Inspired by the political, social and historical context of ‘Soviet Union’ Russia, models stormed the runway in military shades of ‘Airforce blue’and ‘Chocolate brown’ clutching yellow bouquet’s as a symbol of angst and separation. The cultural resonance of the Soviet Union is clear; drab thigh skimming chocolate brown pleated shifts are decidedly androgynous, with an emphasis on keeping lines fluid while the chocolate brown resembles old Soviet Union school uniforms before the militarist regime collapsed in 1991. Keeping up with the military theme, a procession of Catholic school girls led the march dressed in the archetypal sack-cloth pleated shifts with a romantic ruffle bodice made less appealing through the drab chocolate hue. Unlike the ‘anachronistic’ Catholic school girl standard uniform used during the Soviet Union period Vetement’s modern Soviet ‘uniform’ is shown sans stockings and paired with sporty socks instead. Nevertheless the ‘militarist’ school girl look is just as anachronistic but modern details like romantic ruffles, sports luxe socks and bowl cut ‘hair’ help androgynize the ‘twee’ aesthetic.
The lack of ‘bright’ colour throughout Vetement’s collection might not be revolutionary but it teaches us to interpret fashion in a way that rejects the mainstream trends and instills a sense of educational purpose. Unlike most brands Vetement aims to educate, showcase and explore sociological attitudes surrounding the curation of catwalk collections and the anarchist, rebellious values are evident throughout. Asides from the obvious Soviet Union influences there is reference to ‘Punk Rock Culture’ ’70’s meets 80’s’ and ‘Goth Metal’. Punk rock culture meets Goth with boxy leather trenches in ‘black’ and ‘Bordeaux’ while blazing skulls adorn baggy jumpers, layered over long-line shirts. Giving the illusion of an alternative street-style look the multi-layered goth is popular in and out of mainstream culture but it is Vetement’s luxe velvet trench coats paired with 70’s tan knee high boots that brings new meaning to fashion. Vetement might be more well known for its ‘anarchist, rebellious clothing’ but now they can add vintage luxe to their repertoire too.
The inclusion of diverse social contexts is not the only unique asset of Vetement’s collection, the models caused a stir too. Featuring men and women in a womanswear editorial is nothing new but it is the androgynous presentation with barely visible ‘gender lines’ that made critics sit up and notice. The lack of exclusive feminine and masculine identity makes a refreshing change from mainstream attitudes towards womenswear and might not be everyday wear but it is far more adaptable to real life than avante-garde fashion usually displayed during fashion weeks. It is this ‘accessibility for all’ ethos that resonates with so many consumers and continues to inspire fashion collections worldwide. Without a question of a doubt the inclusion of gender bending boundaries, historical reverence and sociological context makes Vetement a competitor to beat and we cannot wait to see what the designer will bring next season!