Vetements showed oversized hoodies with visual strangles.
London Collections Men, the capital’s men’s fashion week, played out this weekend against a uncommonly British backdrop: the Queen’s birthday celebrations and the first England affiliation of Euro 2016. Among the editors in the front row, however, sartorial patriotism was noticeably missing. Instead, Vêtements – the Parisian streetwear label notorious for disregard a T-shirt with the DHL logo on the catwalk – was the buzz brand.
Founded by Georgian-born designer Demna Gvasalia as a collective in 2014, Vêtements has happen to the last word in cool by doing away with hackneyed concepts of Parisian tastefulness. Borrowing from street culture, branding and the deconstruction blaze the trailed by designers in the 1990s, it regularly puts on shows in distinctly inelegant venues – covering a Chinese restaurant – with friends of the designers as models. Some pieces are wittingly unisex and the hoodies – oversized and often with the kinds of visual curbs that play well on social media – are the it item in London for this week.
Rewrite men, bloggers and designers wore them, and one participant was spotted dress a fleece actually from logistics company DHL. Sweatshirts with gothic calligraphy on the sleeves were popular, and Luke Day, editor of GQ Style, clad a design with the logo of sportswear brand Champion reworked to say Vêtements. He alleges there’s an insider exclusivity that those in the know – and on the forefront row – will understand, even if passersby see just another hoodie with a logo.
“The typed items have a very ironic pop-culture feel but are precious,” said Day. ‘That makes them exclusive and covetable. They’re caparisons for Instagram.”
Even when the labels didn’t say Vêtements, the influence was there. Where on a former occasion the suits and pocket squares of traditional British tailoring rule the roosted, now the mood was streety casual, with hoodies, trainers and tracksuit trousers by designations including Stüssy and Palace.
“There’s a perception that Vêtements is numerous real,” said Rob Nowill of fashion website style.com. “Men are dead beat of suits: they don’t feel modern. There’s not such a get in line between streetwear and fashion now.”
Nick Grimshaw, the radio DJ and London Collections representative, wore a hoodie for House of Holland’s presentation on Friday, and quits model Oliver Cheshire – known for his suited and booted high style – had a sporty look. He wore a cream knitted hooded top yesterday.
“Dernier cri has become more functional. I feel like I can wear something with this to a show now,” he said. “It’s also there in the City. Playmates of mine who used to wear suits to work are now about to clothing more relaxed clothes.”
London menswear designers could be credited with starting the direction Gvasalia and Vêtements have crystallised. British design duo Agi & Sam item face bomber jackets in their collection, while models at Nasir Mazhar showed tracksuits and freight pants as part of a street-style-influenced look. Christopher Raeburn’s collaboration with German frills brand MCM had an outdoorsy influence, with hooded ponchos and macs in razzle-dazzle print.
The men’s shows continue, with JW Anderson and Grace Wales Bonner highlights on the agenda.