10 October 2016

The Wise Words of Demna Gvasalia

Vetements – it's everywhere, from working its way into every and any fashion chat that you engage in, to being swallowed up by Zara and spat back out across its shop floor in a diluted and quite frankly lacklustre form. It's even managed to associate itself with everyday life, whether provoking a smirk when you see a DHL van or that not knowing if someone's on-the-ball of just a chav when they're donning Champion sweats. It's oversized, kind of ugly and more often that not, bears rude or consciously vacant slogans. Everyone talks about how Gvasalia has “come from nowhere” and although he has catapulted himself smack bang at the forefront of the international fashion scene at a frightening pace, before this he was quietly learning the tricks of the trade at Margiela and Louis Vuitton. As if he doesn't have enough on his plate, he's taken the Creative Director reigns at Balenciaga, reshuffling the historic house's cards and making middle-aged women in Harrods coo over bags that are a riff on cheap Thai supermarket shoppers. With his Balenciaga SS17 show gracing the catwalk with its highly-anticipated presence and the new Vetements Summercamp book hitting the shelves in the last week alone, I present the wise words of Demna Gvasalia.

1
on the DHL t-shirt...
“For me, it was such a recurring topic in my life. Every day someone was saying, 'The package didn’t arrive, we have to stop working with DHL, we will be bankrupt by DHL.' DHL seemed to be more a part of my life than anything else so I thought, why isn’t it in the show?”

2
on his concept...
“Originally, the concept was not having a concept.”

  

3
on Vetements...
“It’s ugly, that's why we like it.”

on wearing new season Balenciaga before it hits the shelves...
“This bag, this is just a prototype but the number of people who have stopped me in the street to ask where it’s from. Even an old lady came up to tell me this morning that she had the same one at home. I thought, “I don’t think it is …””

  

5
on working with Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton...
“With Marc I learnt how to have fun. We had a karaoke machine in the studio. Marc would sing and smoke, Kate Moss would come in and it was a party.”

6
on the illusion of fashion...
“Fashion used to create a dream: People used to dream about an amazing dress that they will probably never wear in their life, but that created an idea and an illusion,”



7
on new-age Parisiennes...
“Suddenly there are parties outside in abandoned factories, and music you don’t normally hear in clubs. It’s a new generation of people who grew up in Paris and are now in their 20s and they kind of do things in their own way. These Europeans are different from their parents’ generation, and I think that brings energy.”

8
on the backlash over a lack of diversity in his first show...
“In a world where Donald Trump might be President of the United States, I realise that it’s important that I have this consideration in my mind.”



9
on the fashion system...
“The whole system just doesn’t work anymore. This whole vicious circle turns and turns at a very fast speed and kills both the creativity and the business.”

10
on the street...
“I think the normality, in a way, has so many ways of being inspiring. And you can do so much with it actually.”



11
on Gucci attitude...
“That (attitude) is such a key element I think. You know, when you see someone wearing Gucci — you know that she’s a Gucci woman. It’s so visual.”

12
on fashion victims...
“We deliver puffer jackets in June — and I really don’t know people who buy puffer jackets in June, unless they’re a fashion victim.”



13
on breaking the rules...
“It’s exactly not following rules... because for me, these rules don’t matter. And I try to invent these other rules that work for us. And maybe other people want to appropriate those.”

14
on iPhones...
“I write in my iPhone ideas now. Because I don’t have a sketchbook with me. I just do notes, reminders. For Monday, when I’m at Balenciaga – "a collar like this".”



15
on the term "gender fluidity"...
“It’s the worst thing ever. It sounds vulgar.”

16
on guys wearing dresses...
“Ten, 15 years ago, it wasn’t something that was really happening. It would be a statement, like a conscious statement, to put a dress on a guy. Now it’s just society. You want to wear a dress?”



17
on how he can't put on thigh boots...
“I need to have a woman next to me […] I don’t know how it feels to put something on—like those thigh boots! I’d love to know, but I don’t!”

18
on his intentions (or lack of)...
“I hope it’s affecting [the industry] and not infecting it. We wanted to do it for ourselves — there was no ambition of challenging the system or anything like that.”

  

19
on what he spends his money on instead of clothes...
“I wear prototypes but I don’t think I’m crazy fashion enough to go and buy those things. I’d rather go on holiday. Holidays are important. Holidays and quality time on your sofa.”

20
on the internet...
“If I keep walking the streets in Paris for three days, I would not get as much information as I can get online.”



21
on being part of a fashion group...
“It’s communication: You wear that, and it means you follow certain things, you understood certain things that others don’t. That’s how it works with younger generations.”

22
on Vetements customers...
“I feel like they’re all cool and very informed...especially the younger they are! I think that they are kind of the über-generation because of all the information that’s available to them.”



23
on his online shopping habits...
“I hunt old, vintage Gap on eBay sometimes.”

24
on being uncultured...
“Until I moved to Europe, I was very limited in terms of what I knew about art, and culturally, about what was going on. When I was in Belgium at The Academy, I didn’t even know who Antwerp Six was.”

 

25
on the hype...
“We never looked for hype; hype came to us and hype is probably going to leave. It’s normal in fashion and everything in life.”