fashion”.
It was defiant - to ignore any authenticity, frankly distort from the great predecessors and not worry about it at all. The original design had been leveled a couple of seasons before by Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent. And these guys have added to the method of fantasy, scope and imagination. Well, their stylistic range was wider.
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But the main thing that they brought was progressive ideas. All these stylistic moves coincided with a great sociocultural movement. The words "body positivism", "gender ambivalence" and "feminism" began to appear in the fashion texts more often than the words "silhouette", "cut" and "texture". The new fashion began to broadcast a new humanistic ideal: inclusiveness, gender mobility and de-objectification, rejection of traditional standards of beauty and sex appeal, for which it was called "ugly fashion".
It's not our goal to disassemble the style of Vetements and the techniques of Gvasalia in detail - about the archives of Maison Martin Margiela (where Demna ended up immediately after Martin left), about the chic of the former USSR and the Luzhniki market of the 90s (as well as about the work of Vetements stylist Lotta Volkova) written a lot and in detail. Well, the point is that the power of nihilism - denial of previous canons, violation of previous rules, overturning of previous ideas - plus the energy of the new world created a quite powerful wave on which it was possible to take out everything: hoodies for a thousand euros, aprons from Soviet oilcloth and lopsided dresses from lilac plush. It worked quickly, brought Demna Gvasalia all the dividends up to the contract with Balenciaga, but could not work for long.
One remark should be made here: the delight of the followers of Gvasalia seems to me as unproductive as the hatred of his detractors. I see no karmic retribution in Gvasalia's departure - on the one hand. On the other hand, the desperate self-glorification in Guram Gvasalia's statement on this matter seems to me to be somewhat grotesque. In recent seasons, it has been seen that all Demna's existing design forces are focused on Balenciaga, and when the three-letter word appeared on the notorious Vetements hoodie, it became clear that the situation there was heating up. But most importantly, any hoodies, whatever you write on them, get bored for the fifth or even tenth time, even devoted fans are quickly saturated with them. And the most advanced ideas still at some point start to require a cool design. Even so: cool design produces new meanings, the power of aesthetic ideas creates a powerful ideological field. This was the case with Gilles Zander at Jil Sander, Miuccia Prada at Prada, Martin Margiela at Maison Martin Margiela, Nicolas Ghesquière at Balenciaga, Albert Elbaz at Lanvin, Phoebe Faylo at Celine. When a new beauty arose where no one had seen it before, when new forms and proportions suddenly became attractive, when all this began to tell us something new about ourselves and the world around, it began to touch and excite, evoke emotions, and not only produce hype.when all this began to tell us something new about ourselves and the world around us, it began to touch and excite, evoke emotions, and not only produce hype.when all this began to tell us something new about ourselves and the world around us, it began to touch and excite, evoke emotions, and not only produce hype.
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Guram Gvasalia's statement regarding his brother's departure from the position of art director at Vetements highlighted new perspectives for both Vetements and Demna. This is not incredible - Demna certainly has a vision. “What Demna has done over the past few years represents a key chapter in the history of Vetements,” the text says, but outwardly it sounds more like “The Moor has done his job, the Moor can go.” Without even going into further predictions, one thing is certain: the era when it was easy to jump out on talented compilations and advanced slogans is coming to an end.
It lasted five years - quite a long time for the modern world, where everything is constantly moving, changing rapidly and - just a little - turns into its opposite. Design is returning to fashion - this has been clearly visible for the last two seasons. Almost the maximum has been squeezed out of streetwear, post-Soviet chic, and even from camp in the broadest sense of the word, and the progressive ideology must take some new forms. I think it will not be a new strength and a new confidence - we have seen a lot of them lately - but a new fragility and a new sensitivity. And even vulnerability. And by whose name it will be named - we will inevitably see soon.
The opinion of the author may not coincide with the opinion of the editorial board.>