Extra Credit: Vetements Spring 2017

In Paris today, Vetements showed its spring collection, the one that got heaps of advance attention for merging men’s and women’s, and for consisting almost entirely of collaborations with other brands — eighteen of them, to be exact, from Levi’s and Carhartt to Juicy Couture and Brioni.

While Vetements is not the first label to make ample use of collaborations (Comme des Garçons has been doing it for years), it’s certainly the first to put them all on the runway at the same, all sharing the same space. It remains to be seen how exactly logistics and delivery play out, or if all that partnering leads to cannibalization, or how it’ll affect designer Demna Gvasalia’s other gig, Balenciaga, where he’s plying a distinct yet similar vision.

If all this feels very Margiela to you, good call. Gvasalia used to work at the house known for deconstruction and recombinations of high and low, new and found. Those vibes reverberated here in mis-proportioned shirting, too-small hoodies, undone belts, crotch-high boots for him and her, and an overall slouchiness — all of which seemed to be arduous attempts at achieving effortless cool.

Maybe, instead of thinking of Vetements as an evolution borne out of other labels, we should think of it as a first-generation internet brand, weaned on disruption, appropriation, and sharability. It’s still a relatively new frontier, where nothing is fully controlled or owned. In other words, subversion through immersion.

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